Wednesday, August 31, 2016

266. Romeo & Juliette at Auction

Online auctions have taken their place in the antiquarian book market for some years now, and one of the more successful auction places is Catawiki. The site, founded by a Dutch comic book collector and a developer, started in a small town in the Netherlands in 2008 as an online compendium of collector's catalogues.

In 2011, the first Catawiki online auctions were hosted, and the site has now grown to quite another level. Comic books, or books, are still the subject of weekly auctions, but the real money comes from other sources, such as the 'Esquel meteorite', the 'Jaw of a T-rex', a 'Macallan Anniversary Malt (over 50 years old)', an oil painting by Aristarkh Lentulov, and a 1960 Porsche 356.

Every now and then a book designed by Charles Ricketts pops up. In this week's auction a solitary volume of the Vale Shakespeare is offered for sale.

Photo of opening pages of The Tragedy of Romeo & Juliette
as published on the Catawiki site
The seller is a 'pro', according to the meagre information supplied by Catawiki, but that is not a guarantee for excellent photos or complete descriptions. The terminology in this book's description cannot be considered to be that of a professional antiquarian bookseller. Anyhow, Catawiki originally contained a lot of offers by private collectors; these days second hand booksellers seem to form the majority of the suppliers.

What surprised me, was that within a day after the launch of this week's auctions, two bidders had placed their bids, running quickly from €1 to €50, where it has remained for some time now. 

Catawiki, lot 6, auction 3 September 2016

Usually, a few hours or even minutes before the auction stops, the figures start to move again, and more bidders try their luck. We will see what happens this week.

Currently, on Abebooks, a copy is for sale for $150.

Note, 4 September 2016
On 2 September 14 bids quickly followed each other, bringing the price up from €50 to €143.