Auction Update Review
Fifty years of book collecting has only increased my interest in collectible material. As a kid I could ask, see, visit, barter, trade, negotiate and buy and gather impressions that altogether developed into a consuming passion for the complex and rare. I've had many careers but never experienced in anything else the complex challenges of the world of print. In this field the Rubik's Cube is, by comparison, a piece of cake. Today, at 64, to me the field has never been clearer, it's divisions ever more defined. But neither has the field been, at least in modern times, less healthy. The field has become a continent of states and provinces, all to some extent important, none significant enough to carry the over-arching concept of collecting to the next generation. In our re-introduction of the site we hope to fan these flames.
Those who collect today invariably use the web but most learned about the field in the era when dealers had open shops, book fairs were larger and more frequent and works on paper were generally held in higher esteem. Were today's collectors young again no doubt they too would be drawn in the myriad directions that beckon acquirers too often to see works on papers as "what their father used to collect."
This coming week we'll introduce a new take on collecting. It is intended to appeal to the next generation while being transparent to those with experience. It is intended to be both simple and challenging and to directly confront the idea that the field as a succession of independent marketplaces is the future of bookselling. I don't believe it. In the model we'll introduce it is the material that is important. That material may come from dealers, collectors or institutions and be offered at auction, on line, at shows or in dealer catalogues.
We see in this the potential for wider interest and recovering prices. We see hundreds, if not thousands of dealers, having a chance for extended careers and more comfortable livings. We see this because the interconnected approach we'll use will simply be easier to understand in what will be a more transparent process. Simply stated, we believe clarity will beget interest.
For the rare book, manuscript, map and ephemera fields to prosper collectors must have confidence. In a series of steps over the next six weeks we'll introduce an approach to do this. And if some are positively influenced the nine months of preparation will have been well worth the effort.