Contact us at WeBuyRareBooks@gmail.com or (646) 469-1851 for a free evaluation of your old and rare books. We are located by appt. at 1510 Lexington Ave and by appt. at 1050 2nd Ave (@55th) Gallery 93 in the Manhattan Art and Antique Center.
I am often asked as a rare book dealer to value old vellum or parchment deeds. These manuscripts were handwritten on durable material so they survive in abundance. Many are quite common and the subject matter can be a trifle dull. On the positive side, that means they can often be overlooked at flea markets, online, and at auctions and careful readings often make for exciting discoveries and reveal some to be important documents that yield interesting social, economic, and geographic insights. Below I will value a very interesting NYC deed dated shortly before the American Revolution.
If you have any deeds or old manuscripts, and want a free evaluation, don’t hesitate to contact my by text at 6464691851 or email email@example.com
One of the most common questions I get asked is “How much is my old Bible worth?” The Bible is the greatest bestseller of all time, and you can imagine how many copies have been preserved on account of their importance to families and their descendants. As a result, many English Bibles – even when old – often fetch quite modest sums. They become more expensive as they get back into the 17th century (but still remain relatively affordable). In this video, I will value an unusual 1649 King James Bible – printed in the year of the execution of Charles I – which still retains elements of the older Geneva editions. While it is not possible to make generalizations based on one specific example, I try to give some insights into what makes a particular edition or copy of the Bible more collectible than others.
We just purchased this rather charming miniature book – c. 1820s and bound in lovely Mother of Pearl. It is approx. 1″ tall, and if you are aquainted with collectors of miniatures books they are emphatic that the books must meet the definition of being less than 3″. Sometimes, I am forced to shrug my shoulders how a few millimeters extra considerably narrows the field of buyers, but this one easily qualifies.
The book is formally a Dance Card, or, Le Carnet de bal in French and was used by a woman to record the names of the gentlemen with whom she intends to dance each successive dance at a formal bal. It even comes with a miniature little pencil.
These were delicate productions and not too many survive as they were often discarded since they could not be re-used and children didn’t likely care to preserve a record of their Mother’s dance partners and suitors.
What is the value of such a charming miniature book? The standard auction databases such as Rare Book Hub yield little clues and searches on OCLC turn up almost no Institutional copies. It is not that they are that rare, but there is scant bibliographic information for librarians to catalog, and it is more probable they are just lying uncatalogued in boxes.
Outside of the world of books, the major auction houses used to regularly conduct sales of Objects of Vertu, but these have been often been lamentably discontinued both to a lack of supply, changing tastes, and the quest of auction houses for more financially rewarding auctions (like Modern Art). At a sale in 2006 at Christies, there was described a much finer “Louis XVI gold-mounted ivory carnet-de-bal set with two enamels, and dated 1776/1777” and that rather mesmerizing beauty only realized 750 GBP.
This much more modest example, while undeniably charming, probably only has a fair retail value of $200 or so by comparison. Still, like a fine dance partner, she is a pleasure to hold with the hand.
If you have any miniature book (or any rare book or manuscript) in general, and would like me to value it, don’t hesitate to send photos by email or text 6464691851.