Skinner's New Director of Books & Manuscripts Brings Decades of Experience Across Print Media

John Dorfman, the Director of Skinner’s Books & Manuscripts Department, is a lifelong collector with vast experience covering the world of antiquarian auctions.

John Dorfman,
Skinner Director of Fine
Books & Manuscripts

MARLBOROUGH, MA | April 25, 2022 — Skinner Auctioneers is pleased to announce John Dorfman as the company’s director of Books & Manuscripts. In his capacity with the auction house, Dorfman will oversee the research, acquisition and sale of rare books, historical documents, autographs, and ephemera.

A lover of literature and a lifelong aficionado of the printed page, Dorfman arrives at Skinner from the field of arts journalism. Having spent the past sixteen years as Editor-in-Chief and Senior Editor of the national magazine Art & Antiques, Dorfman has considerable experience with the auction world’s priorities and proclivities through his extensive coverage of notable sales. His work as an journalist stretches back nearly three decades, and includes staff positions at Art + Auction, The Forward and The New Yorker. He has also contributed articles and reviews to a broad range of publications, including Archaeology, Columbia Journalism Review, Discover, Lingua Franca, The New York Times and The Washington Post.

“John’s catholic tastes and love of the written word position him to skillfully vet and auction the myriad books and manuscripts we encounter daily at Skinner. I anticipate an exciting 2022 auction season under John’s leadership,” said Karen Keane, CEO of Skinner.

Having received his undergraduate degree in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton in 1988, Dorfman later attended Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, in the Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations department. Following a personal interest that had stayed with him since childhood, he became professionally involved with several antiquarian collectors and booksellers in the Boston area during this time, assisting the owners with cataloging, customer relations, scouting and buying, often from Skinner. His long experience in the field of books and manuscripts, combined with his time deeply immersed in the market places him in an ideal position as department director.

“This job is every rare book lover’s dream. I am thrilled to come on board with Skinner and to have the opportunity to work with such a wide variety of written and printed materials, ensuring that they are enjoyed for generations to come. Participating in this experience will be an adventure in learning,” says Dorfman, who noted that he looks forward to the hands-on work and careful research required in engaging with collectible objects. His arrival comes shortly before an upcoming Books & Manuscripts auction in August, a highlight of which is anticipated to be an exceptional version of J.J. Audubon’s Birds of America, 1st Octavo edition, in its complete 7-volume set (estimate: $20,000-30,000).

Now back in the Boston area, Dorfman anticipates a long and productive tenure with the auction house. Particularly interested in finding new sources for consignment, Dorfman also hopes to expand upon the company’s customer base, bringing greater attention to the remarkable and wide-ranging items of quality for which Skinner is already known. With a keen eye for binding, typesetting and the other material details which make up the art of the book, Dorfman anticipates a bright future of rare and remarkable finds.

Skinner is currently accepting consignments for the upcoming auctions. Please contact the department at or visit our website to learn more.

About Skinner
Skinner attracts top consignments and commands record-breaking prices in the international auction marketplace. In March 2022, Skinner was acquired by the global auction house Bonhams, simultaneously bringing Skinner to the world’s stage and providing Bonhams with greater access to the North American market. With renowned expertise and extraordinary service, Skinner is the place for buyers, sellers and the passionately curious. Skinner appraisers are familiar faces on PBS’s 19-time Emmy Award-nominated ANTIQUES ROADSHOW. Visit us in Boston, Marlborough, New York, Maine, Florida, or online at

One thought on “Skinner’s New Director of Books & Manuscripts Brings Decades of Experience Across Print Media

  1. Dear Mr. Dorfman,

    We are currently clearing out a house to be sold. We have over 100 books that date back to the 1800’s as well as new art books. We have letters written from Civil War solders as well as solders from WWII. We have been trying to get someone to look at these collections and have been told to send pictures of the items for appraisal. This has been very disappointing as we have done so several times and have had no reply other than some interest in two Lous Vuitton trunks. There is an extensive art collection as well as silver and furniture. Would you please get back to us regarding any interest in coming to the house to appraise the books. If you could have any other experts on the before mentioned items that would be very much appreciated.

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