The big story

Clas­sic-re­lated lit­er­a­ture

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - This Week -

‘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.

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