What We Do
"American Book Prices Current represents the longest continuous and most reliable record of the progress of book prices in the world. With new technology advancing thus, and no sign that the material upon which the record is based is diminishing, we may confidently predict a future at least as long as its past for ABPC."
— Nicolas Barker
American Book Prices Current, which began in 1895, is a record of books, manuscripts, autographs, maps and broadsides sold at auction. Regions covered include North America and England, with sales from such other countries as Switzerland, Germany, Monaco, the Netherlands, Australia, and France. ABPC Online currently lists sales beginning in 1975, and our subscribers are welcome to contact us about earlier sales.
All prices listed are hammer prices, that is, the price actually called out in the saleroom when the lot is knocked down to a buyer.
Auction lots consisting of groupings of miscellaneous volumes are not listed, for the prices realized by such lots can give no accurate indication of the value of individual items. Similarly, listings of badly broken runs or seriously incomplete sets of printed books do not appear. Listings of books in non-Western languages realizing less than $100 have been selectively excluded, as have peripheral works such as panoramas. Items which are sold by auction houses as “a collection of plates” or which are deemed to be bound prints rather than books, are excluded. Listings of books after 1900 frequently appear without format or binding information. In such instances it may be assumed that these books are octavo or duodecimo and bound in cloth or boards.
Katharine Kyes Leab is the Editor-in-Chief of ABPC. She is the Mother of ABPC on CD-ROM, ABPC on a Stick, and American Book Prices Current Online. She is also bibliographical and funny. As such, she writes and lectures extensively about the values of books and manuscripts and on other topics related to books, auction houses, and the fine arts.
As to effort and diligence, we try like mad to get it all correct, but as we are human beings and imperfect, we do not accept legal responsibility for the information in our databases. Having said that for the benefit of our lawyers, let us reiterate that we want to do as excellent a job as we possibly can. We ask our users to contact us with any corrections or suggestions they may have. The beauty of databases is that they can become ever better.