Night Thoughts about the Auction (5)

There’s a real chance there will be some bargains. But how to sniff them out?

Some of this stuff—I don’t know how much—has been in Glenn Horowitz’s hands several times. I remember seeing some of it many years ago when he had a small office near Grand Central Terminal. Many of those were non-VN books from VN’s personal library—books presented to him or which he had bought and sometimes marked up. Later, after Glenn moved uptown to a brownstone at E 76th St off of Madison, he had many wonderful VN pieces. That was when he put those labels into the volumes, the labels that say “From the library of Vladimir Nabokov…” By my count, 46 of the lots in this auction that comprise only one book have that label. And the lots that comprise several books have some volumes with the labels. The labeling happened in 1999 in conjunction with the issue of Horowitz’s Vera’s Butterflies catalog.

The point is that Glenn has tried to move many if not all of these books several times. He succeeded with some. I know that Cornell got the sole copy of Dva puti at the same time it bought several others. Sometimes dealers went to Montreux and bought copies directly from Dmitri. One was Ralph Sipper.

So nobody wants all of these books. That’s like trying to eat a meal of only rich, gourmet chocolate desserts. The constitution, in this case the book-buying Nabokovians, can digest only so much. And that’s why I think that dozens of these books won’t sell. But, again, how to determine which are the least appetizing and affordable?

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