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Signed Andy Warhol 1st edition offered in rare book auction Dec. 11

Jasper52 will host a rare book auction of nearly 150 lots on Wednesday, Dec. 11. The auction includes leather-bound books, sets, fine bindings and treasures in every price range. Featured is a signed copy of The Philosophy of Andy Warhol from A to B & Back Again by Andy Warhol.

‘The Philosophy of Andy Warhol From A to B & Back Again,’ 1975, hardcover, inscribed by Andy Warhol to Nicci (Nicola), wife of Kenneth Jay Lane, first edition. Estimate: $900-$1,100. Jasper52 image

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Sets of literary classics star in Jasper52 auction Sept. 24

A Jasper52 antiquarian book auction on Tuesday, Sept. 24, includes many sets of literary classics in fine bindings. With treasures in every price range, this sale offers collectors the opportunity to add rare volumes to their collections.

Jane Austen, ‘The Novels,’ published by Chatto and Windus, London, 1917, 10 volumes. Estimate: $2,500-$3,000. Jasper52 image

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Yearbooks: Not So Embarrassing When They’re Collectible

Remembrances have been around for centuries in the form of scrapbooks containing special things – ribbons, drawings, handwritten stories, dried flowers, even hair. Bound together, these items have a way of keeping memories alive.

A new way of commemorating personal experiences was introduced in 1806 with the publication of the first college yearbook. It was produced by Yale and titled “Profiles of the Class Graduated at Yale College.” There are no known surviving copies of the book. The “Signia,” a yearbook from the 1823 graduating class of Massachusetts College of Pharmacy, is believed to be the oldest extant college yearbook. As for the oldest high school yearbook, that honor goes to the 1814 edition of “The Cue,” from Albany Academy in Albany, New York.

It’s not certain what each of these yearbooks contained, but a best guess is that they might have been formatted in scrapbook style and focused only on the graduates.

1877 university scrapbook with remembrances and advertising cards. Images courtesy of Uniques and Antiques Inc., and LiveAuctioneers Archive

Photography would change how yearbooks looked. As early as 1826 or so, a practical image was made from a camera obscura by French inventor Nicéphore Niépce. His View from the Window at Le Gras is considered the earliest surviving photograph. Since yearbooks are all about visuals, Niépce’s invention would change and define the yearbook over time.

Early Photographs

The 1845 edition of “The Evergreen” is the oldest surviving high school yearbook issued by Waterville Academy in New York City. Highlighting its academic and other activities, the yearbook also allowed daguerreotype images to be tipped in by hand.
When the daguerreotype fizzled out by the end of the 1850s, George K. Warren, a photographer specializing in portraits in and around Boston, moved on to the more useful tintypes where more copies could be produced from a single negative – a useful breakthrough. Concentrating on college portraits, patrons bought several copies of their image and passed them around to their friends. Your friends then gave you a copy of their photographs, and after amassing a selection, you could have them bound in a book of your own.

However, yearbooks were only for seniors at college and high school and were quite expensive to produce. This remained the case until the 1870s, when the albumin process made it easier to mass-produce photos.

Gravure Printing

By 1880 or so, printing by the offset process made mass production of books, newspapers, and advertising more economical and commercially available. Utilizing an intaglio process, photographs could be more easily reproduced and rendered in higher quality using a photogravure process. Because such images were produced by hand, it was limited to fine prints.

Princeton University Yearbook of 1899 showing then-new rotogravure printing of half-tone photos. Image courtesy of Quinn’s Auction Gallery and LiveAuctioneers Archive

However, it is the rotogravure process that enabled photographs and images to be printed using a rotary printing press. With this process, yearbooks became more widely available, with images and photographs using the half-tone printing process. By 1920, all yearbooks included more than just the graduating class; they also included club activities, sports teams and individual graduate poses.

Lithography

Beginning in the 1930s, high school and college yearbooks became much more affordable for the average family thanks to offset lithography. They began to be produced for graduating classes everywhere.

Availability to Collectors

It isn’t difficult to find 19th-century scrapbooks at auction. Most are filled with clips of newspapers and other items of personal interest, but they contain virtually no photographs or advertising to tell a more compelling story.

Almost all vintage yearbooks that show up at auction are from the beginning of the mass-production movement, which started around 1920. They include individual images, sports activities, clubs, histories, personalities and even advertising.

The Seminole, 1946 and 1947, University of Florida yearbooks. Courtesy Florida Estate Sales LLC and LiveAuctioneers Archive

Collecting yearbooks, particularly those from high schools, is a favorite pastime for fans looking for early photographic depictions of current celebrities. Having an insight on stars and public figures at a time when their personalities were not fully formed adds an interesting dynamic to the individuals we now know.

For example, Neil Armstrong, who, in 1969, became the first man to set foot on the moon was something of a recluse later in life, choosing privacy over the trappings of celebrity. His autograph became harder to obtain, as he refused all requests for his signature. A 1947 high school yearbook that recently sold for $2,050 shows a handwritten signature in capital letters. Very unusual.

Neil Armstrong signed his Blume High School (Wapakoneta, Ohio) yearbook in all caps. The description of Armstrong reads: “He thinks, he acts, ’tis done.” The book sold for $2,050. Image courtesy of RR Auction and LiveAuctioneers Archive

Yearbooks provide a snapshot in time that goes beyond the embarrassing senior photo. The advertising in yearbooks, for example, provides a frame of reference for local histories. The activities or clubs that were important at that time may have disappeared, and athletic achievements may have been forgotten.

Yearbooks are plentiful; in fact, the supply is overwhelming. There are about 17,000 to 25,000 or so high schools in the United States. If each school produces a yearbook with an average of about 500 students or so per graduating class, that could mean about 8.5 million to 12.5 million yearbooks published per year and that’s not including colleges and universities. Most yearbooks continue to sell at auction in the $10 to $30 range. A premium is paid for any that contain a student who later became famous, whether an actor, politician, athlete or other public figure.

Examples of albumin photo processing are seen in this 1870 West Point Officers yearbook. Image courtesy of Alderfer Auction and LiveAuctioneers Archive

Additionally, yearbooks now encompass more than just colleges and high schools. Military graduating classes such as boot camp, specialized training, and naval tours all have their individual yearbooks commemorating the class or event. Businesses also have created yearbooks for anniversaries and yearly conferences, and so do sports teams. The New York Mets have issued a yearbook annually since 1962.

The New York Mets baseball team has issued yearbooks since 1962. Image courtesy of Baker’s Antiques and Auctions, and LiveAuctioneers Archive

Lastly, unlike other collectible categories, there are no specific price guides for yearbooks or organized collecting associations. However, there is no shortage of collecting opportunities with yearbooks. They encompass art, culture, language, advertising, and personalities. They also tell the story of printing and photography. That’s what makes collecting yearbooks a fascinating and long-lasting avocation – one year at a time.

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Sources:

Konkle, Bruce E., A Preliminary Overview of the Early History of High School Journalism in the U.S.: 1775-1925, University of South Carolina-Columbia, 2013

Yearbook History: https://photoographybriana.weebly.com/yearbook-history.html; NPR https://www.npr.org/sections/pictureshow/2010/06/03/127412786/yearbooks

About George K. Warren, J. Paul Getty Museum:

http://www.getty.edu/art/collection/artists/2878/george-kendall-warren-american-1834-1884/

Firsts by noted authors featured in vintage book auction Aug. 22

First editions penned by many of the 20th-century’s greatest authors, including George Orwell’s 1934 Burmese Days, Ernest Hemingway’s Men Without Women and Jack London’s Call of the Wild – all three with dust jackets – are featured in a book auction that will be conducted by Jasper52 on Wednesday, Aug. 22.

‘Junkie,’ William S. Burroughs, first edition, first printing, softbound, bound dos à dos with Maurice Helbrant’s ‘Narcotic Agent,’ Ace Book Inc., New York. Estimate: $1,200-$1,500. Jasper52 image

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Jasper52 book auction May 9 recounts the Civil War

America’s foremost historians recount the American Civil War in a large collection of books on the subject that will be sold Wednesday, May 9, by Jasper52. Leading the charge is Margaret E. Wagner’s 752-page book titled The American Civil War: 365 Days, which features more than 500 items drawn from the collections of the Library of Congress.

The American Civil War: 365 Days’ by Margaret E. Wagner, first edition, published by Harry N. Abrams, hardcover, 752 pages. Estimate: $25-$50. Jasper52 image

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Reprise for bestsellers via Jasper52 online auction April 11

Modern first editions are featured in an online book auction that will be conducted Wednesday, April 11, by Jasper52. Bibliophiles can examine and purchase classics by Joseph Conrad, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Virginia Woolf, Lewis Carroll, John Steinbeck and many more.

Tom Robbins, ‘Still Life With Woodpecker,’ first edition, signed by the author with dust jacket. Estimate: $200,$300. Jasper52 image

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5 Authors of Young Adult Fiction You Should Know

Growing up can be glorious, exhilarating and difficult—and that might very well be just one day. For generations, writers have explored this most complex, yet all too relatable topic, in the genre of literature commonly known as Young Adult Fiction, or simply YA.

The past couple of decades have been a boon to this genre of literature. Global YA sensations include series such as Harry Potter, Twilight, The Hunger Games and The Shadowhunter Chronicles, and singular top-sellers including A Fault in Our Stars, The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian, The Book Thief and most recently The Hate U Give, captivating audiences of all ages, backgrounds and regions.

First edition of ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,’ author’s presentation copy inscribed by J.K. Rowling to the family of her daughter’s nursery school chum, one of only 500 copies printed in 1997. Sold for about $140,738 at Bonhams in November 2017. Bonhams image

However, these modern-day reflections of the accomplishment and angst that often accompany the period of life between childhood and adulthood are part of a legacy of literature that helped generations of people through the most trying times. Do vintage classics including Charlotte’s Web, The Outsiders, The Catcher in the Rye, the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys series, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn ring a bell?

Legendary List: One of the most extensive lists of “best of the best” in YA was compiled by Time magazine: http://time.com/100-best-young-adult-books/

In no specific order, we’ll look at five authors of Young Adult Fiction whose contributions to literature provided voices of truth for millions of young people. These works also afford those with a passion for literature and collecting the unique opportunity to amass a library of references that speak volumes and can become a cherished collection.

—Judy Blume: Born in 1938 and raised in Elizabeth, New Jersey, she currently resides in Key West, Florida, with her husband, where they operate the nonprofit Books & Books @ The Studios. She’s the award-winning author of 29 books including the revolutionary YA works Freckle Juice, Blubber and Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. Her first book was published in 1969. Her books dealt with topics not often discussed with young adults of 1970s America. Subjects including teen sex, birth control, bullying, body image and death.

In addition to selling more than 85 million copies of her books, which include versions in 32 languages, Blume has long been an active advocate of the National Coalition Against Censorship, according to information on judyblume.com.

—John Greene: Born in 1977 in Indianapolis, Ind. He is an award-winning novelist specializing in YA fiction. To date, he’s authored five books and co-authored an additional two, with two of his books (A Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns) transformed into feature films. In an uncommon, but innovative move, Green teamed up with fellow YA author David Levithan (New York Times best-selling author of Every Day and Invisibility) to co-author the series Will Grayson, according to Green’s official site, www.johngreenebooks.com. Another element of his body of work is viewable via YouTube. In the virtual universe, he teamed up with his brother, Hank, more than a decade ago to communicate primarily through video blogs at vlogbrothers.com on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/user/vlogbrothers). The brothers also developed the program Crash Course (https://www.youtube.com/user/crashcourse), which features vlogs where the subjects of history, literature, economics, biology, chemistry and government, among others, are discussed. Each program is led by an expert in the field. At present, the Crash Course channel has 7.4 million subscribers, and the vlogbrothers greet a community of 3.1 million subscribers on YouTube.

YA Perspective: “The defining characteristic of YA literature is emotional truth,” responded David Levithan, author of Every Day, in an article appearing in The Atlantic. “Even if we’re not the same as the characters we read, they are all dealing with things—issues of who they are, who they should be, what they should and shouldn’t do—that we all deal with, in their own ways. With The Hunger Games, even if we will never be in Katniss’s shoes, the decisions she makes make emotional sense to us—even when she makes the wrong ones.”

—Jason Reynolds (1970): In his own words this Brooklyn-based writer plans to: NOT WRITE BORING BOOKS. Based on the sales of and accolades surrounding the 11 books he’s written, it appears he is on target with his goal. Graduating from The University of Maryland, College Park, he’s earned a litany of awards in the nine years since the debut of this New York Times bestselling author’s first novel. He’s the winner of a Kirkus Award, Walter Dean Myers Award, an NAACP Image Award, and several Coretta Scott King honors. This is in addition to being named a Newberry Award, Printz Award and National Book Award honoree, according to his author’s page at the site of his publisher, Simon & Schuster.

Jason Reynolds ‘As Brave as You,’ published in 2016, is a Kirkus Award finalist, Schneider Family Book Award winner, and a Coretta Scott King Award winner. It is the story of two young brothers from Brooklyn who spend the summer with their grandparents in Virginia. Simon & Schuster image

Among the YA books Reynolds’ has written is Ghost, All American Boys, Long Way Down, For Every One, and As Brave as You.

—J.K. Rowling (1965): Is a native of Gloucestershire, England, the daughter of an aircraft engineer for Rolls Royce and a science technician in the chemistry department at Wycedean Comprehensive, where Rowling received her education, according to information obtained at her site. Her first book came together when she was 6, and at the age of 11, she had penned her first novel: a story about seven diamonds and their owners.

Following her graduation from university, she worked in London, and her career included work as a researcher with Amnesty International. The idea for Harry Potter was perceived in 1990, and in the course of five years’ time Rowling developed the entire series. She taught English for the next several years until her first book was published by Bloomsbury Children’s Books in 1997. In 2001, Warner Bros. debuted the film version of the first book, which was followed by eight more films recounting the series, ending the final film Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, which was released in 2011.

Although Rowling began as an author of children’s literature, the Harry Potter series had evolved to such a point that, by the publication of the fourth book (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire), her work was classified as young adult fiction, as well.

—J.D. Salinger (1919-2010): Another native New Yorker, Jerome David Salinger was not a successful student, and ultimately was sent to the Valley Forge Military Academy in Wayne, Pennsylvania. Later he took evening classes at Columbia University, where he met Whit Burnett, a professor who ultimately helped Salinger get his work published.

He was drafted during World War II, during which time he began working on chapters of a book featuring the life and experiences of young Holden Caulfield. According to Biography.com. In 1951, Salinger’s work was published as The Catcher in the Rye. Although it is now regarded as an example of classic young adult fiction, early on it received its share of criticism and calls for censorship, as well as praise. It went on to sell 65 million copies. However, it also became part of the story involving the tragic assassination of John Lennon in 1980. Mark David Chapman, the man who murdered Lennon, had a copy of The Catcher in the Rye and said the reason for the attack was spelled out in the book.

Young Adult Fiction Fact: The Harry Potter series has sold more copies than the combined populations of the United States, Canada, Australia, and the UK. (Source: BookRiot.com)

As history has proven, there are always stories to be shared and lessons from which to learn. Some of the most poignant, relatable, influential and inspiring are those told through the experiences and eyes of young adults.

Bygone bestsellers, first editions good reads at Feb. 13 auction

Bibliophiles will have an opportunity to acquire some of the best 20th-century literature in a comprehensive book auction that visually and textually spans various historic endeavors, iconic memoirs and cultural wonders. Jasper52 will conduct the online auction Tuesday, Feb. 13, starting at 7 p.m. Eastern time.

Margaret Atwood, ‘The Handmaid’s Tale,’ 1986, signed first printing with tipped in book card from Houghton Mifflin, near fine condition (close to new). Estimate: $400-$500. Jasper52 image

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Jasper52 auction Dec. 19 delves into U.S. military history

Volumes of military and political history of the United States are revealed in a Jasper52 book auction taking place Tuesday, Dec. 19. Subjects range from firsthand accounts of the Spanish American War by newspaper correspondents to an intelligence report on alleged assassination plots involving foreign leaders. The latter item contains a card inscribed: “With my compliments, Barry M. Goldwater,” the Arizona senator who ran for president in 1964.

An illustration from the three-volume set of ‘Peter Simple or Adventures of a Midshipman,’ by Capt. Frederick Marryat (1972-1848), published by E.L.Carey & A. Hart, Philadelphia, 1934. Estimate: $150-$200. Jasper52 image

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Books: From a 17th Century Koran to a Jeweller’s Book of Victorian Hair Patterns

Books on art, history and dozens of disciplines – more than 300 lots – are offered in a Jasper52 online auction Saturday, Oct. 21. Titles range from a 17th-century handwritten manuscript Koran to a pattern book on Victorian woven hair jewelry. Many of the books cover the spectrum of antiques and collectibles.

‘Tolstoy’s Works,’ by Count Lev N. ‘Leo’ Tolstoy, 1904, Limited No. 304 of 1000, Deluxe Edition, 24 volumes. Estimate: $1,000-$1,500. Jasper52 image

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