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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

View the auction here.

Learn more about the auction on Auction Central News.

5 First Editions and Scarce Posters That You Will Love

This weekend we’re conducting a trio of auctions featuring books and ephemera. Major attractions of the curated collections include signed first edition books and rare advertising posters. Let’s take a look at 5 standout items from these sales.

Larry McMurtry’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel Lonesome Dove is among the stars of the Literature and Editions Books Auction. The first state, first edition book is signed by the author on the front flyleaf.

Larry McMurtry, Lonesome Dove, signed first edition, first state, 1985, est. $700-$800

 

Though not a first, a 40th Anniversary Edition of To Kill a Mockingbird signed by author Harper Lee is certain to attract much attention.

Harper Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird, 1999 40th anniversary edition signed by author, est. $400-$500

 

Memorable images by Annie Liebovitz, who began her illustrious career, as a staff photographer of Rolling Stone magazine, fill her book titled Photographs 1970-1990. Liebovitz signed the title page of this first edition, first printing coffee table book, which is included in the Art, History and Reference Books auction.

Also included in this auction is another desirable book, Louise Saunders’ Knave of Hearts, which is illustrated by Maxfield Parrish. This is the Charles Scribner’s Sons 1925 first edition in spiral binding. All plates are present, bright and in remarkable condition.

Louise Saunders, The Knave of Hearts, illustrated by Maxfield Parrish, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1925, first edition in spiral binding, est. $500-$600

 

More than a dozen advertising and event posters are included in the 19th-20th Century Historic Ephemera Pop Culture auction. A classic bus/streetcar-size poster advertising Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit chewing gum is a stone lithograph. The 1940s poster by Otis Shepard, a highly regarded American illustrator and artist for the Wrigley family and the companies, depicts a healthful young couple at the beach.

Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit Chewing Gum bus/streetcar poster, circa 1940s, est. $1,200-$1,500

 

Formula One racing fans will be keeping their eyes on a poster for the 1970 Monaco Grans Prix. Michael Turner’s color stone lithograph juxtaposes the beauty of sailing with the exhiliration of road course racing.

Monaco Grand Prix May 9-10 poster, 1970, est. $1,200-$1,500

 

Broaden Your Horizons in This Book Auction

Art, architecture, design and history come together in this week’s comprehensive book auction. The curated collection of books visually and textually spans various artistic periods, historic endeavors, iconic memoirs and cultural wonders. No matter your interest, you will uncover an invaluable story to broaden your horizons. Take a look at a few highlights from this curated sale.

One of the oldest and most valuable books in the auction is a hardbound volume of papers by 17th-century British philosopher John Locke relating to money, interest and trade. The book is the first collected edition of Locke’s most important economic papers, which was published in 1696. It is estimated at $8,000-$10,000.

‘Several Papers Relating to Money, Interest and Trade … ’ by John Locke. First Collected Edition of Locke’s most important economic papers. London: Printed for A. and J. Churchill, at the Black-Swan in Pater-Noster-Row, 1696. Estimate: $8,000-$10,000. Jasper52 image

 

Another Renaissance man of the 17th century was Sir Andrew Balfour, whose first edition Letters Written [sic] to a Friend… Containing Excellent Directions and Advices for Travelling thro’ France and Italy is highly prized. Published posthumously in 1700 by the author’s son from his father’s original manuscript letters, the book has firsthand advice on what to see and do in England, France and Italy, with special attention to buying natural history books. The first edition, first state volume offered in this auction is estimated at $1,000-$1,2000.

‘Letters Writen [sic] to a Friend … Containing Excellent Directions and Advices for Travelling thro’ France and Italy … ’ by Sir Andrew Balfour, first edition, first state, Edinburgh, MDCC [1700]. Estimate: $1,000-$1,200. Jasper52 image

Sportsmen can relive the time of the great French Hunts of the early 20th century in Baron Karl Reille’s famous book La Vénerie Française Contemporaine. This profusely illustrated book, with its text drawings and music scores, numerous full-page color plates, is filled with anecdotes and, often amusing, comments. This important work presents all the hunts existing in France at the time, with each hunt illustrated by the author. It has a $4,000-$4,500 estimate.

‘La Vénerie Française Contemporaine’ by Baron Karl Reille, 1914: Adolph de Goupy, Paris. Famous early 20th century book about hunting in France, profusely illustrated. Estimate: $4,000-$4,500. Jasper52 image

 

Also from France is a first edition of The Decisive Moment: Photography by Henri Cartier Bresson, published in English by Simon and Schuster in 1952. The book, which features a cover illustration by Henri Matisse, contains 126 photographs by the pioneer of street photography. With losses to the surface of the book’s spine, it is estimated at $300-$400.

‘The Decisive Moment: Photography by Henri Cartier Bresson,’ first edition, 1952: Simon and Schuster & Verve Publication. Estimate: $300-$400. Jasper52 image

 

The most recent book in the sale is a first edition of Carlos Diniz’s Views of Venice II, which was published in 2000. The volume is illustrated with 10 full-page color reproductions of his paintings of Venice, and one large foldout plate, which is also in color. Carlos Diniz (1928-2001) is recognized as one of the most important practitioners of architectural illustration in the 20th century. He is known for his work with many Pritzker, Gold Medal and pioneering architects of the 20th century.

‘Views of Venice II,’ by Carlos Diniz, first edition, 2000, Santa Barbara, Calif., illustrated with 10 full-page color reproductions of Diniz’s paintings of Venice, and one large foldout plate also in color. Estimate: $200-$300. Jasper52 image

 

Moving to America, a scarce special edition of The Oregon Trail: Sketches of Prairie And Rocky-mountain Life by Francis Parkman is prized for its Frederick Remington illustrations. The remarkably clean example in the auction features the beautiful blue, red, black and gilt decorative design on cover cloth and gilt design on spine. It carries a $500-$600 estimate.

The Oregon Trail, Sketches Of Prairie And Rocky-mountain Life’ by Francis Parkman, first editon of the Frederick Remington-illustrated special edition. Little, Brown and Co. Estimate: $500-$600. Jasper52 image

Children’s Books: Investing in Nostalgia

Do you remember the books you loved as a child? It’s a solid bet that at least a couple of your childhood favorites are also the favorites of collectors, and with good reason. We can all relate to the experience of having books read to us at bedtime, and later, taking pride in learning how to read those books ourselves.

Baum, L. Frank, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, first edition, first state of the text and first state of the plates, octavo, Geo. M. Hill Co., Chicago and New York, 1900. Green morocco slipcase. Auctioned Dec. 16, 2009 for $53,100. LiveAuctioneers / Profiles in History image

We spoke with two experts in the field of collectible books: Helen Younger, founder of Aleph-Bet Books, Inc., and Catherine Payling, MBE, director of Waverly Rare Books, a subsidiary of Quinn’s Auction Galleries, to get their take on the children’s book market. In speaking with them, we learned that juvenile literature is a solid niche within the greater realm of book collecting and has been so for quite some time.

As Payling observed, the market “has been relatively stable during and after recent economic upheavals and broader changes in patterns of collecting.”

Echoing those sentiments, Younger, who has been in the collectible book business since 1977, pointed to the availability and affordability of children’s books as reasons for the continued interest among collectors.

“In the world of collectible books, children’s books, in general, are not among the most expensive – they can be a little more attainable.”

In building a collection of children’s books, keep these points in mind: edition and rarity; condition, desirability, and the potential impact of changing trends.

Lot of three titles signed by Maurice Sendak, illustrated, and authored by Ruth Krauss, “Somebody Else’s Nut Tree And Other Tales From Children,” “A Hole Is to Dig: A First Book of Definitions,” and “Lullabies And Night Songs,” published in 1971, 1952, and 1965, respectively. Sold for $250 at auction June 1, 2017 through Waverly Books. Waverly Books image

For example, Payling said, “If there should be a dust jacket but one isn’t present, then a book without one is [considered] comprised. Is the book signed by the author or the illustrator? Is there interesting provenance?” All are important factors with respect to desirability.

Addressing condition, Younger outlined the standards many reputable dealers use in assessing books:

  • Good: Shows wear, tears, soiling, and perhaps the dust jacket is missing
  • Very Good: The book is in nice condition, although it may show age to some extent. It is clean and presents nicely.
  • Fine: Although it may not look as it did when brand new, it has no defects, it is clean, and nothing is missing.
  • Mint: The book is flawless.

Not only is understanding differences in condition helpful when considering the purchase of a book, it is often the key factor in determining price when selling a book.

For example, as Younger pointed out, Aleph-Bet might list a copy of Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat with a high price tag, but that might be because it’s a first edition, first printing, in mint condition.

Wells, Carolyn, illustrations by Jessie Wilcox Smith, “Seven Ages of Childhood,” first edition, NY: Moffat Yard 1909, tan gilt cloth, round pictorial paste-on, 56 pages. Cloth slightly darkened on edges from inoffensive cover stain, occasional foxing, VG. $400 through Aleph-Bet Books. Aleph-Bet Books image

As with most collecting interests, experience and time are the best teachers, according to Payling and Younger. Learning how publishers denoted first editions is an important practice, Younger added.

“It truly takes time to learn the aspects of children’s books, and to complicate things further, publishers were not consistent with how they denoted first editions,” she explains. “Some may say ‘first edition,’ some may have a number code or a combination, and some may have the date of publication on the title page and the copyright page, while some may not.”

Payling, who recently purchased a copy of Miskoo the Lucky by Mary Fairclough – one of her favorite books from childhood – recommends the following measures to gain valuable knowledge about children’s books:

  • Acquire some good-quality reference books on your specific area of collecting interest, whether it is by country, century, author and so on, and use them to help make buying decisions.
  • Learn to identify variations in condition.
  • Learn about current market prices from online resources, especially recent auction results, whose price database is free of charge.
  • Check out auction houses and their auction catalogs.

Also, attending book fairs and visiting the shops and sites of businesses specializing in rare and collectible books are all methods for amassing knowledge that will prove helpful in efforts to acquire children’s books, Younger advised.

Beginners may find it advisable to define the focus of their collection.

“Blue-chip authors, such as L. Frank Baum, Dr. Seuss, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lewis Carroll, J.M. Barrie, Maurice Sendak, and Roald Dahl are always sought after,” said Payling. “People are often motivated by childhood memories, so we see buyers looking for children’s titles popular when they were young.” Illustrated books are also highly desirable.

Younger points to children’s books published in the mid-20th century as being the current “sweet spot” in collecting. However, some lesser-known interests are gaining attention.

Milne, A.A., “Winnie the Pooh (And) The House at Pooh Corner,” Russian first edition, NY: Dutton 1967, cloth, 221 pages. Top edge rubbed, otherwise VG+ in frayed dust wrapper with a few mends on verso. $125 through Aleph-Bet Books. Aleph-Bet Books image

“Right now, we’re seeing the popularity of Russian children’s books growing,” she said. Early 20th-century Russian children’s books are distinguished by their consistently high quality of printing, illustration, and presentation. Plus, they reflect the characteristics of an evolving society.

Before the Russian Revolution of 1917, many of the books displayed lush treatment and robust illustration – a “frills and fantasy” presentation – said Younger, who formerly worked as a librarian and fosters a life-long appreciation for books. After the Revolution, children’s books, much like Russian society of that period, were stark, direct, and more focused on being utilitarian.

Another aspect of collecting to bear in mind is changing trends, Payling said. For example, values of Harry Potter books are not as high today as they were at the peak of Potter-mania.

Collecting children’s books can be rewarding, but like any type of book collecting, it requires a time investment. It pays to learn as much as possible, study market activity, and over and above all, to allow one’s own sense of nostalgia to serve as the primary guide to purchases.


About the experts:

Catherine Payling, MBE, M.A. Oxford University, was born and raised in the United Kingdom. She spent 10 years working in prestigious executive roles in London, and 15 years in Rome, Italy, where she served as curator/director of the Keats House Museum. Catherine has resided in the United States since 2011. She was an adjunct professor at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and is married to Duncan Wu, the Raymond Wagner Professor of Literary Studies at Georgetown. Catherine has a personal collection of books, and she and her husband are lifelong collectors of fine and decorative art.

Helen Younger co-owns Aleph-Bet Books in Pound Ridge, New York, together with her husband, Marc. Her love of books began when she was a child and continued to grow as she traveled through Europe following her high school graduation. She became a professional librarian and, in the mid-1970s, established a book-selling business upon the suggestion of her mother-in-law, who organized estate sales. Helen has been a member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America since 1982.

Natural History Books: Exploring Nature From Your Armchair

“If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.” – Vincent Van Gogh

One does not need to venture far to experience the wonders of nature. They’re as close as a single step outdoors, a glance out a window, or, the nearest bookshelf.

For centuries, natural history books have provided views and explanations of various elements of nature. These books combine remarkable illustrations with thorough details of complex scientific organisms within ornithology, horticulture, botany, and etymology, among other disciplines.

To gain an expert perspective about natural history books and the current collecting market we turned to Bruce MacMakin, Senior Vice President at PBA Galleries in San Francisco.

“A Picture Book of Beasts, British and Foreign: Or, An Introduction to Natural History,” William Darton, 1822, London. Sold for $4,300 in February 2015 through PBA Galleries. PBA Galleries image.

How is the market today for collecting natural history books? How does it compare with the market a few years ago?

The market for collectible natural history books is much the same as the market for books in general. That is to say, that while prices have basically recovered from the recession that began in the fall of 2008, the long-term effects of the Internet on the marketing and availability of books and the information contained in them has had a continued and profound influence on the values of old books. What was once scarce and hard to find in the thousands of bookstores scattered across the country and around the globe, is now available at the click of a mouse. This has depressed the value of more-common books.

At the same time, the ease with which rare books can be searched for and acquired has broadened the collecting base, and made the geographic location of collectors no longer a barrier to participation. A collector or scholar in the middle of Iowa can acquire books as easily as one in New York City. This growth in the number of collectors, coupled with the lack of intrigue in acquiring the more-common works, has driven up the prices of the more rare and significant material, as buyers vie for the few gems at the top.

“A History of the Birds of New Zealand,” Sir Walter Lawry Buller, circa 1887, London. Limited issue, one of 1,000 sets. (Est. $5,000-$7,000 in a June 3, 2017 auction). Image by Arader Galleries.

Is there a genre of natural history book that is most sought after, or is the appeal equal among various topics (botany, ornithology, marine biology, travels of naturalists, etc.)?

Every collector has reasons for collecting what they do, and for every topic there are star items that bring premium prices. This can be based on the importance of a work, its scarcity, condition or beauty. Many natural history books have striking illustrations, including hand-colored engraved plates, color printed mezzotints that were seminal in the development of printing techniques, or simple line cuts that still presented important records of the subjects. But overall, botanical works seem to have held value and interest to a greater degree than others.

 

Are natural history books more available than in years past? What do you think may be contributing to this?

There are, in general, more books available for ready purchase than ever before, due to the global marketplace provided by the Internet, so this is true of natural history books, as well. But it still takes effort to locate the works of highest quality and importance, and in today’s transparent world, where a significant book is less likely to sneak onto a shelf in a bookstore with its true value unrevealed, one will likely have to pay a healthy price.

“Voyage to the South-Sea and Along the Coasts of Chili and Peru in the Years 1712, 1713, 1714, Particularly Describing the Genius and Constitution of the Inhabitants, as well as Indians and Spaniards: Their Customs and Manners, their Natural History, Mines, Commodities, Traffick with Europe &c.,” by Amedee Francois Frezier, Jonah Bowyer, 1717, London. Sold for $1,230 in April 2016 through PBA Galleries. PBA Galleries image.

In addition to condition, what factors weigh in to the value of natural history books?

One should start with the importance of a book in establishing our knowledge of how the natural world works. A prime example would be the works of Charles Darwin – in particular, On the Origin of Species, the appearance of which in 1859 sent shock waves through not only the scientific community, but through society in general. It is an example of a book whose value continues to grow, and premium copies regularly set price records.

Another reason for natural history books to have value is the illustrations. Beginning with simple woodcuts in the 15th century, illustrations kept pace with, and in many cases engendered, advances in printing, engraving and coloring. Not only are the subjects of the illustrations important, whether botanical, ornithological, or geologic, but the techniques used are very significant as well.

“The English Moths and Butterflies,” Benjamin Wilkes, Georg Dionysius, Ehret and Jacob van Huysum, 19th century, London. (Est. $12,000-$16,000 in a June 3, 2017 auction). Image by Arader Galleries.

What are two essential tips you would offer someone interested in collecting natural history books?

As with any collecting field, concentrate on what interests you. That will make it a pleasant task to acquire the knowledge necessary to form a meaningful collection. Do not collect for value, but for significance (value will follow). And when faced with the choice of purchasing a lesser copy at a bargain price, or a premium copy at a high price, choose the premium copy. Then when you look at the book on your shelf, you will be proud of the acquisition, whereas the lesser book would cause you to regret the money spent. And from a practical point of view, in today’s market, the premium book will become more valuable, while the cheap book will only become cheaper.


Bruce MacMakin is senior vice president of PBA Galleries in San Francisco. The son of a printer, MacMakin began his career in the book-auction trade at California Book Auction Galleries in 1978, fresh out of college. It was an unplanned diversion that has lasted 38 years and counting. In 1992, he became a founding member of Pacific Book Auction Galleries, now PBA Galleries. His areas of expertise range from early incunabula and rare manuscripts to hyper-modern fiction and The Wizard of Oz.

A Book Collection Spanning 500 Years

Great books from the early era of moveable type up to the 20th century are featured in this week’s Book & Ephemera auction ending on Sunday, February 19th. Topics in this eclectic collection range from the history of Queen Elizabeth’s England to mid-century modern furniture.

Perhaps the most colorful volume in the collection is titled Documenti d’arte d’oggi, an experimental magazine of M.A.C. (Concrete Art Movement). Offered in the auction is the last of four issues, published in Milan, Italy in 1958. The 152-page volume contains multiple serigraphs, lithographs, woodcuts, collages of several artists linked to the Concrete Art Movement, as well as an intact pop-up sculpture by Bruno Munari (1907-1998). The original hardcover is a color lithograph by Gianni Monnet (1912-1958). This scarce publication is estimated to generate international interest and sell for $4,000-$5,000.

‘Documenti d’arte d’oggi,’ magazine, first and only edition, published by MAC 1958, New York, George Wittenborn, 152pp. Estimate: $4,000-$5,000. Jasper52 image

 

Fans of mid-century modern furniture will delight in a near fine copy of Knoll Design by Eric Larrabee & Massimo Vignelli (1981: Harry N. Abrams). The large square quarto volume retains its dust jacket, which is also rated near fine. The book’s 307 pages are profusely illustrated in color and black and white. It carries a $300-$400 estimate.

‘Knoll Design’ by Eric Larrabee and Massimo Vignelli, first printing, Harry N. Abrams, New York 1981, large square qurto, 3078pp, profusely illustrated in color and black & white. Estimate: $300-$500. Jasper52 image

 

Elbert Hubbard, an influential exponent of the Arts and Crafts Movement, signed and numbered the book titled The Deserted Village, which was published by his Roycrofters in East Aurora, NY in 1989. The book offered in the auction is number 16 of 470 signed by Hubbard; only the first 40 copies of this limited edition were illuminated with extra original watercolor drawings by artist Minnie Gardner. No one knows how many of the original 40 yet exist, but they are considered scarce. This 56-page book is estimated at $400-$500.

‘The Deserted Village,’ by Oliver Goldsmith and illustrated by Minnie Gardner, No. 16 of 470, signed by Elbert Hubbard and Gardner, Roycroft, East Aurora, New York, 1898, 56pp. Estimate: $400-$500. Jasper52 image

 

From the same era and equally scarce is a first edition of George Bird Grinnell’s The Indians of Today (1900: Herbert S. Stone & Co. Chicago and New York). The 185-page book contains portraits of notable Native americans by photographer F.A. Rinehart. This important work is estimated at $900-$1,000.

‘The Indians of Today’ by George Bird Grinnell, photographs by F.A. Rinehart, first edition, Herbert S. Stone & Co., Chicago & New York, 1900. Estimate: $900-$1,000. Jasper52 image

 

Jurists will be interested in the first edition of Reports of Cases Ruled and Adjudged in the Courts of Pennsylvania, Before and Since the Revolution by A.J. Dallas, published in 1790 by T. Bradford in Philadelphia. The 494-page volume, which shows wear, has a $400-$500 estimate.

‘Reports of Cases Ruled and Adjudged in the Courts of Pennsylvania, Before and since the Revolution.’ By A.J. Dallas, first edition, T. Bradford, Philadelphia, 1790, 494pp. Estimate: $400-$500. Jasper52 image

 

In amazing condition for its age is a book published in London in 1569 on the history of England up to the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Like most surviving copies, this extremely scarce book is not perfect; missing the title page through page 12 (estimated at $4,000-$5,000).

‘A Chronicle at Large, and Meere History of the Affayres of Englande … ’ by Richard Grafton, London, 1569, full leather cover. Estimate: $4,000-$5,000. Jasper52 image

 

Also worthy of note is a first edition (second state) of The Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides with Samuel Johnson by James Boswell, published in London in 1785. Bound in full calf – quite possibly the original binding – it is in overall good condition and expected to sell for $500-$600.

There’s something for everyone in this collection – view the fully illustrated catalog of book and ephemera here.

How Dust Jackets Play a Key Role in Value of Collectible Books

In this throwaway society it seems ironic that the 19th-century innovation known as a dust jacket is no longer discarded once the book it was designed to protect is brought home. In collector circles, the paper wrapper is regarded as an integral part of a book.

By definition, the dust jacket is a book’s detachable outer cover, usually made of paper and printed with text and illustrations. This outer cover has folded flaps that secure it inside the front and back book covers.

LEFT: One of the most important literary works of the 20th century and Ernest Hemingway’s most difficult first edition to find with its dust jacket is ‘The Sun Also Rises.’ This first edition with the proper first-edition dust jacket sold at a PBA Galleries auction for $42,000 in 2006. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers and PBA Galleries
RIGHT: A first edition of ‘The Sun Also Rises’ without its dust jacket sold at auction in 2006 for only $168. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers and PBA Galleries

Early dust jackets looked much different than they do today. After book publishers began using cloth bindings in the 1820s, they started providing dust wrappers, which protected books while being transported from the merchant to the buyer’s home. Because jackets of this type were torn when opened, they were normally discarded. Since they were not intended to be re-used, few survived.

Publishers’ dust jackets of the modern style, which covered just the binding and left the text block exposed, were in wide use by the 1890s.

After 1900, as bookbindings became less decorative, publishers paid greater attention to dust jackets, adding multiple colors, graphics, information and advertising. As dust jackets became more attractive than the bindings, more people began to keep the jackets on their books.

Today it would be unthinkable to discard a book’s dust jacket. Booksellers and collectors generally consider it essential to the package. A dust jacket on a book can be compared to the original finish on a fine piece of antique furniture.

“Not all dust jackets are created equal. It matters most with books that are avidly collected – that usually means some 20th-century literary first editions and fine press books. It can matter much less where the content is the major factor when purchasing the book,” said Dale A. Sorenson, PhD, ISA AM, a rare book expert and former owner of Waverly Auctions Inc. (now Waverly Rare Books).

“Of course, condition of the book and condition of dust jacket – or lack of a dust jacket – can play an important part in determining value. Recent literary first editions without a dust jacket become very difficult to sell unless priced at a few dollars,” said Sorenson.

In many instances a book with its dust jacket will appeal to collectors, but without it? Not so much. “It matters most where the dust jacket becomes the wide swing factor in value – first editions by Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Faulkner, where depending upon the condition of the dust jacket, the presence of one can raise the price 5, 10, sometimes 20 or more times than one without dust jacket,” said Sorenson.

A dust jacket can also support the distinction of whether or not the book is a first edition. As an example, a short statement by Truman Capote is printed in green on the inside front flap of first-edition dust jackets of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. Such examples are scarce and highly prized.

“On Our way” by Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1934, hardcover with dust jacket. Sold for $1,000 by Jasper52.

Since the mid-20th century, it has become a widespread practice for publishers to print the price of a book on the inside flap on the dust jacket, and for many years it was common for the buyer to clip off the corner of the jacket bearing the price. Most book collectors frown upon this practice. In some cases – one being John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath – the lower inside corner of the dust jacket states “First Edition.” Sorenson says,“If clipped, much of the value is gone, as it becomes unclear if the dust jacket is the one that was actually issued with a first-edition copy.”

Another problematic practice is matching a found dust jacket with a book that lacks one. “It is done, but there could be a subtle difference between the original dust jacket and the one supplied, negating the value hoped for by supplying the dust jacket from another source,” said Sorenson, adding that the marriage should be noted along with the source.

Sorenson said that the subject of just jackets is complicated and that there are many exceptions to be considered. Dust jackets add only nominal monetary value to books in general circulation. They function as intended, i.e., to attract the initial buyer and to protect the book from too much direct handling and wear. “Where they do become important is when the book is a title that attracts collectors as opposed to readers,” Sorenson said.

For more information, Sorenson recommends Book Collecting 2000 by Allen and Patricia Ahearn. The first section contains extensive detail on the various aspects of collecting books. He also recommends Collected Books The Guide to Identification and Values by the same authors. It contains less detail about collecting and is primarily an extensive list of books in various categories, with current market prices.

Check out this week’s book auction for excellent antiquarian book finds.


Dale A. Sorenson, Ph.D., is former owner of Waverly Auctions Inc. and currently an ISA accredited personal property appraiser of used and rare books, maps, prints and autographs.

Key Facts and Tips About Collecting Books by U.S. Presidents

The inauguration of the 45th president of the United States is a fitting time in which to compile a few fascinating facts about books written by presidents of the past and present.

Books authored by presidents are a popular choice with collectors, and for good reason. The depth and diversity of topics addressed in such books is simply staggering. Books penned by American presidents appeal to an immeasurable cross section of people. From die-hard bibliophiles and historians, to educators and even the most casual of readers, there is a shared interest in the memoirs from the Oval Office perspective. Below are a few interesting facts on these presidential books:

Fact #1: The first U.S. president put pen – likely a quill pen – to parchment paper well before he was elected to the nation’s highest office. President George Washington wrote “The Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior In Company and Conversation” before he celebrated his 16th birthday. The “Rules,” of which there are 110, are said to be an extension of a list compiled by French Jesuits in the late 16th century. President Washington reportedly copied the rules as part of a writing assignment. Washington’s version of the “Rules” was first published as a book in 1888, according to an article from The Digital Encyclopedia of George Washington by Katrina Schoorl.

Tip #1: Collecting autobiographies written by presidents, especially modern-era presidents, is often a more affordable option if collecting presidential ephemera is the goal. The investment in a president-written book is often less expensive than presidential signatures, according to Ken Gloss, owner of Brattle Book Shop, in an article in The Journal of Antiques and Collectibles.

The Winning of the West, Daniel Boone Edition, leather-bound four-volume set, Theodore Roosevelt, G.P. Putnam & Sons, New York and London, 1900, sold for $9,000 during a 2013 auction conducted by Wiederseim Associates, Inc.

Fact #2: Many presidents opted to write memoirs or autobiographies, or assist in biographies about them. Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Jimmy Carter both took this approach. In addition, their prolific literary paths also included writing adventure tales or fiction, respectively. Roosevelt, reportedly the author of more than 30 books, wrote about the settlement of the Western U.S. in the multi-volume work “The Winning of the West.” In addition, Carter’s tale “The Hornet’s Nest,” was the first fiction novel written by a U.S. president.

The Winning of the West, Daniel Boone Edition, leather-bound four-volume set, Theodore Roosevelt, G.P. Putnam & Sons, New York and London, 1900, sold for $9,000 during a 2013 auction conducted by Wiederseim Associates, Inc.

Fact#3: Various U.S. presidents’ writings have achieved bestseller status, but only one has garnered a Pulitzer Prize. President John F. Kennedy was awarded the 1957 Pulitzer Prize for Biography for his book Profiles in Courage, although for years there have been rumblings about the book having been written by a ghostwriter.

Tip #2: One way to enhance a collection of works written by U.S. presidents is to consider including books written by first ladies. In the 2015 blog post Collecting Rare Books and Autographs of American Presidents, from Bauman Rare Books’, author Rebecca Romney refers to books by Eleanor Roosevelt and Jackie Kennedy Onassis. Romney states, “Books signed or written by Jackie O. and other first ladies are naturally a rewarding path to explore as well.”

Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant, Ulysses S. Grant, Charles L. Webster & Company, New York, 1885, first edition, two-volume set, sold for $676 through Early American History Auctions in 2015.

Fact #4: Thomas Jefferson, the man credited with authoring the Declaration of Independence, was also a serious bibliophile. At one time, his personal library included nearly 10,000 books. In a letter he wrote to John Adams, Jefferson stated, “I cannot live without books,” according to an article by Endrina Tay appearing on the Encyclopedia Virginia site. In addition to published letters, he completed one full manuscript, “Notes on the State of Virginia.” This work was published in 1785, with an initial run of 200 copies paid for by Jefferson, according to information on the Massachusetts Historical Society site.

A video from the Massachusetts Historical Society about the conservation of Jefferson’s “Notes on the State of Virginia” can be viewed on YouTube.

Interested in viewing rare books by presidents and prolific authors alike? Take a look at this week’s Jasper52 books auction. You’re “bound” to find something to enjoy. 

First Edition Books: What Every Book Collector Needs to Know

Nothing gets a book collector’s pulse racing faster than the discovery of a first edition – especially a rare one by a famous author. But how can you be sure that a book is, indeed, a first edition? Deciphering the clues can be perplexing, especially if you’re a novice bibliophile.

To learn more about first editions, we turned to book expert Bruce MacMakin, who is Senior Vice President of the San Francisco auction house PBA Galleries. PBA specializes in fine antiquarian and collectible books, autographed ephemera, and works on paper.

How does one identify a first edition?
Each publisher has its own way of identifying first editions of its publications, and even those are not always consistent, especially when taken over a span of years or decades. Many state “First Edition,” usually on the copyright page, which is generally the back of the title page. For some, such as Putnam, the absence of any indication of later printings means it is a first edition. Beginning in 1929, Scribner’s placed an “A” on the copyright page of first editions. If the date on the title page of Houghton Mifflin publications matched that on the copyright page, and there were no indications of later printings, that meant it was a first edition. And English publications generally would state “First Published in [year].” These do change over the years, and more recently publishers have become less mysterious in their modes of indicating a first edition.

 

"The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," by L. Frank Baum, published by George M. Hill Co., First Edition, Second state, 1900. PBA Galleries. Estimate: $700-$1,000

“The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” by L. Frank Baum, published by George M. Hill Co., First Edition, Second state, 1900. PBA Galleries. Estimate: $700-$1,000

What can be learned from the printer’s key, and where is that found on a book?
The printer’s key, also known as the number line, is a line of text printed on the copyright page (the verso of the title page) of books. It is used to indicate the print run. Publishers started to use this convention around the middle of the 20th century. An example follows: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10. After the first printing, the 1 would be removed, so the lowest number would be the 2, indicating a second printing, or print run, and so on. Sometimes there is a series of years, to indicate the year in which the book was printed. Note that Random House did not, for many years, use the 1, so if 2 was the lowest number on one of their books, it was a first printing.

What is the difference between a “first edition” and a “first edition, first impression,” and is there a great deal of difference in value between the two? Is a first impression identified as such in the front of a book?
A first edition may go through a number of impressions, or printings. The edition is the way the book is set up, with movable type in the days of letterpress, through photo typesetting for offset, and digital printing of today. The first printing, or impression, is the first print run from the original printing plates (regardless of their form or the mode of printing). Subsequent printings from substantially the same setting of type, even if there are minor typographical changes or variations, can still be considered first editions, but bibliographic honesty dictates that the fact of a later printing be noted. Later printings are often indicated, as in the number key, but there are also many cases where later printings are determined by more obscure means, varying by publisher or even individual book. There are usually substantial differences in value between first and later printings of a book.

Ernest Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises," Scribners 1926, First Edition, Faux dust cover. Jasper52. Estimate: $300-$500

Ernest Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises,” Scribners 1926, First Edition, Faux dust cover. Jasper52. Estimate: $300-$500

What are some of the most valuable first editions?
The value of modern first editions is closely tied to the presence of, and condition of, the dust jacket. Most books from the 20th century and thereafter originally came out with dust jackets, and some of the earlier examples can be quite scarce and valuable. As an extreme example, a first edition copy of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, in dust jacket, has sold for as much as $310,000 at auction, whereas copies without the dust jacket usually go for around $2,000 to $3,000. Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises can bring as much as $130,000 in dust jacket, but less than a thousand without. Books signed or inscribed by their authors also can bring a premium. One of the most notable examples is a fairly modern author, Thomas Pynchon, who is notoriously unwilling to sign books. An inscribed copy of Gravity’s Rainbow has brought $15,000 at auction, whereas copies not signed or inscribed top out at around $1,000, depending on condition, particularly of the dust jacket.

If you were a beginning collector and wanted to focus on modern first editions but didn’t have a great deal of money to spend, which titles or genres would you recommend to them?
There are many reasons and strategies collectors employ when acquiring modern first editions. Some collect the first books of many different authors, others seek books that have won Pulitzer Prizes or similar awards, and some focus on what are considered “high spots” of literature. But for a beginning collector, I would recommend collecting books by an author whose works you enjoy reading and which have meaning to you. One does not have to be wealthy, or even comfortably well off, to find collecting books an enjoyable and intellectually stimulating activity. Many collectors have begun by accumulating paperbacks and reading copies, then moving on to first editions and copies with dust jackets. Usually an author’s later books can be readily acquired at modest prices. As collectors progress, they will then work backwards towards the rarer, more expensive early books. Then there are inscribed and signed copies, uncorrected proofs, limited editions of some of the works, even the original manuscripts for the advanced and better-heeled collectors. ‘Completists’ can branch out to periodical appearances, illustrated editions, omnibus printings, fine press editions, and so on and so on. Finally, when satiated, one can move on to the next author of choice.


bruce-pba-galleriesBruce MacMakin is senior vice president of PBA Galleries in San Francisco. The son of a printer, MacMakin began his career in the book-auction trade at California Book Auction Galleries in 1978, fresh out of college. It was an unplanned diversion that has lasted 38 years and counting. In 1992, MacMakin became a founding member of Pacific Book Auction Galleries, now PBA Galleries. His areas of expertise range from early incunabula and rare manuscripts to hyper-modern fiction and The Wizard of Oz.

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Ernest Hemingway

Novelist, short story writer and journalist Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) was one of America’s most accomplished and influential writers of the 20th century. His economical and understated style influenced scores of writers who followed, and many of his works are considered literary classics.

'The Sun Also Rise,' one of three early edition books by Ernest Hemingway. Estimate: $50-$150

‘The Sun Also Rise,’ one of three early edition books by Ernest Hemingway. Estimate: $50-$150

It has been said that Hemingway’s work focused on themes of love, war, wilderness and loss. His first novel, The Sun Also Rises, tells the story of a group of American and British expats who traveled from Paris to Pamplona, Spain, to watch the running of the bulls. Although some critics gave it a lukewarm review, the New York Times wrote in 1926, the year of the book’s publication, “No amount of analysis can convey the quality of The Sun Also Rises. It is a truly gripping story, told in a lean, hard, athletic narrative prose that puts more literary English to shame.” The book has never been out of print.

'The Old Man & Sea,' Ernest Hemingway, First Club Edition, 1952. Estimate: $15-$30

‘The Old Man & Sea,’ Ernest Hemingway, First Club Edition, 1952. Estimate: $15-$30

The Old Man and the Sea, Hemingway’s tale of an aging Cuban fisherman’s struggle with a giant marlin off the coast of Florida, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1952. It was the last of Hemingway’s major works of fiction to be published in his lifetime.

Hemingway cultivated a life of adventure, immersing himself in the atmosphere of numerous exotic ports of call, including Africa and the Caribbean islands. During the 1920s, he took up residence in Paris, a place where his American dollars would go a long way and, more importantly, where he would encounter “interesting people” – artists like Picasso, Miro and Gris; and writers such as James Joyce and Gertrude Stein, who became his mentor. Hemingway later maintained permanent homes in Cuba (1930s) and Key West (1940s/’50s). In 1959, he acquired a property in Ketchum, Idaho. It was there that Hemingway died in 1961 of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

'A Portrait of Mister Papa,' by author Malcolm Cowley for Life Magazine, January 10, 1949. Estimate: $15-$30

‘A Portrait of Mister Papa,’ by author Malcolm Cowley for Life Magazine, January 10, 1949. Estimate: $15-$30

Although much has been written about his remarkable life and peerless body of work, here are five things you may not have known about the writer known affectionately as “Papa Hemingway.”

  1. He was a volunteer ambulance driver for the Allied Powers in Italy during World War I.
  2. In 1918 he received the Italian Silver Medal of Bravery for assisting Italian soldiers to safety, even though he had just been seriously wounded by mortar fire while trying to get cigarettes and candy to troops on the front lines.
  3. Hemingway kept dozens of cats at his Cuban property, but it was a white, six-toed cat he received from a ship’s captain that began the many generations of similar six- and seven-toed cats at Hemingway House in Key West. Descendants of the original cats continue to live on the premises.
  4. Hemingway was almost killed in two successive airplane crashes while on safari in Africa in 1952.
  5. There’s a life-size bronze statue of Hemingway inside El Floridita bar in Havana, with a framed photo of the author with Fidel Castro on the wall behind it.

Whether you’re a veteran collector of Hemingway, or just getting started, be sure to bid in this curated Hemingway Book Auction.