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The Changing Role of the Auction House in Today's Rare Book Market

The Caxton Club/Newberry Library 2008 Symposium on the History of the Book examines the role of rare books and special collections libraries in a digital age.

The term "rare" suggests costly and inaccessible, but symposium participants assert that research materials in specialized libraries are important to the preservation and development of our common intellectual heritage, and, as such, are of enduring public value and use. What will collectors and collections look like and where will rare books stand in a hierarchy of public priorities for the still-new twenty-first century?

The second session of the day - Well known from his appearances on "Antiques Road Show," Francis J. Wahlgren is the senior vice president and head of Christie's department of rare books and manuscripts observes that the role of the auctioneer has changed radically in recent years, moving from a distant, exclusive realm to a more retail approach. Are auction houses to blame for a decline of retail bookselling?


Recorded Saturday, April 12, 2008 at The Newberry Library.

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