Saturday, May 12, 2007

Christie's Photobook Auction Catalog

For those of you that do not know, there is an auction of photobooks through Christie’s in London. It is to take place on Thursday May 31st.

I am not mentioning this to plug Christie’s auctions. And although I have no idea of how fat the wallets are of my readers, I can’t imagine that many of you will be participating anyway. What I am mentioning is that there is a handsome catalog featuring all that is up for grabs.

There were quite a few key items that caught my attention. The most interesting is an original maquette for Yevgeny Khaldei’s Ot Murmanska do Berlin. Sto Mgnovenii Voiny 1941-1945. Sobytiia I Liudi (From Murmansk to Berlin. One Hundred Moments of the War 1941-1945. Events and People.) Made in 1978 it contains over 200 gelatin silver prints mounted to pages with typed captions and an introduction by Konstantin Simonov.

Khaldei was the photographer who made the famous picture of the raising of the Soviet flag over the Reichtstag in case his name isn’t ringing any bells.

If you have the estimated $36,000 to $49,000 burning a hole in your pocket I’m sure that it would be a nice addition to your home for your cat to throw up on.

There are many of the old reliables being offered: Klein’s New York ($4,000-$5,900) a copy of Kikuji Kawada’s The Map ($20,000-$30,000) and Brassai’s Paris De Nuit ($2,400-$3,500).

By the way, speaking of Kawada’s The Map, last year at the public library here in New York City, there was a large show of Japanese books. It was a show of all kinds of books ranging from scrolls to the traditional. It also included about half a dozen photography books and one interesting item was the maquette for The Map. I wanted to check it out but for some reason the guard wouldn’t lift up the glass case for me.

A few other nice surprises in this auction are copies of: John Davies' A Green & Pleasant Land ($1,200-$1,800) a signed copy of the 1938 edition of Walker Evans’ American Photographs ($6,000-$9,800) and a Tony Ray-Jones portfolio of fifteen mounted prints produced after his death ($3,600-4,900). That last one is one of the few items that has an estimate that seems like an actual good deal. If it sold for the high estimate of $5,000, each print would still only cost $333.00.

A few curiosities in the “we’ve bumped our heads” department are that Paul Graham’s Beyond Caring is estimated between $990 and $1600. I like that book a lot but seriously? There is also a hardcover edition of his book A1: The Great North Road with a print for a whopping $14,000 to $18,000 estimate. Albeit comes with a print but that’s a $13,600 for an 8X10 inch print.

It is interesting to see the effect of the market and influence of the Parr and Badger books as well as Roth’s 101 book. Most all of the citations in the catalog refer to those books for further reading but also validate the books price by default. A friend of mine a few months before the second Martin Parr History book was released bought a copy of Alicia D’Amico and Sara Facio’s Buenos Aires Buenos Aires for $30.00 among several other listings at that same price. Now it’s listed at for $225.00 on ABE one year later.

I complain but then again, perhaps I’m just bitter that I can’t be as covetous as I want to be.


Anonymous said...

the ABE copy of Buenos Aries Buenos Aries has no DJ for $225. The one in Christies is estimated at $1400 -$2000!

Anonymous said...

I missed seeing that one in the Christie's catalog. That's amazing.