Books & Paper

Books & Paper include rare and first edition books, decorative bindings, important documents, manuscripts, letters, signed material, prints and maps from the 15th through the 20th century.



We’ve all heard the old adage “don’t judge a book by its cover.” When collecting old books, that’s only partially true. Of course, the cover of a book can be a great indicator as to what its value might be, but it’s not the whole story. What really makes books and other rare printed materials valuable is their intellectual content – the historical information and literary genius offered within their pages.

Printed materials have power. They communicate ideas, disseminate knowledge, and sway the course of public opinion and events. Books and documents are the physical embodiment of human thought, and that’s what intrigues and inspires many rare book collectors.

For the serious book collector, it is critical to work with an auction house that specializes in books – one that understands the complexities of rare printed material and how to assess these objects for salability in the worldwide market. Unlike generalist appraisers, book experts know the printing process, how editions are determined, dating methods for paper, and the all-important factor of condition for all manner of books and paper.

Skinner is one of the leading auctions houses in the world, known for its expertise in the sale of rare and first edition books, decorative bindings, important historical documents, early maps, manuscripts, letters, signed material, early prints, and Audubon illustrations. We’re eager to introduce new collectors to the genre and help educate them on connoisseurship, and Skinner is always available for consultation regarding major collections. It’s our personalized service, combined with our breadth and depth of knowledge in this unique collecting area that sets us apart.

If you’re someone who’s serious about books, partner with an auction house who’s also dedicated to excellence in this collecting area. Contact Skinner’s Rare Books & Manuscripts Department today to discuss buying or consignment needs for your book collection.


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