Rare Book Monthly Articles - June - 2018 Issue

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What is my book worth? It depends

What is my book worth?  It depends who you ask.
 
A few days ago, I received an email from a Swiss rare book dealer who questioned why a book such as Alan Mann’s 2012, A Life of Chance, is priced on Abebooks from CHF 900 to CHF 2,986, on Amazon from $790 to $2,015 and on eBay new for $140 while the original price in 2012 was $79.50.  On waterstones.com website it’s listed at BP55 but shown to be out-of-stock.
 
Here is how Waterstones describes it:
 
Alan Mann was one of the great motor racing team managers of the 1960s. A successful race driver hi...

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A Clever Idea Turns a Library Theft into a Fundraising Event

Here is the ultimate example of turning lemons to lemonade. A book theft from a university library was turned into a movie, which is now being used to raise funds for that library. The thieves cert...

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Cookbooks Sell: Why food & drink is today’s hot niche for booksellers

In case you hadn’t noticed cookbooks still sell. Old and new, bright or faded, pristine or with loose hinges, covered with pencil scribbles and pages interleaved with clipped recipes…....

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Saving a Bookstore: it has come to this

Browser Books at Fillmore and Sacramento in San Francisco has been in business since 1976.  In other words, its forty-two-year corporate life spans the period from the last decade of pre-Inter...

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Sir Isaac Newton and the Philosopher's Stone

The University of Illinois reported that it had recently obtained an important late 17th century document for its Rare Book and Manuscript Library. It did not come cheaply. They paid $275,000 for i...

The Fort Stanwix Captive: widely reported but rarely found

I recently bid on and won an interesting Sammelband of printings from the years 1841-1843, all of which appear to have been printed in and around New York.  On the binding the first, and longe...

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Avec Privilège, or Death of A Pamphlet

This is both a very ordinary and extraordinary document! A four-page booklet printed on uncut paper in 1733. There are hundreds of those Arrêts de la Cour du Parlement—official publicat...

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June 14 at Christie's NY: The Portland Audubon and more exquisite material comes to auction

The fourteenth of June marks the date of two sales at Christie’s in New York. Two sales, with different sale numbers, but truly they are one (and in fact the first sale contains just one item...

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3,800 Ancient Writings and Artifacts, Purchased by Hobby Lobby, Returned to Iraq

Some of the world's earliest written "books" are being returned to their homeland. For many years, cuneiform tablets and such were regularly taken from their homes in the Middle East. Sometimes, th...

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Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books at Swann on June 7th

Collections and inventories are organized for retrieval and study and every collection is a combination of items in support of a theme.  On June 7th Swann will sell a broad cross section of si...

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Lord John Kerr (1927-2018)

Editor's Note: The following remembrance of Lord John Kerr has been prepared by his friend and colleague, Rupert Powell.
 
 
Lord John Kerr, one of the true doyens of the antiquarian b...

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June 12 at Bonhams NY: Fine Books and Manuscripts across six centuries

Two hundred eighty-seven lots comprise Bonhams June 12thsale in New York of Fine Books and Manuscripts, and they cover a lot of ground. From incunabula to World War II, focused ...

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Comic Books in Too Much Demand

If thievery is the best form of flattery, comic books are a hot item these days. Once upon a time, comic book theft usually meant some kid walking out of a newsstand without paying for his latest c...

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Book Club: the movie

The rare book business is in transition and we are all looking for a solution.  Turns out some of the answers are on the silver screen.  The movie is the “Book Club”, the stor...

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Frederick Douglass Finally Gets His University Degree

It is long overdue, but one of America's greatest writers, orators, and voices of freedom has finally received a degree from his hometown university, the University of Rochester. It is an honorary ...

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Nine New Catalogues Reviewed This Month

This month we review nine new bookseller catalogues. They are a varied group. Ursus Rare Books has a selection of artistic works from the 20th century. Shapero Rare Books focuses on natural history...

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ian Fleming, <i>Goldfinger,</i> first edition, inscribed to Sir Henry Cotton, MBE, London, 1959. Sold for $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Joseph Brant, Mohawk Chief, ALS, writing after pledging support to King George III against American rebels, 1776. Sold for a record $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Sonia Delaunay, <i>Ses Peintures</i> . . ., 20 pochoir plates, Paris, 1925. Sold for a record $13,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Diana, Princess of Wales, 6 autograph letters signed to British <i>Vogue</i> editor, 1989-92. Sold for $10,400.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Alexander Hamilton, ALS, as Secretary of the Treasury covering costs of the new U.S. Mint, 1793. Sold for $12,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Benjamin Graham & David L. Dodd, <i>Security Analysis,</i> first edition, inscribed by Graham to a Wall Street trader, NY, 1934. Sold for $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> George Barbier & François-Louis Schmied, <i>Personnages de Comédie,</i> Paris, 1922. Sold for $9,375.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Alphonse Mucha, <i>Ilsée, Princesse de Tripoli,</i> Paris, 1897. Sold for a record $13,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ralph Waldo Emerson, <i>The Dial,</i> first edition of the reconstituted issue, Emerson’s copy with inscriptions, Cincinnati, 1860. Sold for a record $3,250.
  • <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Darwin, Charles. <i>On the Origin of Species.</i> Presentation Copy. Sold for $500,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Darwin, Charles. Autograph Letter Signed, 3 pp, negotiating the 2nd American edition with Appleton. Sold for $21,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Hemingway, Ernest. Autograph Letter Signed, 8 pp, Paris, 1924, to his father discussing Bullfighting, Stories, and his new baby. Sold for $25,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Shakespeare, William. <i>Corialanus.</i> London, 1623. 1st printing [Extracted from the First Folio]. Sold for $50,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Swift, Jonathan. <i>Gulliver's Travels.</i> London, 1726. 1st edition, Teerink's A edition, fine, large copy. Sold for $21,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Fitzroy, Robert. Autograph Letter Signed to agent Thomas Stilwell, informing him of the progress of H.M.S. Beagle. Sold for $17,575.
    <center><b>Bonhams<br> Property from the Collection of Nicole and William R. Keck II</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Shakespeare, William. <i>Sonnets.</i> 1901. 2 volumes. Printed on vellum and illuminated by Ross Turner, bound by Trautz-Bauzonnet. Sold for $13,825.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Beardsley, Aubrey. <i>The Birth, Life, and Acts of King Arthur.</i> 1893-94. 2 volumes. Contemporary painted vellum gilt by Chivers. Sold for $5,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Assisi, St. Francis. <i>The Canticle of Brother Sun.</i> Illuminated on vellum, for the Grolier Society. Sold for $7,575.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Rackham, Arthur. <i>Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens.</i> 1/500 copies signed by Rackham. Sold for $4,825.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Proust, Marcel. <i>Du coté de chez Swann.</i> 1st edition, 1st issue. Inscribed by Proust. Sold for $8,825.

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