Nabokov at Bloomsbury Redux

Eight of the ten Nabokov lots that didn’t sell at the Bloomsbury auction in November are being offered again by the London auction house on 28 February, all at reduced estimates. That means that the opening bids and the reserve prices will be lower. Click here to link to the items, lots 341–48. (Thanks to James O’Sullivan for pointing the auction out to me.)

Podvig/Glory (A13.1) was originally given an estimate for the November auction of £600–800; this time it’s £400–600. Kamera obskura (A14.1) was £500–700, now £250–350. Laughter in the Dark (A14.2) was £750–1000, now £500–700. Otchaianie/Despair (A15.1) was £400–600, now £250–350. Priglashenie na kazn’/Invitation to a beheading (A16.1) was £200–300, now £150–200. Sogliadatai/The eye (A12.1) was £800–1200, now £500–700. (A17.1) Dar/The gift was £200–300, now £150–200. Stikhotvoreniia 1929–1952/Poems 1929–1952 (A27.1), inscribed and with a flutter of little butterflies, was £6000–8000, now £3000–4000. Vozvroshchenie Chorba/The return of Chorb and the lot of 30 letters and cards to the de Petersons were not relisted for this auction. A buyer’s premium of 24% applies.

A big word of warning to any non-UK resident contemplating bidding on these lots: Bloomsbury’s shipping process is disorganized, sometimes unresponsive, and unthinkably expensive. I personally know of three winning bidders, two in the US and one in the Netherlands, who were at first hit with exorbitant shipping estimates and had to complain loud and long to get the charges reduced. And even then it sometimes took a long time for Bloomsbury to ship the items out. Therefore, I strongly recommend that you negotiate with Bloomsbury before the auction. Ask them about the expected shipping costs and fees, and the different possible carriers (DHL, postal service, etc.). BTW, if you have household or collectables insurance, you may not have to absorb the carrier’s insurance, since your purchase may be covered the moment you pay for it. Check with your insurance agent.

Tags: ,

  1. James’s avatar

    Although my (UK-based) experience of Bloomsbury’s shipping has been fine, UK auction houses often offer a poor quality or expensive service in this respect. I often use 3rd party services such as Mail Boxes Etc. who usually offer collection, packaging and postage services at a reasonable rate.



Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *