The big story
‘Bonhams sold one book at the 2014 Festival of Speed for £14,750’
The classic car market’s buoyancy is reflected in sales of related literature, with demand for books, brochures, race programmes and photos mirroring demand for cars.
Some items are ‘in’ and some ‘out’, and one dealer says that while serial collectors aren’t as prevalent as they used to be, books and brochures are still wanted.
‘The more expensive the book, the better it goes,’ says Coleford-based Simon Lewis. ‘And there are a lot of books out there that aren’t good, but still have a value.’
People buy fewer items, but with justified reasons. ‘People buy books for research, but high-quality older books have been superseded by later titles. These days 20 buyers will each buy one item, rather than one buying 20 items.’
The book market continues to change. Andrew Currie, of Andrew Currie Automobilia, cites the Palawan-published Bentley
Continental Sports Saloon book, one of which (the rarer Owner’s Edition) sold for £14,750 at Bonhams’ 2014 Goodwood Festival of Speed sale. At the same sale in 2016, another sold for £3375. Other titles, such as recent encyclopedias, remain almost worthless.
There are fewer brochure collectors and Andrew sells cheaper items at autojumbles. ‘The cheaper items – those in the £1-£10 category – just won’t sell on the internet. If I buy them in I need to sell them on quickly,’ he says.
‘ What I did notice at the London Classic Car Show was that people didn’t know what a brochure was, whereas they would at the NEC. It will take some years for those people to understand the market and it will have an effect on book and brochure collecting.’
Photographs are increasing in popularity, with motor sport images in particular demand. Simon Lewis offers a large number of images: ‘A lot of them sell to people with those
particular cars, while others collect pictures of certain venues with the intention of creating an archive.’
Andrew says that he is experiencing similar sales interest, and is doing well with photographs from motor shows and racing car shows which, when blown up, look particularly good on garage and office walls. But with the internet taking a bigger percentage of sales, there’s less contact.
Says Simon Lewis: ‘ You don’t get to talk to buyers and recommend other books to them on the internet – there’s no personal connection.’
Book buyers are more selective than ever.
If a book was expensive when new, chances are it will remain so years later – even if it’s not very good.