Skinner Inc.

Auctioneers and Appraisers

Author Archives: Devon Eastland

Auction Highlights | Single-owner Collection of Rare Books at Skinner

BOSTON, MA – July 30, 2019. The July 23, 2019 auction, A Mystic Collection, featured illuminated Medieval manuscripts, a strong group of rubricated incunabula in contemporary bindings, important high spots for Bible collectors, illustrated books, and unusual bindings. Even collectors of English books, 18th-century Italian views, classics, and heraldry had many exceptional offerings from which choose. Collectors, dealers, and institutions from around the world participated in the 230-lot sale, which hammered above the high estimate with a 98.3% sell-through rate.… Read More

Rare First Edition of Poe’s Tales Featured in the November Fine Books & Manuscripts Auction at Skinner

Boston, MA – November 2, 2018 – Skinner is pleased to announce the November 18 auction of Fine Books & Manuscripts to be held at the Skinner Boston Gallery at 11AM. Featuring 350 lots, this rare book auction offers fresh finds from several important New England estates including printed books, documents, natural history prints and maps.

 

An attic discovery of the rare 1845 first edition of Poe’s Tales (Lot 224, Estimate: $60,000-80,000) in paper wrappers will be offered, along with a first edition of The Book of Mormon (Lot 264, Estimate: $45,000-55,000), and Benjamin Lincoln’s Oath of Allegiance witnessed and signed by George Washington (Lot 53, Estimate: $20,000-30,000).… Read More

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

“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

Among the entries on the list of the World’s Most Expensive Books at Auction are copies of The Birds of America by John James Audubon, which sold for $11.5 million in 2010. 

There’s a good reason that the book commands such high prices. Audubon created a genre of illustration that didn’t exist before. He depicted his birds life-size,  exhibiting normal behaviors in their natural habitats. His abilities as an artist and high scientific standards are perfectly captured in his illustrations, and people of all ages and backgrounds are drawn to these lifelike images.Read More

3 Ways to Research Book Values Online

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! What if a small, simple looking book on the top shelf is worth $10,000?!… Read More

A Celebration of Text and Art

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

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.

The 43 letters were sent to Vassar College graduate, Alice Moore, the daughter of a Baptist minister in Poughkeepsie, between August 1937 and March 1939.… Read More

Hamilton in the House

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. For me, as the head of the book department at Skinner, this is perfect.

Although some connect to history effortlessly, many others feel only the distance, compounded by an obligation to memorize sterile dates that memorialize stale moments in the lives of old dead people.… Read More

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

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. But we do have a small clue, two little pieces of paper that bear witness to the kind of surreal scene that only occurs during wartime.

Read More

1 2