Rare Book Monthly

Articles - April - 2020 Issue

Sometimes the Mother of Invention is Necessity: Video Conferencing


Interaction and a record

The collectible paper field has been moving online for many years.  But never have there been reasons for auction and dealer catalogues to further reorganize and transform to conform to the law, common sense and decency as reality is being shaped by the Coronavirus disaster.


Auctions recently we have seen wholesale cancellations while others have been suspended.  A few weeks later many are posted, even to the point that April suggests it might be a strong month.  For reference, you can search the auctions for lots of interest through the search box at the top of this page.  Such auctions now posted are the outcome of traditional processes long prepared before the recent imbroglio.  The months ahead will better reflect the multitude of ways auctions will adjust.


Let’s consider how the auction business will be further transformed by the ongoing electronic revolution under the unusual requirements of helping and serving their teams and clients.


At the outset houses are considered for consignments.  Many will employ Zoom or similar services to facilitate electronic interaction via the Internet which is ideal when safety, health and working from a distance are appropriate while creating a permanent record.  Such interactions can be scheduled or requested by email or phone.


For a house they can open a call or an electronic session using the audio and visual capabilities that many up-to-date computers provide.  For the prospect or consignor they will also need a reasonably large screen and a reasonably up-to-date operating system.  Both are important to view and react.  When the house initiates the conference or conversation, the consignor is offered a link to join.  Together an item or items can be discussed and seen by staff working from home or away while the entire session is copied for further reference.


Subsequently a house may make an offer with an exchange of terms.  An agreement signed by both parties can be exchanged electronically, after which the house may select the packer and carrier with an inventory control form shared with consignor and house.


Upon receipt of the material, the house will compare the inventory form and verify to consignor their receipt.  Such steps seem rudimentary but essential as items can be misplaced or misidentified.


At the next stage each item will be collated, cataloged and graded by condition.  A rough description will be built, explaining significance and importance as well as appropriateness to inclusion in various categories of collections.  Once sequenced by control number, author name in alphabetical order, by date or place published, the house may place specific material in a scheduled event.


Cataloguers will then revise and rebuild descriptions to often double and triple check.  Images are then shot, often numbering from 2 to occasionally 12, when appropriate to illuminate complexity or highlight value.


When the sale is organized there will be printed catalogues [in many cases] but the electronic catalogue will become the gold standard.


When appropriate, the interview or interviews by the consignor that have been captured on Zoom or other alternatives, can be edited and included in the electronic catalogue.  For example, for a 50 lot consignment of “my great grandfather Joe” a 3 or 5 minute story would both charm consignors [a factor] and interest and explain to bidders the who that often is relevant to the what.


For managing the editing of the filmed sessions I expect two options, a list of approved free-lance film editors and or, in- house film editors.


As well, dealers may employ similar processes whether to encourage consignments and to bring the catalogues and consignors to life.  These processes will be remarkably similar.


For reference my son Tom and I have made a Zoom chat that is simply a rough cut but captures a substantial part of what a consignor conversation with an auction house or dealer might look like.


A Brief Conversation [a link to youtube]  

As well I’m including an email address for Joe Belk who could edit/review the rough cut and develop one or more brief video insets into electronic catalogues.


Here are Joe’s contact information.

hominid.prod@gmail.com  510 846 8182.


Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Gonnelli Auction House<br>Books and Graphics<br>19th, 20th and 21st April 2021</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 19-21<br>Books from XVI to XX Century</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 20<br>Atlases and Maps</b
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br> Veneto and Venice, a Selection of Books from the XVI to XX century</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 20<br></b>Rossini Gioachino, Baguette de chef d'orchestre appartenuta a Gioachino Rossini, dono del Comune di Passy. 1500 €
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br></b>Manetti Saverio, Storia naturale degli uccelli trattata con metodo. Cinque volumi. 1767. 18.000 €
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br></b>Poe Edgar Allan, Double assassinat dans la rue morgue. Illustrations de Cura. 1946.
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 19-21<br>Books from XVI to XX Century</b>
  • <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b> Ronald Reagan. Series of 37 letters to Senator George Murphy, and related material, 1968-90. £50,000 to £70,000.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Frances Palmer, <i>Battle of Buena Vista,</i> chromolithograph, New York, 1847. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Antonio Colmenero de Ledesma, the earliest publication concerned solely with chocolate, first edition, Madrid, 1631. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Romans Bernard, <i>An Exact View of the Late Battle at Charlestown, June 17th, 1775,</i> engraving, 1776. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> <i>A Short Narrative of the Horrid Massacre in Boston,</i> English edition, London, 1770. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> William Soule, <i>Lodge of the Plains Indians,</i> albumen print, 1872. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Manuscript document to enforce New York’s “Agreement of Non-Importation” during the heyday of the Sons of Liberty, New York, 1769. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Clarence Mackenzie, <i>Drummer Boy of the 13th Regiment of Brooklyn,</i> salt print with applied color, 1861. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Moses Lopez, <i>A Lunar Calendar,</i> first Jewish calendar published in America, Newport, RI, 1806. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b><br>The Book of Mormon, first edition, Palmyra, 1830. $30,000 to $40,000.
  • <b><center>Neal Auction Company<br>Spring Estates 2021<br>April 16-18</b>
    <b>Neal Auction Co., Apr. 16:</b> Lyscosthenes, Conrad. <i>Prodigiorum ac ostentorum chronicon,</i> Basilea: Henricus Petrus, c. 1557, first edition, folio. $5,000 to $7,000.
    <b>Neal Auction Co., Apr. 16:</b> Collection of Ethiopic Religious Texts, in Ge'ez , illuminated manuscripts on vellum, c. 1700-20th c. (5 pcs.) $5,000 to $7,000.
    <b>Neal Auction Co., Apr. 16:</b> Augustinus, Aurelius Sanctus.<br><i>De Civitate Dei,</i> Venice: Bonetus Locatellus per Octavianus Scotus, 9 Febbraio, 1486, 4to. $5,000 to $7,000.
    <b><center>Neal Auction Company<br>Spring Estates 2021<br>April 16-18</b>
    <b>Neal Auction Co., Apr. 16:</b> Choiseul-Gouffier, Marie Gabriel Comte de. <i>Voyage Pittoresque de la Grece,</i> Paris, J.J. Blaise, 1782-1809-1822, first edition. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Neal Auction Co., Apr. 16:</b> Rufinus, Tyrannius (c. 345-411). <i>Expositio in symbolum apostolorum,</i> [Cologne, Ulrich Zel, c. 1472], first edition. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Neal Auction Co., Apr. 16:</b> Magnus, Albertus. <i>Summa de eucharistiae sacramento,</i> Ulm: Johann Zainer, 1474. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b><center>Neal Auction Company<br>Spring Estates 2021<br>April 16-18</b>
    <b>Neal Auction Co., Apr. 16:</b> Strabo. <i>Rerum geographicarum libri septemdecim. A Guilielmo Xylandro Augstano magna cura recogniti…,</i> Basel, Henricpetri, (August 1571). $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Neal Auction Co., Apr. 16:</b> Riou, Stephen (1720-1780). <i>The Grecian Orders of Architecture. Delineated and Explained from the Antiquities of Athens,</i> London, 1768. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Neal Auction Co., Apr. 16:</b> Mair, Paul Hektor. <i>Geschlechter Buch...der...Statt Augspurg,</i> Frankfurt am Maim, Sigmund Feyerabend, 1580. $1,800 to $2,500.
    <b><center>Neal Auction Company<br>Spring Estates 2021<br>April 16-18</b>
    <b>Neal Auction Co., Apr. 16:</b> Polybius (c. 200-118 B.C.). <i>Historiarum libri priores quinque,</i> Basel: Johann Herwagen, 1549. $1,200 to $1,800.
    <b>Neal Auction Co., Apr. 16:</b> Bellori, Giovanni Pietro. <i>Columna Antoniniana Marci Aurelii Antonini Augusti rebus gestis insignis Germanis simul...,</i> Rome, [1672]. $1,000 to $1,500.
    <b>Neal Auction Co., Apr. 16:</b> <i>Ecclesiasticae Historiae, Eusebii Pamphili...Eiusdem de vita Constantini...Socratis...,</i> Paris, Robert Estienne, 1544. $800 to $1,200.

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