Rare Book Review Awards for 2007 Announced
The Rare Book Review announces its awards for 2007.
By Michael Stillman
Rare Book Review, the magazine of the rare and antiquarian book trade, recently announced the winners of their inaugural Rare Book Review Awards. Winners were selected by a panel of experts, industry leaders, visitors at the ABA Chelsea Book Fair, and readers of the magazine. If you see a slight tilt toward British entrants, that's because the Review is headquartered in London, and the Chelsea book fair was, after all, held in Chelsea (but not Chelsea, Massachusetts). Indeed, when categories are described as "favourites," you can be confident that there is something of a British bent here, so Americans who did not win should not feel slighted. Nevertheless, you will see many names from the former colonies here too, and they surely are "favorites" as well. So let's take a look at who won the first Rare Book Review Awards.
Favourite Online Booktrading Service of the Year.
You know this one is going to stir controversy. There probably isn't anyone who could win peaceably in this field, so contentious has the subject become among booksellers. As the award givers noted, the winner had to survive a strike by the ABA against increased fees. Nevertheless, when the votes were tallied, the award went to AbeBooks. As the Rare Book Review editors noted, "...for sheer accessibility, accuracy and breadth of content our readers cannot fault it." AbeBooks CEO Hannes Blum commented, "This is a tremendous honor. Thanks to all the readers who voted for us." Special mention was also given to Biblion, Antiqbook, and the Americana Exchange.
The Book World's Highlight of the Year.
This honor went to the Macclesfield Sale at Sotheby's. Actually, this sale from the library of the Earls of Macclesfield has been going on for several years. An item from this sale, a previously unknown illuminated 14th century manuscript psalter, topped The AE 500 as the most expensive book/document at auction in 2004 when it sold for over $4 million. Part 9 of the sale at Sotheby's London in March 2007 took in almost $8 million more, running the total to some $40 million. Runner up was the strange sale of the Bishop of Truro's library, grabbed up in a private sale by a dealer for less money than he sold some of the individual pieces in it. Also highly noted was the Frank Streeter sale at Christie's New York, which took in over $16 million, the Hattesley sale at Bonham's Oxford, the private sale of Dennistoun's Collection of Financial Work by Bernard Shapero, and the ADAA sale. Also noted was the opening of Bloomsbury Auctions' office in New York, and the closing of the venerable Heritage Book Shop in Los Angeles.
Rare Book Review Awards for 2007 Announced
Favourite Rare Book Store and Dealer of the Year
Favourite Rare Book Store honors went to one of the oldest and most established booksellers on earth – Maggs Bros. There are certainly many others worthy of this honor too, but who can argue with Maggs? Commenting on the selection, Ed Maggs said, "We're delighted with the news. I know we can be thought to present a somewhat intimidating facade to the world, but once you get through the door we try hard to be friendly and helpful." From the other side of the Atlantic, runners up included the late Heritage Book Shop and Manhattan Rare Books, while English sellers Sam Fogg, Old Cinema Bookshop, Shapero Rare Books, and Brighton Books drew many votes. The award for favourite dealer went to Peter Harrington, while runners up included the 19th Century Shop, Bernard Shapero, Maggs, William Reese, Broadhurst, Rick Gekoski, Nigel Williams, the Map House, Paul Foster, E M Lawson, and all the way from Australia, Hordern House.
Auction House of the Year
The winner here is Sotheby's London, and this probably reflects a British bias, since runners up included Sotheby's Paris and Sotheby's New York. Add to the runners up Christie's New York and South Kensington, Bonham's London and Oxford, Bloomsbury London, Swann's (New York), PBA Galleries (San Francisco), John Nicholson and Dominic Winter. "This means a lot to the Book Department at Sotheby's," Stephen Roe, of Sotheby's is quoted as saying. "We have a great team and they all deserve it."
Best Catalogues of the Year
This was the final category, and the award went to another venerable old bookseller, Bernard Quaritch. There were lots of runners up here - Marlborough, Shapero, Maggs, Peter Harrington, Nigel Williams, Howes, Ken Spelman, Hordern House and William Reese. Also, there was a special mention for the humor of Between The Covers and Lame Ducks. It should be noted that votes may have been motivated by different factors, either quality of the presentation or quality of the works offered.
The Rare Book Review itself is an esteemed institution, having been founded in 1974 as the Antiquarian Book Monthly Review. You may visit their website, and sign up for a subscription if you like, at www.rarebookreview.com.