Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Photography to Mid-Century: The Technical History: A Sale

Need to own one of the most comprehensive technical collections on photography? See below:


In this, my 32nd year as an antiquarian bookseller, specializing in the
literature of photography, I am pleased to present for sale this most
comprehensive collection of journals, manuals, and trade catalogues that
chart the technical history of photography and photomechanical
reproduction. There are three pdf files on our website that constitute the complete catalogue of
the collection, with representative illustrations. These files can be
downloaded or printed, and viewed at www.cahanbooks.com Please note that
the search function of this website does not apply to these pdf
files. This collection is being offered as a single unit for $1,200,000.00
and inquiries should be directed to Andrew Cahan.


Specializing in Rare and Out-of-Print Photographic Literature
PO BOX 1531
Durham, North Carolina 27702
Tel: 919-688-1054
Web: http://www.cahanbooks.com
Members of ABAA and ILAB


Vincent Borrelli said...

Andy, have you tried the Getty? They are building a comprehensive database of all photographic papers and chemicals for the purposes of restoration, conservation and verification and dating of prints, etc. (the physicist who broke the Walter Rosenblum fake Lewis Hine print scandal is involved with the project). They may be very interested in the collection:


Anonymous said...

a little of subject but i was wondering the best place to sell photo books in nyc...
any answers would be helpful

Anonymous said...

If they are common, your best bet is eBay. If they're a little rare, you may try Dashwood Books. If they're very rare, you may try Swann Galleries or Christie's Auctions (though you may have to wait several months for the book sale and risk them not selling).

You can also auction or consign them through Photo-Eye in NM, or try selling them yourself through Amazon.com.

Unless they're exceptionally rare, you can expect to have a hard time in this economic climate, especially since Amazon and some of the online sellers have multiple copies of everything.

Anonymous said...

Yes, somebody please throw Andrew a bone and buy his 1.2 million library. I am sure he would be happy to return the favor and buy yours for 10 cents on the dollar.

Anonymous said...

Is it just photobooks that draw a bunch of angry bitter no-names or what?

Anonymous said...

Angry? Bitter? I assume you meant the person who commented on Cahan's "10-cents on the dollar comment." I don't know Mr. Cahan, but I have decades of experience with used/rare books and without singling him out (he is VERY well-respected), but there is a certain kind of used book dealer - many of them - will offer you 10-25 cents on the dollar to buy your books for cash. I understand why they do this - overhead, risk, storage, etc. - but for someone who wants to sell a collection and knows what stuff retails for, it becomes very disheartening to have some merchant offer you so little. Consignment at a 60/40 or 50/50 split is a much better option. But if you're desperate or don't want to do the work involved, you WILL be taken advantage of. It's not just book, but all antiques or collectibles. If you really want to test their integrity, go in with a collection of crap and slip in a $10,000 rarity. 99% of them will NEVER let on that they are aware of the rarity. The one that tells you would be heroic, or stupid, or both.

Anonymous said...

Okay, so you're not bitter. So you're not angry. You say you're not Mr. "10 cents on the dollar." Why still no name?

Anonymous said...

Bon soir, douche baguettes!!
Could everybody who thinks we are living in a socialist paradise please raise your hand?!? And those who think it is the purchaser's duty to educate the seller of the "real" value of the commodity they are selling---uh, please raise yer other hand?!? Now if you place both of those hands on either side of your hips maybe you can then pull your fucking head out of your ass and start living in the real world!!! The first and paramount rule of any organism, whether it be a person or a bookstore, is to SURVIVE. Self-interest is the order of the day, bitches! If you want a "good' price for your books then sell them yourself. A bookseller (or car dealer or piano salesman) will pay low enough to make a profit but high enough to encourage sellers to come back. It is not his duty to inform you if you have some"$10,000.00 rarity" in your load of crap, just as it is highly unlikely you are going to show him the books you excised pages from, the bookplates you ordered from the back of Parade magazine, the monogram blindstamp you just had to use for a year or two, or the book where you left oily bits of chips and peanut brittle within the pages, right? People who buy photobooks as "investments" are asking for disappointment. Have you checked the bindings and signatures of your Avedons and William Kleins lately?If I think it will sell fast I may offer up to a half but usually a third to a FIFTH of the final selling price is ADEQUATE. Books are so easily damaged and you don't always have the time or knowledge to accurately appraise each title; you do the best you can and try to survive.We are offering you cash for your books. Cash is easy to carry (unlike books!) and it is accepted as a medium of exchange by most members of society for most goods and services. You may be broke, you may be under duress (I need more crack!!!), but PLEASE don't tell me you're not a free agent in the transaction!! Don't tell me you're "being taken advantage of..", DON'T tell me you're "disheartened': motherfucker, I'm disheartened every time I have to get out of bed, come to work and look at YOUR ugly, whimpering mealy mouthed face. "There is a certain kind of used book dealer.." Oh, man, you need to be SLAPPED!

Anonymous said...

Chill Fonzie and lay off the ALL CAPS! motherfucker

a mind with no ceiling said...

Yes, please, this blog doesn't need to be polluted with youtubesque comments. It's about debating on photography books, and mostly about their content. I used to check the comments because there was some questions being raised sometimes, but I guess I'll just stick to Jeff's precious and worthwhile reviews in the future...
(greg, btw)

Anonymous said...

"go in with a collection of crap and slip in a $10,000 rarity"
That sounds like it could be some fun on a rainy day. The dealer makes you a low offer & you say you'll think about it. Watch them squirm as you walk out the door.
Michael W

Anonymous said...

All the bile and venom aside, L'eminence Gris-zer actually makes quite a few pertinent points that people should take note of.

The first and most important, is that buying photo-books as investments is a really bad idea unless you're willing to buy multiple copies of each and every book that comes out as well as scour every retail venue for "hidden (and cheap) gems" and hold onto them for a long time. Investing in photo-books is like investing in stocks: the vast majority are not going to appreciate in any meaningful way. The only way to make money in the long term is to hope that enough of the books have really appreciated to cover the 90% that you will have to sell at a loss.

Secondly, bookselling is a nickel and dime operation for 95% of the dealers out there. For every Bauman's that sells their years of experience, research, knowledge and contacts to the carriage trade, there are 9 out there that are just making a living. And books have one of the lowest profit margins of retail sales. As Errata Books has pointed out--and anyone who has ever sold so much as a single book will tell you--you don't go into book selling--new or used--to get rich.

Thirdly, the figures that L'eminence Gris-zer cites are the figures I've been given by reputable dealers for years: 50% of retail for something special that can be re-sold immediately; 33% for good, clean, sought-after items that will sell within a couple of years and 10-20% for the stuff that you can find many copies of online for under $20. And that includes just about everything to be honest.

Finally, the only way to get the retail price for any item, is to sell it yourself. You do the work, the finding and cleaning and repairing, the research, the photography, the shipping and packaging; you pay the fees, the taxes, the supply costs; you deal with irate people (like me) who return the books if the condition isn't exactly as specified or if the packaging was lousy or if they just decide they didn't really want it; you deal with the post office when things are lost. It's work like any other.

Anonymous said...

Are photobooks a viable investment? Yes of course...if you can spot the future classics while minimising your unprofitable purchases, if you're quick enough to buy at low price, if you have the patience to wait for a good sale, if you can dodge the depressive effects of reprints, and if you've the time to put into your background research. Easy? No. Viable? Obviously. Here's a little experiment: set up a bank account, put in a capital sum of $500, start buying on Amazon/street corners/library sales/church bazaars what you think will appreciate, sell at your chosen time, count the cash in a year's time. Oh, and aim to move to move into that dream million dollar beach house in 2011.