Looking Forward to the 2019 Rare Book Auction

It’s great to be on a countdown to the 2019 Rare Book Auction, to be held on the opening day of the UQ Alumni Book Fair® on 3rd May 2019.

The 2017 Rare Book Auction was the first book auction I have ever attended. And it certainly won’t be the last. I can’t wait until May 2019, as 21 April 2017 was such a memorable occasion.

Over 150 lots went under the auctioneer’s hammer on the April 2017 evening, when the Playhouse at UQ’s Women’s College was transformed into a special Rare Book Auction. The auction acts as the curtain-raiser to the biennial UQAlumni Book Fair®, and both events were officially opened by UQ’s Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Peter Høj. Describing the Fair and auction as “iconic events,” Høj congratulated the Alumni Friends and Books Team volunteers for their work in organising the 20th Fair.

Each of the bidders will have had their own highlights. But just to mention a few:

  • Pensees de J. J. Rousseau by J.J. Rousseau (Vols 1-3 bound together, publisher Chez J. Racine, Rouen, 17941795). The bidder was delighted to walk away with this lot at $250.
  • Discoveries in Australia; with an account of the coasts and rivers, explored and surveyed during the Voyage of  H.M.S. Beagle In the years 1837-38-39-40-41-42-43. By command of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty by J. Lort Stokes (Vols. 1, 2. published by T. and W. Boone, London. 1846). Complete with folding maps, and including a number of beautiful engravings, this attracted much interest. Following active bidding this sold for $410.
  • One lot of two Ipswich books attracted strong interest, resulting in a total winning bid of $125: (i) Jubilee History of Ipswich: A Record of Municipal, Industrial and Social Progress. Edited by G. Harrison (publisher H. J. Diddams, Brisbane, nd [c. 1909]), and (ii). The Ipswich Hospital 1860-1991 by R. Patrick (Boolarong, Brisbane, 1993).
  • V C. Hodgkinson’s Australia,from Port Mac Quarie to Moreton Bay; with descriptions of the Natives, their manners and customs; the geology, natural productions, fertility, and resources of that region;first explored and surveyed by order of the colonial government ( T. and W. Boone, London, 1845) was won with a bid of $200.
  • The highest single lot of the evening was Cyaniding for Gold by I. Idriess (Angus & Robertson, Sydney, 1939). With a signed inscription by the author to the Under Secretary of Mines, the successful bid was $1,000.

The event was great fun. A little like the auctions on the TV, but much more ‘approachable’ than I thought it might be. Not everyone left with their winning lot, but we all enjoyed the experience of bidding for some interesting books. My tip for 2019 is go along, and make sure you take a suitable form of ID (a Driving Licence is ideal) and a credit card.

I’m saving my $$ now. Roll on May 2019.

Pictured at the 2017 Rare Book Auction Viewing (L to R): Anne Mullins (Rare Books Co-Convenor), Professor Peter Høj , and Jan Thompson (Rare Books Co-Convener). Picture: Geoff Lawrence, Creative Futures Photography.