Information • Entertainment • Opinion (Since 1985)Book Source Magazine

Home | Major Libraries | BSM Archives | Useful Links | About Us | Advertising/Sponsorship | Free Subscription/Contact Us

Potter Auctions

Buchauktionen Antiquariat KIEFER: Startseite | Auktionshaus Kunstauktionen

Swann Galleries

Cooperstown Antiquarian Book Fair

Vermont Book, Postcard & Ephemera Fair

Back of Beyond Books

Booked Up

Joseph M Lenard, Terror Strikes

Always something to discover at Quill & Brush

Gibson’s Books

Hillsdale College Online Courses

Old Edition Book Shop & Gallery

Booksellers’ Gulch


The Economist

Cooperstown Antiquarian Book Fair

Vermont Book, Postcard & Ephemera Fair

Buchauktionen Antiquariat KIEFER: Startseite | Auktionshaus Kunstauktionen

Swann Galleries

Potter Auctions

Leslie Hindman Auctineers

PBA Galleries


Addison & Sarova, the Rare Book Auctioneers

PRB&M/SessaBks at The Arsenal


Hobart Book Village

Westmpunt 2023

D & D Galleries

2023 Rochester Antiquarian Book Fair, Saturday, September 30th, 10am-5pm.

Austin’s Antiquarian Books

Jekyll Island Club Hotel

Fulton County Historical Society & Museum

PRB&M/SessaBks at The Arsenal


PBA Galleries


Leslie Hindman Auctineers

Addison & Sarova, the Rare Book Auctioneers

Book Fair Calendar

Ephemera 43 Conference & Fair.  Old Greenwich, CT.   March 16–19, 2023.

Albuquerque Antiquarian Book Fair.  Albuquerque, NM.   March 17–18, 2023.

PBFA Antiquarian Book Fair.  Edinburgh, Scotland.   March 24, 2023.

Westmount Antiquarian Book Fair.  Montreal, PQ, (Canada).   April 8, 2023.     (more information)

PBFA Antiquarian Book Fair.  Oxford, England.   April 22–23, 2023.

New York International Antiquarian Book Fair.  New York, NY.   April 27–30, 2023.

Manhattan Vintage Book & Ephemera Fair.  New York, NY.   April 28–29, 2023.

Allentown Book & Paper Show.  Allentown, PA.   April 29–30, 2023.

Vermont Spring Book & Paper Fair  St. Albans, VT.   May 7, 2023.     (more information)

Firsts, London’s Rare Book Fair.  London, England.   May 18–21, 2023.

Georgetown Rare Book Fair.  Washington, DC.   May 19–21, 2023.

London International Antiquarian Book Fair (PBFA).  London, England.   May 20–21, 2023.

PBFA Antiquarian Book Fair.  Edinburgh, Scotland.   June 10, 2023.

Papertown  Boxborough, MA.   June 10, 2023.

Chicago Book & Paper Fair  Chicago, IL.   June 17, 2023.

Cooperstown Antiquarian Book Fair.  Cooperstown, NY.   June 24, 2023.     (more information)

PBFA Antiquarian Book Fair.  Hay-on-Wye.   July 22, 2023.

PBFA Antiquarian Book Fair.  Stratford-upon-Avon.   August 26, 2023.

York National Antiquarian Book Fair (PBFA).  York, England.   September 15, 2023.

Rochester Antiquarian Book Fair.  Rochester, NY.   September 30, 2023.     (more information)

PBFA Antiquarian Book Fair.  Oxford, England.   October 21, 2023.

Book Auction Calendar

PBA Galleries.  San Francisco, CA.   March 20–30, 2023.     (more information)

Bonham’s.  London, England.   March 22, 2023.

PBA Galleries  San Francisco, CA.   March 23, 2023.     (more information)

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   March 23, 2023.     (more information)

Swann Galleries  New York, NY.   March 30, 2023.     (more information)

PBA Galleries.  San Francisco, CA.   April 6, 2023.     (more information)

Potter & Potter Auctions.  Chicago, IL.   April 20, 2023.     (more information)

Freeman’s Auctions.  Philadelphia, PA.   May 3, 2023.     (more information)

Christie’s.  London, England.   December 14, 2023.

Drawings by Giovanni Battista Piranesi at the Morgan

The Morgan Library & Museum is pleased to present Sublime Ideas: Drawings by Giovanni Battista Piranesi, opening March 10, 2023, and on view through June 4, 2023. The Morgan holds the largest and most important collection of drawings by Giovanni Battista Piranesi (Italian, 1720–1778), nearly 150 works that encompass almost every type of study that he made: architectural fantasies, studies for prints, measured design drawings, sketches for a range of decorative objects, a variety of figural drawings, and views of Rome and Pompeii. With highlights from the Morgan’s collection joined by select works from private collections, this exhibition will be the most comprehensive look at Piranesi’s drawings in more than a generation.

This exhibition begins with Piranesi’s interest in theoretical architecture, showing works that combine an imaginative and fantastic approach to architectural study with a bookish understanding of ancient buildings and a Romantic appreciation of ruins. This blend of fantasy and theory would eventually give birth to the Invenzioni caprici di carceri (Capricious Inventions of Prisons), his most famous work. The drawings in the Morgan’s collection show how Piranesi’s work developed from precise architectural drawings to imaginative fantasies. Later sections of the exhibition document Piranesi’s study of the inventive work of Tiepolo in a series of trips to his native Venice, his turn from architectural theory and fantasy to archaeology, and his work as a practicing architect and as a designer and dealer of …more

19th & 20th Century Art at Swann

Swann Galleries’ auction of 19th & 20th Century Art: Featuring Dada & Surrealism will take place Thursday, March 23. The sale will feature a selection of 150 lots devoted to modern artists who embraced the enduring movements alongside offerings by stalwarts of the two centuries such as Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Mary Cassatt, Sonia Delaunay, Pablo Picasso and more.   
Signature examples by leaders of the Dada and Surrealist avant-garde trends include Man Ray with a wood and metal readymade metronome with a printed eye, Do Not Destroy (Object Indestructible, 1923-1975), conceived 1922-33, executed 1974 (est. $50,000-80,000); and Marcel Duchamp with The Chess Players, a 1967 color offset lithograph based on the same-titled painting from 1911 (est. $7,000-10,000). Dorothea Tanning is included with Birthday (Self Portrait at Age 30), a color offset lithograph based on the 1943 painting of the same title (est. $4,000-6,000); as well as Hannah Höch with a collection of 17 watercolor, gouache, ink and wash drawings circa 1940 (est. $10,000-15,000). Works by Jean Arp, Francis Picabia, Max Ernst, Yves Tanguy, Joan Miró, Salvador Dalí, Giorgio de Chirico and more are also featured.
The nineteenth-century art offering includes 100 lots dedicated to key tendencies of the century, most notably Academic Realism, the Barbizon School of landscape painters, and Impressionism with its precursors, as well as Symbolism and the Belle Epoque. Among those represented are Pierre-Auguste Renoir with Le Chapeau Épinglé (2e planchet), color lithograph, 1896 (est. $30,000-50,000); Winslow Homer with Perils of the Sea, etching printed in dark, brownish black, 1888 (est. $35,000-50,000); James A. M. Whistler with Nocturne, lithograph, 1878 (est. $12,000-18,000); and Mary Cassatt with Enfant levant la téte, watercolor, circa 1902 (est. $10,000-15,000). Also of note are works by Édouard Manet, Auguste Rodin, Paul Cézanne and Paul Signac.
The selection of twentieth-century art includes more than 200 lots of museum-quality works with paintings, drawings, sculptures and editions that span the era with modern artists from Europe, South America, Asia and the United States represented. Highlights include Pablo Picasso’s Deux femme avec un vase à fleus, color linoleum cut, 1959 (est. …more

Outsider Artists Lead Hindman's Auction of Susan Craig Collection

Works by Roger Brown, Sister Gertrude Morgan, and William Dawson led Hindman’s single-owner auction of collector Susann Craig’s estate on March 9. A beloved figure in Chicago’s art world and a founder of Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art in Chicago, Craig left a strong legacy through her collection and passion for amplifying overlooked voices. The majority of works exceeded their estimates, with Chicago artists in particular seeing high-demand across the 325-lot sale.
Overall, the auction realized more than $551,000, well above the total estimate. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Intuit. “It was an absolute privilege to honor a woman who was so admired in Chicago,” commented Zack Wirsum, Director & Senior Specialist of Post-War & Contemporary Art. “Susann lived an incredibly rich life, and the success of the auction reflects her role as both a collector and a connector.”
Brown’s Crossing the Bandiagara Escarpment With Baobab Trees and Dogon Dancers, a very personal painting for Susann Craig, was the top lot of the auction, fetching $138,600 against a $60,000-80,000 estimate. 1989 was a pivotal year in the Chicago Imagist’s career, featuring his artistic responses to a range of subjects and issues.
The work was inspired by Brown’s 1988 trip to …more

Potter & Potter Auctions' Fine Books & Manuscripts Sale Exceeds $630,000

Potter & Potter Auctions' first book sale of 2023 (Thursday, February 16th) realized over $630,000 with a sell through rate of 95%. Prices noted below include the company's buyer's premium.  

Books by, or with ties to Samuel L. Clemens ("Mark Twain", 1835–1910) performed well. A first edition, presentation copy of W.W. Jacobs' (British, 1863-1943) Salthaven inscribed to and by Twain, was the top lot in the sale. It was estimated at $25,000-35,000 and fetched $31,250. It was published by Methuen & Co. in London in 1908. In addition, Twain inscribed on the half title “It’s a delightful book. Mark." Below, Twain further reaffirms this statement, apparently in passing the book to someone else: “Bog House, Bermuda, March/10. I have read it about 5 times. The above verdict stands."

A 37 volume collection of The Works of Mark Twain published in New York by Gabriel Wells between 192 and 1925, was estimated at $6,000-8,000 and made $11,875. The limited edition set, number 79 of 1024 copies of the “Definitive Edition”, was signed by Twain on the front flyleaf of volume I. All volumes retained their original dust jackets. A 25 volume collection of Mark Twain's Works published in Hartford by the American Publishing Company between 1899–1907, was estimated at $8,000-12,000 and achieved $16,250. This set, number 233 of 512 copies of the “Autograph Edition” for subscribers - was published on india paper designed by Tiffany & Co. and etched by W.H.W. Bicknell. It also featured numerous engravings, 18 of which were signed by their respective artist. This collection is considered the rarest and most desirable of all the Twain sets according to experts. A first edition of Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner's The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today, was estimated at $6,000-8,000 and fetched $16,250. It was printed in Hartford and Chicago by the American Publishing Company; F.G. Gilman & Co., in 1873. Also, two manuscript pages by Twain and Dudley were inserted in the copy. The first was in Twain’s hand and numbered 166 at the top; the other leaf was in Dudley’s hand and numbered 1446 at the top.

This sale featured remarkable first editions of some of the noteworthy books of the past two centuries. J.R.R. Tolkien's  The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, estimated at $10,000-15,000, sold for $19,200. This trilogy included The Fellowship Of The Ring (1954), The Two Towers (1954) and The Return Of The King (1955).  All were published in London by Allen & Unwin Ltd. and the provenance included the bookseller, R.S. Heath Ltd.

Richard Nixon's (1913–1994) Real Peace: Strategy for the West, was estimated at $250-350 and realized $2,375. Privately printed in New York in 1983 this advance copy and galley proof was a first edition and one of 1000 copies of the private edition printed before publication. It included a TLS from Nixon to Martin Hayden which stated, “In view of the current national debate on foreign policy issues, I thought you might like to have a copy of the page proofs of a book on Soviet–American relations which I have just completed… I am publishing and distributing the book privately…to a selected number of government officials and opinion leaders in the United States and abroad who have expressed a serious interest in …more

by John C. Huckans
A Book Club of One

The oldest book club I remember was the “Book-of-the-Month” club. My parents had subscribed, which is how I first was introduced to Winston Churchill's 6 volume memoirs of World War II.  Each volume, as published, may have been offered as a bonus to new members.

And while in boarding school in Connecticut, a faculty member promoted something called the “Book Find Club” where students interested in history, economics and philosophy could order new books from BFC catalogues at prices which seemed ridiculously low even at that time. Like a starving person at a Chinese buffet, I usually bought more than I could read before the next catalogue arrived.

One that I remember reading almost immediately (biography refracted through the lenses of history, economics and philosophy) was Robert L. Heilbroner's The Worldly Philosophers. It was an expanded version of his PhD. dissertation and apparently was so successful that it was revised and reprinted several times. It is still widely offered on the internet by online sellers: “The Worldly Philosophers is a beautiful novel written by the famous author Robert L. Heilbroner. The book is perfect for those who wants to read philosophy, history books. The main character of the story are John Maynard Keynes, Adam Smith, David Ricardo, Thomas Robert Malthus, Thorstein Veblen” [sic]. Seriously, I kid you not.

At any rate, book clubs have proliferated over the years. Television personalities publicized eponymous ones, promoting books, often of the “as-told-to” genre, and almost immediately day time television watchers would order them on Amazon or head to the nearest Costco. There are also local book clubs that meet in libraries or in each others homes, where members take turns making selections. And at the height of the Pride & Prejudice craze some years ago, Book Source Magazine helped to publicize a “Jane Austen” book club – as I recall it ran out of steam after Northanger Abbey or Mansfield Park.  With the demise of traditional bookstores, many of which stocked backlist titles on their shelves for years, of necessity the trend has been toward self-publishing or what used to be called “vanity press” publication. At its most embarrassing it can involve being invited to a gathering to hear an author speak about his or her book, while feeling the pressure to buy autographed copies at the conclusion of the presentation. Rare unsigned copies of anything seem to be at a premium of late.

While some book clubs promote the idea of thousands of people reading the same book at the same time – I find myself more intrigued by the thought that sometimes I might be the only person on the planet reading whatever it is I'm reading at the time. Right now that book is …more

by Donna Howard
Vermont Spring Book & Paper Fair Changes Hands

Over the years the Vermont Antiquarian Booksellers Association’s Spring Book & Paper Fair has been through a number of changes.  Under the management of Greg Glade of Top of the World Books, it started in a hotel in South Burlington in 1993.  After a few years I started managing the fair for the VABA, eventually moving it to a hotel in downtown Burlington.  Over the years dealer and public attendance fluctuated with the vicissitudes of the antiquarian market, booming during the early days of the internet and then shrinking as many dealers started selling exclusively online.  

Sadly, the pandemic forced a cancellation of the 2020 spring book fair only a week before it was to take place, but by the winter of 2021 (after the spring 2021 fair had also been cancelled) people were a little more comfortable meeting face-to-face and VABA decided to bring it back in 2022.  However, the uncertainties of changing city regulations and the increasing costs in Burlington prompted another move - this time to downtown St. Albans.  While a little more distant from the major population center of Burlington, the beautiful, historic auditorium in St. Albans City Hall with its wonderful natural lighting more than made up for it. Loyal bibliophiles followed the fair to the new location and the dealers who participated had a wonderful time despite the smaller crowds.

The move was controversial within the association, however.  At the winter meeting, there was a lengthy discussion about …more

Hindman Opens Miami Office

Hindman has announced the opening of a new Miami office. With more than a decade of establishing a strong presence in Florida, this expansion now gives Hindman representation in three cities in Florida and 16 cities throughout the United States.
With additional locations in Palm Beach and Naples, the opening of Hindman Miami underscores the firm’s presence throughout the state. This new regional representation will enhance Hindman’s dedication to providing exceptional service to clients in several  locations, that focuses on the foundation of the auction market: core collectible property at a range of estimates. Located at 275 Alhambra Circle in the historic Coral Gables neighborhood, Hindman Miami is ideally located in a prominent location near important galleries, financial institutions and businesses.
Elizabeth Rader, the Director of Business Development, Trusts, Estates & Private Clients, will oversee the new Miami office, working with Hindman’s Palm Beach saleroom as well as four additional salerooms throughout the United States. As the former head of Hindman’s Naples office, Rader brings extensive experience in developing relationships with private collectors, financial institutions, trust and estate firms, insurers and museums in Florida. She has handled several prominent Florida estate collections. Prior to joining Hindman, she worked for the London based Art Loss Register as their Development Director for the Americas. Responsible for managing clients in the American, Canadian and Latin American markets, Rader executed strategies to develop relationships with private collectors and the trade to include dealers, appraisers, museums, and art fair organizers at TEFAF and Art Basel Miami.  Rader received her PhD in the History of Art and Theory from the University of Essex in 2012, with a concentration on the art and imagery from Colonial Latin America and Habsburg Spain. Rader is bilingual in Spanish and English.

by John C. Huckans
End of the Road for a College

The village in which I live (Cazenovia in central New York) has a college, which traces its roots to 1824, that is about to close at end of the current semester. For most of its life it was a secondary school or seminary run by the Methodist Church. At some point it cut its religious ties and became a two-year college for young women. The first time it closed was in May of 1974 - I remember it well because we heard the news on the radio as we were driving down I-81, having just returned from a year in Spain (Granada) by way of the Stefan Batory, sailing from London to Montreal.
The college was rescued thanks mainly to the support of local friends and business people. Also, long-term debt was not a major factor at that time. The new administration made some major changes - admitting young men and then expanding to a four-year program, while taking on a lot of long-term debt to fund ambitious building projects. Even though Pell grants brought in a lot of money that colleges were allowed to keep even when academically-unqualified students dropped out part way through Freshman year, this did not help build a deep or loyal alumni base. Also, with almost free tuition at NYS public colleges available to NYS residents, enrollment at many expensive private colleges has declined throughout the region.
N.B. The college (I did my undergraduate & graduate work elsewhere) that our family has contributed to significantly for some years (I've never even set foot on its campus) has been in existence since the 1840s and is in financially sound condition. It has a supportive alumni base, accepts no Pell Grant funding or any other form of government support (with accompanying constraints) and as a result remains one of the few oases of intellectual and academic freedom in the United States.

Doings at the Morgan (Blaise Cendrars Exhibition)

Blaise Cendrars: Poetry is Everything will be on exhibit at the Morgan Library & Museum from May 26 through September 24, 2023

Blaise Cendrars (1887–1961) was a catalyzing force for new expressions in European art in the first part of the twentieth century. An intrepid spirit, he led an itinerant life, leaving behind his native Switzerland for St. Petersburg, New York, São Paulo, and Paris. Cendrars came to prominence in 1913 as the author of La Prose du Transsibérien et de la petite Jehanne
de France—a freewheeling poem self-published as a colossal vertical arrangement of polychrome typography with imagery by Sonia Delaunay-Terk.

Cendrars formulated his poetics by adapting Delaunay-Terk’s beliefs and those of other artists in the possibilities of rhythm, motion, and depth in the simultaneous contrast of colors. He came to see not only their application to language but to his identity and life itself—everything from street media and the mechanization of modern life to his interpretation of non-European cultures and experience as a soldier in World War One. This approach Cendrars affirmed in a line of verse: The windows of my poetry are wide open...

Cendrars’s early career as a poet and publisher is the focus of the installation, radiating out from the monumental La Prose du Transsibérien to trace Cendrars’s formative interplay with the visual arts, music, ballet, film, and graphic design, featuring works by Guillaume Apollinaire, Jean Cocteau, …more

Booksellers' Gulch (or where the books are)

Winter is here and for bookhunters in a part of the country where weather permits, the open road beckons. The "Open Shop Guide" or Booksellers' Gulch, has been an ongoing feature of this magazine since 1985. Booksellers who would like to be a part of this only need to call (315) 655-9654 for more information or a free listing.  Hundreds of open shops are included, preceded by a more highly annotated sponsors' section which appears below.

Austin's Books.  (Wilmington, VT ).  American History, Teddy Roosevelt, Fly Fishing, Travel, Maps, Prints & Ephemera. Tel: (802) 464-8438

Back of Beyond Books. (83 North Main, Moab, UT).  Rare Books, Americana, Books on the American West.  Tel: 435-259-5154

Booked Up. (Archer City, TX).  Founded by Larry McMurtry, Booked Up is a large general bookstore dealing mainly in the humanities. Tel: (940) 574-2511

D & D Galleries. (6 Ilene Ct., Bldg 9, Unit 1, Somerville, NJ).  Founded in 1985, with specialties in British and American literature. Inventory (mostly English language), somewhat eclectic, ranges from the 15th through the 20th centuries with sub-specialties in Fine Bindings, S.T.C. and Wing books, Lewis Carroll (C. L. Dodgson), Charles Dickens, presentation and association material as well as 17th and 18th century British history. Members of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America, the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers, and the Provincial Bookfair Association of Great Britain. Tel: (908) 904-1314.

Gibson's Books. (3037 Old Highway 431, Owens Cross Roads, AL). Local and southern history, fiction, Civil War, ephemera, cookery. Tel: (256) 725-2558.

Hobart Book Village. (Hobart, NY). Six bookstores, general and antiquarian. Tel: (607) 538-908.

Junction Book Shop. (73 Conway Road, Llandudno Junction, Wales). Rare & out-of-print books, Victorian maps & prints. Open Wed. to Sat., 10am to 5pm.

Old Editions. (954 Oliver St., North Tonawanda, NY). Rare & Antiquarian Books, Ephemera, Prints, Posters & Original Art Works. Tel: (716) 842-1734; (716) 812-4937.

Quill & Brush. (Middletown, MD).  Specialists in first edition literature, mysteries, poetry & collectible books in all fields. Authors of well-known books on book collecting & compilers of over 200 individual Author Price Guides. Visit us on the web, or in person by appointment. Tel: (301) 874-3200

(Country and state-by-state)

Acadia Art and Rare Books (232 Queen Street East, Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
Alphabet Bookshop (145 Main Street West, Port Colborne, Ontario, Canada)
Baggins Book Bazaar. (19 High St., Rochester, Kent, England) …more

Exceptional Al Capone Letters, Books & Manuscripts by Historically Important Figures Perform Well at Hindman

A noteworthy collection of letters by notorious American gangster Al Capone achieved exceptional prices in Hindman’s November 8th-9th Fine Books & Manuscripts auction. Books and manuscripts authored and signed by presidents and world leaders from the Patrick Atkinson Collection also attracted significant attention, with new auction records set for books signed by Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi. The total sale nearly doubled its estimate, and realized over $1.2 million, representing one of Hindman’s most successful various owner Books & Manuscripts auctions in recent years.
A group of three Al Capone letters saw incredibly competitive bidding, with two of the letters selling in the top five lots of the auction.
Highlighting the group was a letter written by Capone two days after the January 1925 assassination attempt on his life, which soared past its $10,000-15,000 estimate to fetch $53,125. Another manuscript letter from Capone, written from Cicero in 1924, more than tripled its presale estimate to sell for …more

Doings at the Morgan (Satire in the Age of Reason)

An exhibit entitled Claude Gillot: Satire in the Age of Reason will open at the Morgan Library & Museum on February 24, 2023 and will run through May 28, 2023.  Around 1700, as an increasingly pious Louis XIV withdrew to Versailles, Paris flourished. The dynamic artistic scene included specialists such as Claude Gillot (1673–1722) who forged a career largely outside of the Royal Academy, designing everything from opera costumes to tapestries.

Known primarily as a draftsman, Gillot specialized in scenes of satire. He found his subjects among the irreverent commedia dell’arte performances at fairground theaters, in the writings of satirists who waged the Quarrel of the Ancients and Moderns, and in the antics of vice-ridden satyrs whose bacchanals exposed human folly. Gillot’s amusing critiques and rational perspective heralded the advent of the Age of Reason while his innovative approach attracted the most talented artists of the next generation, Antoine Watteau and Nicolas Lancret, to his studio.

With over seventy drawings, prints, and paintings, including an exceptional contingent from the Louvre, Claude Gillot: Satire in the Age of Reason explores the artist’s inventive and highly original draftsmanship and places his work in the context of the artistic and intellectual activity in Paris at the dawn of a new century. The catalogue accompanying the exhibition will provide the first comprehensive account of Gillot's career.  For more information, call (917) 805-4128.

Potter & Potter Announces Appointment of James Gannon as Senior Consultant

Potter & Potter Auctions has announced that James Gannon has joined the company as Senior Consultant to its Fine Books & Manuscripts Department. This department has experienced unprecedented growth over the past two years, regularly delivers seven figure results, and has established many new global sales records. With Gannon's appointment, the company intends to leverage that energy, further expand its offerings and expertise, and become the first choice for consignors looking to buy and sell world-class books, manuscripts, ephemera, and related materials.

Gannon began his association with books in 1990 as a specialist at the Heritage Book Shop in Los Angeles. He was named …more

Washington Letter to Jefferson Exceeds Estimate

Freeman’s November 15 Books and Manuscripts: Rare Americana auction featured the $2,389,500 sale (est. $1 - 1.5 million) of the letter George Washington sent to Thomas Jefferson announcing the Constitution’s completion, one day following its adoption by the Constitutional Convention.

“We’re thrilled by the sale of Washington’s letter to Jefferson, and so is the consignor,” says Darren Winston, Head of Freeman’s Books and Manuscripts department. “It’s always really exciting to bring rare documents like this to market, but especially—as in this case—when the letter is so deeply connected to the founding of the nation.”

At the time of the Constitution’s signing, Jefferson, who authored the Declaration of Independence, was representing America in France. The Constitutional Convention was sworn to secrecy in the summer of 1787, but Washington was eager to pass the news along to Jefferson as soon as the landmark document was signed.

In this way, the letter not only reflects the high regard in which Washington held Jefferson, it also provides a critical link between two of the nation’s founders and offers a window into a world where breaking news could take weeks or months to arrive.

The remarkable sale, held in the midst of American election season, confirms Freeman’s pride of place in bringing foundational early American letters and documents to market. The $2.4M sale of this rare letter on Tuesday is one of a series of Freeman’s recent successes presenting such material at auction, including the $1.8M sale of a 1776 letter announcing America’s independence, to the state of Georgia, signed by John Hancock and the …more

Old Editions

Old Editions (954 Oliver St in North Tonawanda, NY (near Niagara Falls) is one of the country’s largest antiquarian bookstores—with 35,000 square feet of retail, gallery and warehouse space—there’s much more there than one might expect. In addition to a very large stock of antiquarian and rare books, they offer prints, posters, artwork, collectible magazines, comics, postcards, vinyl recordings, and memorabilia.

Ron Cozzi, the owner of Old Editions, started out in a second floor location he called the Buffalo Book Studio in late 1974. Within days of the opening a natural disaster in the form of a serious blizzard blanketed the area, the National Guard and Army Reserves were called in to rescue life, limb and property, and Ron was shut out of his newly-opened shop for 3 months. An unusual beginning for any business. They can be reached at (716) 842-1734 and a selection of recent acquistions or other noteworthy or outstanding items can be found on their e-Bay page.

Philadelphia Rare Books & Manuscripts

PRB&M (Phildadelphia Rare Books & Manuscripts) is now entirely devoted to IRS qualified and other appraisals, collection building consultation, and to limited, private bookselling by direct offer only. Founded as a strictly antiquarian rare bookselling concern in 1984, PRB&M joined the Antiquarian Booksellers Association in 1985, executed its first major appraisals in 1991, established its website in 1997, created its range-expanding "Sessabks" in 2001, and welcomed visitors by appointment at The Arsenal between 2006 and 2021.

Since 1 January 2022, that long experience has been brought to bear in service of their clients' needs in newly focused & still evolving ways. For more information please call (215) 744-6734 or visit their website.

Exceptional Books from Back of Beyond (Moab, Utah)

An Account of the Voyages Undertaken by the Order of His Present Majesty for Making Discoveries in the Southern Hemisphere... 1773, 1777, 1785. Ten volumes, (nine quarto volumes plus one folio atlas volume) all bound uniformly in contemporary tree calf with elaborately gilt-decorated spines with raised bands and red and green morocco spine labels interspersed with gilt stamped image of Cook's ship the Endeavour or Resolution. Volumes have been expertly re-backed... (continue reading)

Offerings from Early Aeronautica

Dollfus, Charles and Henri Bouche. Historie de L'Aeronautique.  Paris, Societe Nationale des Entreprises de Presse, 1942.  Large heavy folio (12 x 15"), 630 pages in six chapters (pre 1843, 1843-1900, 1900-1914, war 1914-1918, 1929-1932, 1932-1938), heavily illustrated with fantastic photos and illustrations, French text.  Useful tables in the back including a chronology of aviation, 100 of the first deaths in aviation, Aero Club of France first brevets by name and number 1-100 (Bleriot #`1, Wright Bros #14 & 15).  About good-very good, small cover rubs and bumps.  $345.00 (continue reading...)

New Arrivals from Quill & Brush

Hemingway, Ernest. The Nick Adams Stories. New York: Scribner's Sons, (1972). First edition. Twenty-four stories, including eight previously unpublished ones. (and)  A Farewell to Arms. New York: Scribner's Sons, 1929. First edition. One of Hemingway's most influential works. First printing with publisher's seal and without the disclaimer. In dust jacket with "Katherine" for "Catherine" on front flap (as in the first five printings). 9vo black cloth boards with gold-foil printed labels. Very good with only light offsets along inner hinges and wear to cloth at base of spine but covers and labels clean and bright; in somewhat darkened, about very good dust jacket with shallow chipping and internal archival tape repairs to splits at spine folds... (continue reading)

A Selection from D & D Galleries

A smorgasbord or garden of bibliophilic delights described and offered for sale by D & D Galleries in Hillsborough, NJ, specialists in British and American literature...  (read more)

Gibson's Books

Gibson's Books in Owens Cross Roads in northern Alabama offers a general stock of books and periodicals in a variety of subjects, especially books (and) magazines about books. They have an extensive stock of back issues of Book Source Monthly and Book Source Magazine, from the period before May/June 2013, when we discontinued printing this magazine in hard copy.  (see more)

"New England's First Fruits" exceeds pre-auction estimate at Freeman's September 21 Sale

Freeman’s September 21 Books and Manuscripts auction inaugurated Freeman’s fall season with the remarkable $277,200 sale of New Englands First Fruits. The extremely rare first edition includes the first printed account of Harvard University—and garnered considerable interest in the September 21 auction, with competitive bidding driving the sale price more than nine times above its pre-sale high estimate of $30,000.

“We’re thrilled by the successful sale of New Englands First Fruits, and so is the consignor,” says Darren Winston, Head of Freeman’s Books and Manuscripts department. “This is the first copy to be offered at auction in over 20 years, and today’s result confirms the market demand for this material, setting a new world auction record for the title.”

In addition to New Englands First Fruits, a rare and beautiful first edition of L. Frank Baum’s classic The Wonderful Wizard of Oz—made famous by the 1939 classic film starring Judy Garland—achieved $37,800, more than tripling its pre-sale high estimate of $8,000-12,000.

“Several important Americana manuscripts and documents likewise commanded competitive bidding wars, resulting in sale prices that far exceeded estimates—including the Narrative of Sojourner Truth, a scarce copy that achieved $27,720 against the estimate of $1,500-2,500. A 1738 colonial treatise on paper money sold for $21,420 (estimate: $1,000-1,500), and a very rare 1683 document issued to the very first purchaser of Pennsylvania land sold for $20,160 (estimate: $5,000-8,000).

“We’re now turning our attention to our November 15 Books and Manuscripts: Rare Americana auction,” said Darren Winston, “which builds on the department’s recent successes in bringing rare, foundational items to market, including the $4.42 million sale of a …more

by John C. Huckans
Civil War Isn’t Funny
(originally published October 11, 2017)

Same goes for any war. When Gilbert a'Beckett was writing his comic histories (England, Rome, etc.) one has to wonder what was going through his mind. In a comic history of anything, most writers and readers understand it involves a lot of selective historical amnesia, mood-altering tricks and other forms of cover-up. But passage of time softens a lot of things – we remember getting mail from Hastings (Sussex) years ago, with part of the postmark reading “Hastings – popular with tourists since 1066”.  Although I could imagine a'Beckett writing that, I doubt if he would have wanted to handle the circumstances surrounding the death of Edward II (father of the great Edward III) whose general ineptitude and poor judgment, unduly influenced by his preoccupation and infatuation with Hugh Despenser (the younger), ultimately led to his execution. In those days …more

by John C. Huckans
On Political Realignment (or Fear and Loathing inside the Beltway)
(originally published March 17, 2017)

The U.S. Election of 2016 was a game-changer for all sorts of reasons.  To say the populist revolt came as a surprise to party regulars across the political spectrum is an obvious understatement, but the resulting emotional meltdown by people still in shock over the shifting loyalty and unexpected response of traditional working class voters (many of whom had supported Democrats since the Great Depression of the 1930s), only shows that it pays to do your homework. People who follow this column will recall that in July of 2016 we explained some of the reasons why Trump would perform bigly¹ in the 2016 general election. What follows is some observation and analysis that may contribute towards an understanding of recent trends.  Or maybe not.

Party labels are just that – labels and nothing more.  People who make a living seeking and trying to hold on to public office sometimes learn, to their annoyance, that …more

by John C. Huckans
Race to the Bottom (or plumbing the depths)
(Review of "Licensed to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice")

[Ed. Note - This review was first published here in Book Source Magazine several years ago. In light of recent events, I think we can agree that plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.]

According to the experience of most booksellers I know, Amazon and the internet have nearly trashed the antiquarian book trade – and in order to survive many independent booksellers have become data-entry catalogers for the online giants. I think it was at least twelve years ago when I first heard someone's opinion that antiquarian book-selling had become a rat race to the bottom.

And then there's the crazy pricing. Many of us have seen  identical copies of the same title offered on-line for anywhere from 99¢ to $100,000, so when recently published books, especially good ones, become remaindered for whatever reason there are often incredible bargains to be had.

Once in a fit of temporary madness I bought a case or two of Geoffrey Wawro's Quicksand: America's Pursuit of Power in the Middle East (New York, Penguin, 2010) on the internet (Biblio). Written by a professor of military history at the University of North Texas and published at $37.95, the three or four dollars a copy I paid was actually cheaper than the paperback version, and missionary-like I offered to sell them at cost to anyone interested in the the Middle East.  I had already read the book and naïvely thought others would jump at the chance – I thought wrong and except for the two copies I sold and three others given away to friends, I still have most of the shipment.

In 2014 another controversial book was published that explored corruption and obstruction of justice within the Department of Justice. The title, appropriately enough, is Licensed to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice (Dallas, Brown Publishing Group, 2014), by Sidney Powell. According to her bio “Sidney Powell served in the Department of Justice for ten years” and for twenty years has been a federal appeals attorney. Also, “She was the youngest Assistant United States Attorney in the country and the youngest elected fellow of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, for which she also served as President”.

Much of the book explores in excruciating detail the Federal prosecutions that grew out of the Enron collapse in the early years of the new century (and) the 2008 prosecution, conviction, and ultimate acquittal and exoneration of Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska. (The Stevens case came at a politically convenient time that changed the balance of power in the Senate). In all high profile prosecutions, the cost of providing an adequate defense places an immense economic burden on the accused, and in a Gogolesque scenario, when threatened with financial ruin many defendants have struck immunity deals and have become witnesses for the prosecution, telling the court what they've been instructed to say, even if they absolutely know it to be untrue or misleading.  …more

Home | Major Libraries | BSM Archives | Useful Links | About Us | Advertising/Sponsorship | Free Subscription/Contact Us