Rare Book Monthly

Articles - December - 2009 Issue

Affairs of the Heart

Leigh3

Leigh Stein: a campaigner


By Bruce McKinney

Comets will not be diverted from their paths. Neither will those in the embrace of books be turned back from their natural course. Recently economic uncertainty and bad weather paled to insignificance for the perhaps one thousand stalwart dealers, collectors and institutions who gathered in Boston for an antiquarian weekend of discussion, pursuit and purchase, just as they have each November for more than three decades. Here, over a fall weekend that can by turns be balmy or frigid, sunny or stormy, sometimes all in a single weekend as is the case for this the 32nd second running of the ABAA fair. Come early Friday morning the ponies are in the starting gate, completing their set-ups ahead of the 5:00 pm launch. In past years dealers have been avid buyers in the pre-opening hours. This year there is less interest because sales have been soft. The show, the first of two this weekend in Boston, will open on the wings of anxiety.

Down the street at the Radisson Boston, the shadow fair organized by Bornstein Shows, is being set up. It will open at 9:00 am Saturday and run to 5:00 pm, a one day high pressure event sandwiched into the ABAA's three day run: Friday 5:00 to 9:00 pm, Saturday noon to 7:00 pm, Sunday noon to 5:00 pm. The shadow fair, on Saturday, opens 3 hours before the ABAA fair and attracts both audiences for a red hot morning that goes flat in the afternoon.

Although these shows are staged near each other they are worlds apart. The ABAA fair is at the tony Hynes Auditorium, the Boston, Book, Print & Ephemera Show occupying a warren of congested rooms. The ABAA fair is floated in a large space it can not fill this year, the shadow fair sited in a giant sardine can, every crack and crevice of its barely sufficient space filled to overflowing. Between the two shows about 200 exhibitors are participating, a handful at both fairs. Both fairs, based on estimates provided by those who attended last year and this, suggest a somewhat smaller attendance but those attending seem committed. Both shows attract the true believers. In tough years that is the way it is.

The shadow fair, as it is called, costs exhibitors only a fifth for comparable space. Only ABAA members and associated organizations can exhibit at the Hynes. The shadow fair is open to all exhibitors with a convincing story and a checkbook.

At both fairs, as the hours and days progress there will be many reports of sales, some substantial, and by many accounts, better than last year. Such fairs, while portrayed as retail events, also play a critical role in providing a window for regional dealers to offer material to visiting national dealers. These shows are all about critical mass.

I have come to Boston to see two exhibiting dealers: The Hanrahans of Wells, Maine who occupy booth 219 at the Hynes and Leigh Stein of Eveleigh Books & Stamps of Dover, Massachusetts in booth 1 at the shadow fair. I have visited both at their home offices during preparations and now come to the fairs to see how they are doing.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>Edward Hopper & His Contemporaries:<br>Making a Modern American Art<br>June 30, 2022
    <b>Swann June 30:</b> Edward Hopper, <i>The Railroad,</i> etching, 1922. $70,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Swann June 30:</b> Edward Hopper, <i>Sheet of Studies with Men in Hats and a Saloon Keeper,</i> pen, ink & pencil, circa 1900-05. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann June 30:</b> Edward Hopper, <i>Night Shadows,</i> etching, 1921. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>Edward Hopper & His Contemporaries:<br>Making a Modern American Art<br>June 30, 2022
    <b>Swann June 30:</b> John Marin, <i>Woolworth Building, No. 2,</i> etching & drypoint, 1913. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann June 30:</b> Charles Demuth, <i>Tulips,</i> watercolor & pencil, 1924. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Swann June 30:</b> Edward Hopper, <i>Under Control,</i> gouache, ink & wash, circa 1907-10. $30,000 to $50,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> JESSE JAMES. Autograph Letter Signed on the attack at his home which maimed his mother and killed his nephew Archie, 6 pp, March 23, 1875. THE MOST IMPORTANT JESSE JAMES LETTER EXTANT. $300,000 to $500,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> THE LETTER THAT ARRIVED TOO LATE: An important letter from Robert E. Lee to Ulysses S. Grant across the battlefield at Cold Harbor, June 6, 1864. $120,000 to $180,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> DAVY CROCKETT. Autograph Letter Signed on his political philosophy and his dispute with Andrew Jackson, "at home Weakley County," August 18, 1831. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> GEORGE WASHINGTON. Letter Signed to Colonel Richard Gridley, the first engineer of the American Army, Morris Town, January 9, 1777. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> SCOTT FITZGERALD. <i>Tender is the Night.</i> FIRST EDITION, INSCRIBED to H.A. Swanseid. $30,000 to $50,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS. <i>Tarzan of the Apes.</i> FIRST EDITION. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> J.R.R. TOLKIEN. <i>The Hobbit, or There and Back Again.</i> FIRST EDITION. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> NATHANAEL WEST. <i>The Day of the Locust.</i> PRESENTATION COPY, inscribed to director Richard Wallace in the year of publication. $6,000 to $8,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> FRANCIS PICABIA. Archive of 17 Autograph Letters signed to Jennie Thiersch on art and life, 1948-1951. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> JOHN HANCOCK. Autograph Letter Signed to his wife Dolly from the Continental Congress, 4 pp, Philadelphia, March 10-11, 1777. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 28:</b> NIGHTGOWN WORN BY CHARLOTTE CARDEZA DURING THE TITANIC DISASTER AND RESCUE. $40,000 to $60,000

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