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Swann Galleries

26th Vermont Book, Postcard, & Epherma Show

Florida Antiquarian Book Fair

Always something to discover at Quill & Brush

Leslie Hindman Auctineers


Booksellers’ Gulch

R & A Petrilla

Austin’s Antiquarian Books

Christian Science Monitor

The Economist

Swann Galleries

26th Vermont Book, Postcard, & Epherma Show

Florida Antiquarian Book Fair


Addison & Sarova, the Rare Book Auctioneers


Cooperstown Antiquarian Book Fair

J & J Lubrano Music Antiquarians

PBA Galleries

69th Michigan Antiquarian Book & Paper Show

Freeman’s Auctions

Hobart Book Village

Jekyll Island Club Hotel

Cooperstown Antiquarian Book Fair

PBA Galleries


J & J Lubrano Music Antiquarians

69th Michigan Antiquarian Book & Paper Show


Addison & Sarova, the Rare Book Auctioneers

Book Fair Calendar

Albuquerque Antiquarian Book Fair.  Albuquerque, NM.   March 15–16, 2019.

Ephemera 39.  Old Greenwich, CT.   March 16–17, 2019.

Sacramento Antiquarian Book Fair.  Sacramento, CA.   March 23, 2019.

Addison & Sarova.  Macon, GA.   March 30, 2019.     (more information)

Gadsden’s Wychwood Book & Paper Show.  Toronto, ON (Canada).   March 31, 2019.

Vermont Spring Antiquarian Book Fair.  Burlington, VT.   March 31, 2019.     (more information)

Virginia Antiquarian Book Fair.  Richmond, VA.   April 5–7, 2019.

Papertown.  Boxborough, MA.   April 6, 2019.

Bloomsbury Book Fair.  London, England.   April 14, 2019.

Florida Antiquarian Book Fair.  St. Petersburg, FL.   April 26–28, 2019.     (more information)

Allentown Book & Paper Show.  Allentown, PA.   April 27–28, 2019.

Michigan Antiquarian Book & Paper Show.  Lansing, MI.   April 28, 2019.     (more information)

Westfield Book & Paper Show.  Westfield, NY.   May 4, 2019.

Peterborough Book Fair.  Peterborough, NH.   May 12, 2019.

Bloomsbury Book Fair.  London, England.   May 19, 2019.

Northern New England Book & Paper Fair.  Concord, NH.   June 2, 2019.

ABA Rare Book Fair.  London, England.   June 7–9, 2019.

Bloomsbury Book Fair.  London, England.   June 9, 2019.

Rose City Book & Paper Fair.  Portland, OR.   June 14–15, 2019.

Cooperstown Antiquarian Book Fair.  Cooperstown, NY.   June 29, 2019.     (more information)

Bloomsbury Book Fair.  London, England.   July 14, 2019.

Bloomsbury Book Fair.  London, England.   August 11, 2019.

PulpFest.  Mars PA.   August 15–18, 2019.

Brooklyn Antiquarian Book Fair.  Brooklyn, NY.   September 7–8, 2019.

Bloomsbury Book Fair.  London, England.   September 8, 2019.

Frankfort Antiquarian Book Fair.  Frankfort, Germany.   October 11–15, 2019.

Bloomsbury Book Fair.  London, England.   October 13, 2019.

Rochester Antiquarian Book Fair.  Rochester, NY.   October 19, 2019.

Chelsea Antiquarian Book Fair.  London, England.   November 3–4, 2019.

Bloomsbury Book Fair.  London, England.   November 10, 2019.

Bloomsbury Book Fair.  London, England.   December 8, 2019.

San Francisco Antiquarian Book, Print & Paper Fair.  San Francisco, CA.   January 31–February 1, 2020.

Book Auction Calendar

Leslie Hindman.  Chicago, IL.   March 15, 2019.     (more information)

Heritage Auctions.  Dallas, TX.   March 16, 2019.

Addison & Sarova.  Macon, GA.   March 18, 2019.     (more information)

PBA Galleries.  San Francisco, CA.   March 21, 2019.     (more information)

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   March 21, 2019.     (more information)

Leslie Hindman.  Chicago, IL.   March 22, 2019.     (more information)

Sotheby’s.  London, England.   March 26, 2019.

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   March 28, 2019.     (more information)

Heritage Auctions.  Dallas, TX.   March 30–31, 2019.

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   April 4, 2019.     (more information)

Freeman’s.  Philadelphia, PA.   April 10, 2019.     (more information)

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   April 16, 2019.     (more information)

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   April 18, 2019.     (more information)

PBA Galleries.  San Francisco, CA.   April 18, 2019.     (more information)

Leslie Hindman.  Chicago, IL.   May 1, 2019.     (more information)

PBA Galleries.  San Francisco, CA.   May 2, 2019.     (more information)

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   May 2, 2019.     (more information)

Heritage Auctions.  Dallas, TX.   May 9–10, 2019.

Heritage Auctions.  Dallas, TX.   May 14, 2019.

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   May 14, 2019.     (more information)

PBA Galleries.  San Francisco, CA.   May 16, 2019.     (more information)

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   May 16, 2019.     (more information)

Heritage Auctions.  Dallas, TX.   May 18–20, 2019.

Leslie Hindman.  Chicago, IL.   May 23, 2019.     (more information)

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   May 23, 2019.     (more information)

PBA Galleries.  San Francisco, CA.   May 23, 2019.     (more information)

PBA Galleries.  San Francisco, CA.   May 30, 2019.     (more information)

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   June 4, 2019.     (more information)

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   June 6, 2019.     (more information)

PBA Galleries.  San Francisco, CA.   June 13, 2019.     (more information)

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   June 13, 2019.     (more information)

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   June 20, 2019.     (more information)

PBA Galleries.  San Francisco, CA.   June 27, 2019.     (more information)

PBA Galleries.  San Francisco, CA.   July 11, 2019.     (more information)

PBA Galleries.  San Francisco, CA.   July 25, 2019.     (more information)

Swann Galleries.  New York, NY.   August 7, 2019.     (more information)

PBA Galleries.  San Francisco, CA.   August 8, 2019.     (more information)

PBA Galleries.  San Francisco, CA.   August 22, 2019.     (more information)

PBA Galleries.  San Francisco, CA.   August 29, 2019.     (more information)

PBA Galleries.  San Francisco, CA.   September 5, 2019.     (more information)

PBA Galleries.  San Francisco, CA.   September 19, 2019.     (more information)

PBA Galleries.  San Francisco, CA.   September 26, 2019.     (more information)

by Donna Howard
Vermont Spring Antiquarian Book Fair

“Vermont is Book Country” is the adage for a committed group of booksellers who will come to Burlington the last day of March for the 2019 Spring Book and Ephemera Fair. The event, hosted by the Vermont Antiquarian Booksellers Association (VABA), is in its 27th year. This lively fair features sellers from all across the state who bring some of their most exciting inventory–such as old Vermont maps, colorful cartes de visites, and first editions–for show.

In an age of screens and internet sales, why a book fair? The VABA Spring Fair represents all that is propitious about books. One of the most compelling parts of a used, printed book is the other worlds it connects you to. Not only is there the internal setting or structure of a book, but there is also the history of its ůmore

Autograph Auction on March 21st

Swann Galleries’ March 21 sale of Autographs promises an assortment of hard-to-find items from world leaders, scientists, innovators and other notable figures.             
An extraordinary run of material by Diana, Princess of Wales, includes a group of six autograph letters signed to her friend, the editor of British Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, Elizabeth Tilberis. The group comes from the late 80s and early 90s and discuss a number of topics including Diana’s cover of the December 1991 issue of British Vogue, as well as Tilberis’s move to Harper’s Bazaar and the United States (est. $5,000-7,000). Additional cards signed and inscribed by the late royal include a selection of Christmas cards featuring photographs of the family, estimated at $700 to $1,000 apiece. Also of note is a photograph signed by Queen Elizabeth II and Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, from 1976, and an 1884 ALS from Queen Victoria to Alfred, Lord Tennyson expressing her sorrows over the death of her son, Leopold (est. $1,000-2,000 and $3,000-4,000, respectively).  

The sale is led by a 1776 ALS from Joseph Brant, Thayeadanegea, the leader of the Mohawk people and military, and British Loyalist. At the time of the American Revolution both the Colonies and British military were vying for Native American support: in his letter Brant explains that he had been in England meeting with King George III recounting the events that had taken place in America. The letter is expected to bring $20,000 to $30,000. Additional Americana highlights include a letter signed from 1793 by Alexander Hamilton as Secretary of the Treasury to the President and Directors of the Bank of the U.S. expressing that they will receive an appropriation for giving advances to the U.S. Mint, and a 1783 autograph document by Elbridge Gerry, from which the term “gerrymander” is derived, discussing the landscape of Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey for placement of the Capital (est. $4,000-6,000 and $3,500-5,000, respectively).  
George Washington leads the selection of presidential signatures with a signed ticket for the Mountain Road Lottery from 1768 at $5,000 to $7,500. Theodore Roosevelt is present with a number of typed letters signed: one from November 1912 expressing his hopes for the future of the Bull Moose Party shortly after being shot while giving a speech, and a group of five to his sister, Corinne Roosevelt Robinson, in one of which he expresses that he “…cannot give a position to anyone simply because he is a friend,” ($1,200-2,500 and $3,000-4,000, respectively). A partly-printed document signed by Abraham Lincoln appointing John T. Hogeboom as Appraiser of Merchandise in April of 1864 rounds out the assortment and estimated at ůmore

Hobart Book Village Profiled on CGTV

The Hobart Book Village located in the northern Catskills, if not the only, is by far the most prominent book village in the United States. Don Dales, a visionary local property owner from Hobart, a once a sleepy village with mostly empty stores, teamed up with William Adams (a retired physician) and his wife Diana (a retired attorney) to reinvent the town along bookish lines, and then set about trying to recruit other booksellers to join them in the project. Both Dales and the Adams would certainly be the first to admit that their inspiration was based on the pioneering efforts of Richard Booth who turned Hay-on-Wye, a small town in Wales, into the world famous destination it is today. Other rural villages have tried to emulate that model, but except for Wigtown in Scotland, and Hobart, few have had lasting success. About a year or so ago, after being the subject of an article in the Guardian, Hobart's story was picked by the NBC morning television program Today, where it can still be viewed.

The Adams, who now trade under the name Wm.H. Adams, Antiquarian Books, previously worked in Manhattan and traveled to Hobart during vacations, weekends and at every opportunity. During that period they bought a property and decided to make Hobart their second home and base of their antiquarian book business.

CGTV (China Global Television Network) is one of several international television services we receive off the air (no cable or satellite required) from WCNY, our nearby PBS station. Very recently CGTV aired a special report on the Hobart Book Village and conducted interviews with the Adams, Dales, other local booksellers, and the owner of the Bull & Garland Pub. If you didn't see the story when originally broadcast, you can watch it by clicking here or on the above image of the creek that meanders through the village. ůmore

by Wilfrid de Freitas
Canada's Smallest Book Fair

A colleague asked me recently why we (my wife Susan and I) always promote the Westmount Book Fair as Canada’s Smallest Book Fair: “Well,” I said “you’ve remembered it and here we are, twenty-seven years later, still talking about it; surely that’s a good enough reason."  (I was tempted to say it speaks volumes, but decided he might just roll his eyes at such an obvious pun.)  Anyway, we long ago decided that since most book fair organizers want their event to be the biggest and best, knowing that we’d probably attract local exhibitors only, we’d aim for the lower end of the size-spectrum so that people wouldn’t attend with unrealistic hopes.  That said, when exhibitors turned up with good material, priced from as little as $10 to the hundreds and thousands, attendees were pleasantly surprised and readily opened their wallets.  Size-wise, in pre-internet days we got up to as high as twenty-two exhibitors and were in serious danger of our status as Canada’s Smallest Book Fair, being challenged by upstarts in Winnipeg and Vancouver (just kidding, just kidding!) 

Nowadays we’re averaging around fourteen or fifteen dealers, mostly from the Montreal region, but also some stalwart supporters from Ontario who’ve been with us since the beginning. We’ve had to change our venue a few times but we’ve now settled in at the Centre Greene, a local community centre right in the heart of Westmount and within easy reach of downtown Montreal.  At the risk of repeating the obvious, the advantages of a book fair are two-fold: firstly, with the closure of secondhand bookshops in almost every city in Canada, it offers ůmore

38th Florida Antiquarian Book Fair

More than 100  booksellers from across the United States will be exhibiting at the 38th annual Florida Antiquarian Book Fair at The Coliseum in downtown St. Petersburg April 26-28, 2019. The Florida Antiquarian Book Fair is the oldest and largest antiquarian book fair in the Southeast, and third largest in the country.

Bibliophiles will discover a variety of antiquarian and collectible books on every imaginable subject, plus historic maps, antique prints, vintage photography, ephemera, autographs, and other paper collectibles.

Booksellers will offer wide selections, including modern signed first editions, fine bindings, rare books from the earliest days of printing as well as inexpensive reading copies.  Subjects include Americana, classical literature, art books, religion, cooking, poetry, children’s literature, illustrated books, military history, regional histories, world history, and more. Some dealers will be featuring Florida history and literature. A complete listing of exhibitors and their specialties is available at the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair website,

Opening night (Friday, April 26) is traditionally a festive occasion with live music and fairgoers eager to get in on the early buying, and ůmore

Biblio Official Partner of ABA's Summer Rare Book Fair

Biblio (Asheville, NC) is the new official partner of the ABA's annual Rare Book Fair that takes place in early June of each year and Shakespeare's Globe Theatre is the 2019 Charity Partner.

Firsts London, the ABA’s annual flagship event and one of the most prestigious rare books fairs in the world, will open its doors to visitors from June 7-9 in Battersea Park.  More than 150 exhibitors from around the world (sole traders and larger companies) will exhibit rare, unique and unusual works for visitors with wide ranging cultural interests and a passion for the printed word, art, books maps and related ephemera, including everything from museum-quality medieval manuscripts to modern signed first editions.
“In the year which sees Shakespeare’s Globe celebrate the centenary of the birth of pioneering and acclaimed actor Sam Wanamaker whose passion led to the rebuilding of the iconic theatre and the 400th anniversary of ůmore

by John Huckans
Springtime for Snowflakes (A Review)

Michael Rechtenwald is an academic who after setting sail on an academic career as professor of liberal studies at a well-known eastern university, gradually learned he had signed up to crew on what some people might call a ship of fools.  Springtime for Snowflakes: Social Justice and Its Postmodern Parentage  [London & Nashville: New English Review Press, 2018] is an unusual blend of a memoir of his formative years growing up in a working class home in Pittsburgh; the undergraduate gap-period interlude at the Naropa Institute where he served as an apprentice and teaching assistant to Allen Ginsburg who ran Naropa and the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics in a store-front location on Pearl St. in Boulder, Colorado during the 1970s; his post-graduate studies at Case Western Reserve and Carnegie Mellon universities; unusual experiences as a professor at NYU; and an appendix comprised of a mix of initially anonymous social media postings that got him into hot water with many of his colleagues.

Rechtenwald's father was an independent contractor who ran his remodeling business from the family home on Waldorf Street on Pittsburgh's north side.  When it came time for high school his father tried to enroll Michael in the exclusive Shadyside Academy, considered the city's best prep school at the time, and the headmaster's discouraging response “... although I believe your son would do well here academically, I'm afraid that he wouldn't fit in... socially...” probably influenced his later decision to pursue Marxist critical theory.  At any rate he ůmore

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

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 few copies I gave away, 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.  ůmore

News & Notes

Ann Arbor Antiquarian Book Fair

The Ann Arbor Antiquarian Book Fair which began in 1976 and is one of if not the oldest book fair in the Midwest will be taking a year off in 2019. The Michigan Student Union which has been home to the fair for over 40 years is closed until the end of this year due to a major renovation project. While the character of the Union will hopefully be unchanged there were some much needed mechanical upgrades that will be addressed.

Since its inception the Ann Arbor Antiquarian Book Fair has attracted dealers from across the country and has drawn book collectors from throughout the Midwest. The first fair in 1976 had only twelve dealers but has now grown to nearly 40 dealers and has a waiting list.

The date for the revived Ann Arbor Antiquarian Book Fair is Sunday, May 17th, 2020. For further information contact Jay Platt at the West Side Book Shop 734-995-1891 or

Notes on House Museums  from Danna D'Esopo Jackson

House museums seem to be in retreat, as they are overtaken and absorbed into larger, glitzier operations.  A recent casualty of this trend is the Thornton W. Burgess Museum in Sandwich, Mass., which has been merged into a nature conservancy group and a fund-raising "jam kitchen".  Lost in these activities is Burgess's anthropomorphized animal stories that were anthologized and syndicated on "childrens pages", i.e., the comics pages, in newspapers.

Among the most successful childrens authors and illustrators is Tasha Tudor, who molded a public persona around the 19th century agrarian culture described in her books.  She adopted the life style she wrote about, wearing period clothes and doing farm chores, and her home, Corgi Cottage, in Marlboro, Vt. is a house museum, surrounded by her lush gardens.

On the upper end of the economic scale, is Edith Wharton's ůmore

Helping a Friend
(Letter from John Townsend)

Note: The following letter from John Townsend was just received and speaks for itself.  Many of us have known the Austins for decades, and are witnesses to many instances and occasions when Garry has been among the first to help out when difficult situations arise. I don't believe he could ever imagine being in the position he's in right now.  As follows:

This is an appeal for financial help.
As many of you know, our colleague Garry Austin of Wilmington, Vermont suffered a subdural hematoma last September.  It was not a stroke, but it did cause major brain damage. For two weeks, Garry lay unconscious at Albany Medical Center in New York. After six weeks he was transferred to Southern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington where he remains. 
Garry cannot yet walk or speak more than a few words.  Nor can he read or write.  Medicare stopped coverage because of his failure to respond to therapy.  Several caring nurses try to help him get up and sit in a chair, and his wife, Karen, has been trying to assume the role of speech therapist.
Garry has Myelodysplastic Syndrome, or MDS, which is a form of blood cancer due to a failure of the bone marrow to produce healthy cells. The MDS he has is considered “high risk” to progress to leukemia. He is also at high risk for bleeding and infection. (The bleeding is what caused his subdural hematoma.)  He needs a heart bypass and his hips have both failed. No formal prognosis has been given to Karen as yet.
Karen has been at his side constantly. She continues to manage the business as well as she can, all while ůmore

Currier & Ives Print with Ties to Thomas W. Streeter Sets Record at Swann

Swann Galleries closed out their fall season with a marathon sale of Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books on Thursday, December 13. The auction saw a sell-through rate of 89%, five records, and steady interest across various categories.

The runaway top lot of the sale was Across the Continent, 1868, a Currier & Ives print depicting the changing landscape of the mid nineteenth-century American frontier upon the completion of the Transcontinental Railroads. Significant for its subject matter and memorable provenance, the work came across the block, by descent, from the noteworthy collection of Thomas Winthrop Streeter who was given the lithograph on his 80th birthday by his children. Across the Continent reached $62,500 – a record for the print.
Maps and atlases represented a generous portion of the sale with several lots taking top spots and setting records. Maps included Samuel de Champlain’s scarce 1664 record of his later discoveries in Canada with $22,500, and John Overton’s New and Most Exact Map of America from 1671 with $11,875. Additional cartographic material featured a chart of the middle Atlantic Coast including New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina by Joseph Frederick Wallet Des Barres ($13,750); Joan Vingboons’ Caarte van Westindien, circa 1700, a large engraved chart of Florida, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean ($10,625); and a 1676 New and Accurate Map of the World by John Speed ůmore

Old Editions Bookshop and Gallery Opens at New Location

Lumber City Development Corporation recently held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Old Editions Bookshop and Gallery, which after many years in its historic building in downtown Buffalo, has moved to its new location at 954 Oliver St., in the City of North Tonawanda. Old Editions Bookshop and Gallery sells used and rare books, prints, artwork, first editions, signed books, historical documents, collectible magazines and other memorabilia. Owner Ronald Cozzi has a vast collection of more than 300,000 items that have been acquired over the years.

Old Editions Book Shop and Gallery has grown from a small second-hand bookstore, started by Ronald Cozzi in 1976, into a retail operation that has accumulated over several hundred thousand books and magazines. Cozzi opened his first bookstore on Hertel Avenue in 1976. After moving several times within the city of Buffalo to accommodate his growing stock, Cozzi purchased a four-story, 38,000 square foot building on East Huron Street, where the business has been located since 1995.  For several years, Ron Cozzi and his wife had been searching for a single-story facility that would be large enough to house their business.

In April 2017, Cozzi purchased the former Platter's Chocolates building located at 954 Oliver St. This 17,000 square foot, single story building will provide Old Editions adequate space to focus on retail and online sales. Even though Cozzi hopes to expand his online sales operation, a substantial retail component will still be part of the operation on Oliver Street. The Old Editions Book Shop & Gallery offers something in every price range, from very inexpensive used books to rare collectible books and memorabilia.

Over the next four months, Old Editions will be transferring the remaining books, art work, and shelving from its former location in Buffalo, and will be fully moved by ůmore

Doings at the Morgan

Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth is the title of an upcoming Tolkien exhibition that will be running at the Morgan Library and Museum from January 25 through May 12, 2019

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.” With these words the Oxford professor J.R.R. Tolkien ignited a fervid spark in generations of readers. From the children’s classic The Hobbit to the epic The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien’s adventurous tales of hobbits and elves, dwarves and wizards have introduced millions to the rich history of Middle-earth. Going beyond literature, Tolkien’s Middle-earth is a world complete with its own languages and histories.

Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth celebrates the man and his creation. The exhibition will be the most extensive public display of original Tolkien material for several generations. Drawn from the collections of the Tolkien Archive at the Bodleian Library (Oxford), Marquette University Libraries (Milwaukee), the Morgan, and ůmore

by Danna D'Esopo Jackson
The Diary of a Bookseller (a review)

Like many dealers in the secondhand book trade, Shaun Bythell never set out to be a bookman and was a late arrival on the book scene.  He has, however, made up for lost time with his charming autobiography, The Diary of a Bookseller, chronicling his first year in The Bookshop in Wigtown, a remote book village in southwestern Scotland.

Don't look for a bibliographical discussion of edition points or a comparison of dust jackets here, for his emphasis is less on his books and more on his staff and the vivid assemblage of personalities who visit him and his cat, Captain, in the shop.  Among Bythell's sidelines are his video service and the Random Book Club, in which members pay an annual fee for a monthly book that he selects.  He filmed one of the dispersals to the Random members and most, as they opened their paper bags and pulled out their books, were ůmore

by Thomas Fleming (Society of American Historians)
A Jersey Lesson in Voter Fraud
(reprinted with permission)

Some youthful memories were stirred by the news this week that the president plans to use his State of the Union speech next Tuesday to urge Congress to make voter registration and ballot-casting easier. Like Mr. Obama, I come from a city with a colorful history of political corruption and vote fraud.

The president's town is Chicago, mine is Jersey City. Both were solidly Democratic in the 1930s and '40s, and their mayors were close friends. At one point in the early '30s, Jersey City's Frank Hague called Chicago's Ed Kelly to say he needed $2 million as soon as possible to survive a coming election. According to my father – one of Boss Hague's right-hand men – a dapper fellow who had taken an overnight train arrived at Jersey City's City Hall the next morning, suitcase in hand, cash inside.

Those were the days when it was glorious to be a Democrat.  As a historian, I give talks from time to time. In a recent one, called “Us Against Them,” I said it was we Irish and our Italian, Polish and other ethnic allies against “the dirty rotten stinking WASP Republicans of New Jersey.” By thus demeaning the opposition, we had clear consciences as we rolled up killer majorities using tactics that had little to do with the election laws.

My grandmother Mary Dolan died in 1940. But she voted Democratic for the next 10 years. An election bureau official came to our door one time and asked if Mrs. Dolan was still living in our house. “She's upstairs taking a nap,” I replied. ůmore

Signed & Inscribed Oscar Wilde Play Leads Literature Auction
(SciFi Works Continue Proving to be Popular in Swann Literature Sales)

Book collectors from everywhere took part in Swann Galleries’ auction of 19th & 20th Century Literature on Tuesday, November 13, 2018. The sale saw demand for genre works and classics alike with an 88% sell-through rate. Specialist John D. Larson noted that “the strong prices achieved across the spectrum of the sale was impressive, with canonical titles by Poe, Hemingway and Wilde leading the way. In addition, the more recent material, particularly the sc-fi variety, went from strength-to-strength with auction records set by Asimov, Philip K. Dick and Heinlein, proving once again the sky is no limit.”  

Topping the sale was a first edition of Oscar Wilde’s Lady Windermere’s Fan. A Play About a Good Woman, 1893. The presentation copy signed and inscribed by Wilde to Elisabeth Marbury–a leading play agent in New York who handled all of the author’s plays in America–was sold for $27,500 to a collector after breakneck bidding. A first edition of Ernest Hemingway’s first book Three Stories & Ten Poems, 1923, from the collection of cartoonist Al Hirschfeld, saw success with a price of ůmore

Americana Continues to Outperform at Swann

Swann Auction Galleries’ September 27 auction of Printed & Manuscript Americana was the highest-earning Americana auction at the house in the last six years, bringing $1.2 million with 85% of lots selling. The day opened with a bustling auction room and active bidding during the morning session of The Harold Holzer Collection of Lincolniana was followed by an equally successful afternoon session.
Top lots from the Holzer collection included a portrait of the beardless Lincoln, by John C. Wolfe, which brought in $40,000; a fourth edition of the famous “Wigwam Print,” the first stand-alone print of Lincoln, which sold for $21,250; and a commission of William O. Stoddard as secretary to the president signed by Lincoln, 1861, which brought a record $18,750 for a printed commission signed by the president.
The Lincolniana portion of the sale set several additional records, including one for any printing of the 16th president’s famous 1860 Cooper Union address at $5,000. Winfred Porter Truesdell’s important reference work, Engraved and Lithographed Portraits of Abraham Lincoln, 1933, brought $4,000; an Andrew Johnson impeachment trial ticket sold for $2,125; and Victor D. Brenner’s 1907 plaque, which served as the model for the Lincoln penny, fetched $4,500.
The sale did not slow down during the afternoon session: the top lot of the auction was Francis W. de Winton’s diary, containing notes on pow-wows with Indians during an official tour of western Canada, which sold for ůmore

Swann's Summer Vintage Poster Auction

Swann's mammoth auction of Vintage Posters on August 1 set at least six auction records, including a new high price for Sutro Baths. The text-free variant of the 1896 poster, promoting a former San Francisco landmark, brought $23,400. The exhibition for Swann Galleries’ annual summer auction overflowed the usual space, taking both exhibition floors at the house’s Flatiron district premises.
Alphonse Mucha’s Times of the Day was the top lot of the auction, selling to an institution for $40,000. Other Mucha works received significant attention from collectors: Bières de la Meuse, 1897, sold for $17,500 over an $8-12,000 presale estimate, and Salon des Cent, 1896, brought $10,000. The sale set a record price for Peter Behren’s Der Kuss, 1898, a color woodcut published by Pan magazine, at $5,000. Other Art Nouveau highlights included Marcello Dudovich’s 1908 design for the Italian department store Mele ($6,500).
The auction offered an unusually broad selection of food and drink posters, ůmore

Results of PBA's July 19th Fine Pens Sale

PBA Galleries seized leadership of the Fine Writing Instruments auction market in its successful debut Fine Pens sale on July 19th in San Francisco. The 361 lot auction attracted participants from all over the globe, and over 90% of the lots sold went above their low estimates.

Montblanc Artisan Edition pens performed particularly well in the sale. A Montblanc Leonardo da Vinci 18K gold skeleton fountain pen soared past its $14,000-18,000 estimate to achieve $48,000, while a Genghis Khan 18K gold fountain pen brought $45,000 with an estimate of $14,000-18,000.  A Montblanc Charlie Chaplin 18K gold skeleton fountain pen also reached $45,000 with an estimate of $20,000-25,000, and a Wassily Kandinsky "Masters of Abstract Art" 18K gold skeleton fountain pen fetched $24,000. Strong Montblanc results extended to Writers Series and Patron of Art series pens as well, with a Peter I the Great and Catherine II the Great matching-numbered pair of Patron of Art pens achieving $10,200, an Alexander the Great Patron pen reaching $4500, and a Marcel Proust Writers Series pen selling for $2160.

Vintage Montblanc rarities also found favor in the sale, with 43 of 44 vintage lots sold, many of them well above the estimate range. A Montblanc No. 12 "Goliath" reached $9000, while a Montblanc Architect's pen sold for $6000 and a No. 128 Platinum-Lined celluloid pen fetched $2700.

Other brands achieved impressive results as well, with a Montegrappa White Nights 18K gold fountain pen selling for $6600, an OMAS Gentleman Seaman 18K gold pen selling for $5400 and an OMAS Aleksandr Pushkin 18K gold pen reaching $4800.  Vintage results include a Parker No. 47 eyedropper pen (known to collectors as the "Pregnant Parker"), circa 1925, which sold for $5400; a rare Pilot-Namiki red lacquer maki-e pen by Shogo, circa 1925, which reached an impressive ůmore

by John Huckans
The Red Scare Continues...

Collusion. ME [a.F., ad L.]  1. Secret agreement or understanding for purpose of trickery or fraud; underhand scheming or working with another; deceit, fraud, trickery… [Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on Historical Principles.  Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1955]. 

So it wasn't Sheldon Cooper after all. Twelve Russians (not Marcel Lazăr Lehel) have been charged with meddling in the campaign leading up to the 2016 election by hacking into servers and publishing e-mails that, among other things, showed close cooperation between DNC officials and many of the print and television news reporters that the public used to rely on for accurate and unbiased news.  Nowadays, not so much.

I suppose this could be considered serious outside interference or collusion. Does the public really need to know or does the public have the right to know about Donna Brazile's (then CNN & ABC contributor and vice chair of the DNC) e-mails of March 5, 2016 in which she supplied questions to the campaign in advance of the CNN primary debate or her e-mail of March 12, 2016 in which she says, in part, “from time to time I get the questions in advance...” and then goes on to pass along the text of a question that will be asked at the CNN town hall with Clinton and Bernie Sanders?  Thanks to Wikileaks, now we know. ůmore

Results of Revolutionary War & Presidential Americana Auction

On June 21 the auction of Revolutionary & Presidential Americana from the Collection of William Wheeler III at Swann Galleries saw a 91% sell-through rate for important autographs, letters and documents from some of the biggest players in American history. Wheeler, a manufacturing consultant from a long line of New Englanders, devoted much of his adult life to acquiring illuminating pieces of Americana from the Revolutionary War and nearly every president. Wheeler harbored a special fascination with the life of Andrew Jackson, which led to a run of 34 significant letters and documents signed by the president, 88% of which found buyers. Highlights included a retained copy of a letter to be published by editor Thomas Eastin, providing his own account of the altercations that would lead to his killing Charles Dickinson in a duel. One of two known complete drafts, it reached $7,000. An 1833 autograph letter signed as president to his adoptive son, Andrew Jackson, Jr., a request ůmore

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 (the early 14th century) beheading would have been considered euthanasia because drawing and quartering, a truly hideous form of capital punishment, involved being hanged, disemboweled (while still conscious) and cut into quarters. In Edward's case lethal injection was used: “... his screams as his bowels were burnt out by red-hot irons passed into his body were heard outside the prison walls...”¹ Beyond horrible by any stretch – I don't think a'Beckett would have covered it, but wonder what Hayley Geftman-Gold would have said.

By now most of you are aware of the uncharitable comments of the recently fired CBS executive who, in response to the recent Las Vegas mass murder, posted on Facebook “...I'm not even sympathetic bc [sic] country music fan often are ůmore

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