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Auctioneers and Appraisers

Author Archives: Devon Eastland

Selling Antique Books, Part II: Eight Ways to Determine Your Books’ Value

If there is one single thing that is a make or break for book value, it would be the dust jacket. The value of a first edition copy of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night with dust jacket is around $6,000. Without a dust jacket….$300. This huge difference in value is largely due to the fact that more than 90% of dust jackets are destroyed, either deliberately or due to their ephemeral and fragile nature. If you have one on a good book, treasure it. Also, be sure to protect it with a plastic sleeve.

Collecting Signed Historic and Literary Documents

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, autograph letter signed as President, concerning collective bargaining. Sold for $13,530

“Alexander Hamilton actually touched this!” Many of us have felt this childlike sense of excitement at museums, libraries, in the classroom, and in historic buildings where important events took place. When the impulse to collect grabs hold, the excitement increases exponentially.

The sense of awe we feel gazing through glass at a museum can be replaced by the intoxicating pride of ownership: Alexander Hamilton actually touched this, and now it’s mine!… Read More

Guide to Collecting John James Audubon Prints


Audubon, John James (1785-1851) Fish Hawk, Plate 81. [from] The Birds of America. London: R. Havell, 1827-1838. Sold for $43,050

Five of the entries on the list of the top ten most expensive books ever sold are copies of The Birds of America by John James Audubon. The double elephant folio sold for $10.3 million in 2010.   A giant in both price and volume – the complete work measures 39.5 inches by 28.5 inches and contains 435 plates.… Read More

3 Ways to Research Book Values Online

Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Signed Presentation Copy, first American edition, New York: Doubleday & McClure, 1899. Sold for $19,680

Have you ever found a cool vintage book at a thrift shop, or opened up an old frame to discover an ancient document? Perhaps someone in your family loved reading so much that they filled the entire house (and all of the closets) with books. Even a modest collection arranged on shelves in an unassuming den or living room can sometimes contain 1,000 or more books, and when downsizing one wonders where to begin!… Read More

A Celebration of Text and Art

Arabic Manuscript on Paper with Persian Commentary (Lot 1108, Estimate $2,000-3,000)

Papermaking, calligraphy, illumination, paper marbling, and gold-tooled goatskin bindings define fine bookmaking and are generally associated with western and continental books. However, mastery of these book arts was transmitted to Europe through the Middle East during the Middle Ages. Although the Chinese pioneered papermaking and printing with movable type, in Medieval times, all roads from China to continental Europe passed through the Middle East and North Africa.… Read More

Andrew Wyeth’s Unpublished Love Letters Offered at Skinner in May

Wyeth, Andrew (1917-2009) Archive of Forty-three Signed Autograph Letters and Notes, with Sketches (Lot 1106, Estimate: $80,000-120,000)

Writings Provide New Insights To Secretive Painter’s Work and Life

An extensive archive of letters previously unknown to scholars and collectors concerning one of the most secretive and celebrated American artists of the 20th century will be offered in Skinner’s May Fine Books & Manuscripts online auction.… Read More

Hamilton in the House

Washington, Martha (1731-1802) Autograph Letter Signed, Philadelphia, 18 October 1794 (Lot 25, Estimate: $15,000-20,000)

My daughter is 15 years old, and she is an ardent fan of musical theater. At our house, any possible topic of conversation could (should and will) relate directly to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. Sometimes it’s really a bit of a stretch, but she always comes through with a lyric that fits, and favors us with song.… Read More

Rare Notes From George and Martha Washington Found in Battle, Resurface Again 150 Years Later

Washington, George (1732-1799) Autograph Receipt Signed, Philadelphia, June 1787. (Lot 76, Estimate $4,000-$6,000)

Martin L. Stone was mustered into service with the Pennsylvania Volunteers in October of 1861. He was ultimately captured by Confederate forces at the Second Battle of Deep Bottom in mid-August 1864, and in the intervening years he undoubtedly witnessed profound human suffering. His memories, like those of so many veterans, are lost forever.

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Audubon’s Quadruped Folio Highlights His Message of Conservation

Armadillo from Audubon, John James (1785-1851) and Reverend John Bachman (1790-1874) The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America. (Lot 93, Estimate $200,000 – $300,000)

An independent Audubon Society has decided to de-accession one of the great masterpieces of 19th century natural history book illustration. The Society has a mission: to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity.… Read More

Adopt-a-Book 2015 with the American Antiquarian Society

Roberts III, John (1724-1778) Manuscript Memorandum and Account Books. Offered in the upcoming spring book auction: May 27- June 7, 2015

Massachusetts is home to a wealth of institutional rare book libraries and special collections, private and public. Collecting groups, college and town libraries, historical societies, and museums contain an astonishing depth of irreplaceable monuments to our collective social and intellectual history.… Read More

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