« PreviousContinue »
RECORD OF THE PRICES AT WHICH BOOKS
HAVE BEEN SOLD AT AUCTION,
BEING THE SEASON 1911-1912.
THE SECOND INDEX TO
Book - Prices Current
Volumes XI. to XX.
For the Years 1897-1906.
By WILLIAM JAGGARD, F.R.S.A., M.B.S., etc.
FORMING A KEY TO THE TEN VOLUMES AND, INCI.
BIBLIOPHILES AND BIBLIOPOLES.
Uniform with “ Book-Prices Current.” Demy 8vo,
pp. xx.-1058. Buckram gilt, £2 25. net.
The Clique says :-“In the course of testing a great number of references, to see whether we could discover any errors, we are glad to say that we can find none. This is high praise when the author says in his preface, ‘This lodex contains about one hundred thousand entries, while the numerals employed, which closely approach a million, almost defy counting.' Among the great advantages of the Index may be mentioned the promptitude with which the reader may now find and compare the relative value of any book during the decade covered (bringing to a point the various copies sold), enabling him to ascertain whether its value has increased or dimished during the period. ... The Second Index is so superior to the former one that the permanent value of ‘B.P.C.' as a bibliographer's guide is increased fourfold. This index is one of the largest ever compiled, and it represents three years' work.”
The Library Association Record says :- This volume is indispensable to every reference library, and adds considerably to the reputation of English Bibliography.”
ELLIOT STOCK, 7, Paternoster Row, E.C.
The present volume of BOOK-PRICES CURRENT, being the twenty-sixth of the long series which during its progress has successfully appealed to more than a single generation of bookmen, is distinguished above its fellows in at least one respectit chronicles the results of the most successful season held since its commencement. A glance at the summary given at the foot of the Table of Contents will shew that books representing a total value of £181,780 have changed hands during the period October, 1911--August, 1912, and that the average sum realised per lot has been rather more than 65-an unprecedently large amount, the nearest approach to it being in 1907, when the average stood at £4 45. 2d. The fifty-three sales reported in the following pages might, of course, be added to very considerably, and, in that case, the total sum obtained during the season would have been slightly increased and the average sum realised somewhat reduced ; but for all useful purposes the sales reported represent the real activity of the season which has just closed, and the figures work out as might have been expected, having regard to a highly-exceptional factor of extreme importance which has had to be imported into the calculation. It is not surprising that the unusually high average of £5 has been reached, for the sale of the two first portions of the Huth Library alone resulted in a sum of very nearly 481,000 being added to the total, although no more than 2,553 lots were represented, and this, of course, raises the all-round average most materially A simple calculation will show how matters stand in this respect.
The Huth sale, though not nearly concluded--for only the letters A-D have been dealt with so far-stands out as being, with one exception, the most important from a money standpoint that has ever been held in this country.
The great and costly library of William Beckford, of Fonthill, realised 489,200, and so far heads the list of important sales, though the next instalment of the Huth sale will assuredly depose it from the position it holds in this respect.
As matters stand at present, the following table gives in order of monetary importance the twelve most noticeable sales which have been held in this country during the last hundred years :
These sales are tabulated, it must be remembered, on a pure commercial basis, their degrees of intrinsic importance being another matter altogether. If, for instance, the Duke of Roxburghe's library were sold now, it would doubtless realise a sum out of all proportion to the amount obtained for it in 1812. The Beckford library would bring a great deal more than £89,000, and the same remark applies to every library in the list except, perhaps, that of Lord Amherst, which was sold quite recently, and therefore comes within the scope of present-day conditions.
The fact is that all the libraries above mentioned contained large numbers of books of the very kind for which there has been an ever-increasing demand-works printed by old craftsmen whose types are catalogued and studied by bibliographers and collectors who make a speciality of incunabula, editiones principes of works of classic renown, illustrated books of a very early date, and original editions of the works of the masters of English and other literatures. Books in these classes
are unaffected by the fleeting decrees of fashion. Their progress is surely and steadily onward, and their mercantile importance to-day is altogether beyond the estimate which prevailed even twenty years ago.
For this reason it is not possible to draw a comparison between one and any other of the libraries I have catalogued, except by eliminating dates and looking at the bare financial results as they are set down in the table.
Leaving the unfinished Huth sale out of the reckoning, the season which has just terminated has not been more remarkable than usual. It just about holds its own with an average of something less than £3, which, though good, has been touched before on several occasions, and exceeded on some. Generally speaking, books which do not, for one
or another, appeal to the richer class of collectors are more accessible than they were a few years ago, and realise smaller sums than they did then. They afford, at least, some compensationfrom the buyer's point of view—for the many disappointments which the collector whose resources are not unlimited is continually meeting with, and which he cannot avoid in this ever-growing war of prices.
J. H. SLATER. THORNTON HEATH, SURREY,
Vol. XXV., p. 492. The name “Huntingdon” in the second paragraph should be Huntington, and the following prices also stand in need of revision :