The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 53, July 1949 - April, 1950 Page: 53
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Affairs of the Association
The first auction in this series was held in the spring of 1939. Gov.
James V. Allred started the list by donating a law book published in
1556. That year's books brought a total of $331.55. One item, "The
History of the XIT Ranch," by J. Evetts Haley, sold for $18.
Latest prices for this scarce Haley work illustrate the interest not
only in it but in Texana in general. The book on the XIT Ranch
brought $21 in 1940, $22 in 1942 and $52.50 in 1947. Since then some
dealers have listed it as high as $75 for a good copy. Most collectors
realize that it doesn't pay to pass up an item like this in the hope
that it can be obtained cheaper later. Occasionally, though, some
book is auctioned at a price higher than that currently asked by
The second auction, in 1940, brought in $927.54, nearly three times
as much revenue as the first. It also set a record for the highest price
paid for a single item. This was an almost unknown book, in Span-
ish, published at Brazoria in 1833. This copy was from the personal
library of Stephen F. Austin and bore his signature. After lively bid-
ding it brought $300.
This year's bidding showed continued strong interest in Texas coun-
ty histories. Not only full-length books on the counties but small
pamphlets on their origins brought strong competition and prices of
several dollars each. Recent books on Floyd and Nacogdoches Coun-
ties sold at $4 each. A paper-bound history of Collingsworth County,
published in 1925, brought $8.
Another noticeable trend was the growing Texas appreciation for
attractive book design, illustration and printing. The auction in-
cluded many of the books printed by an outstanding Texas craftsman,
Carl Hertzog of El Paso. Though most of these came out in recent
years, nearly all of them sold at high premiums. Some brought several
times the original publication price.
This interest in what Hertzog is doing on a small scale in El Paso
evoked several comments on the Texas need for a regional press that
can issue full-size Texas books in large editions and distinguished
format. The success achieved by the University of Oklahoma Press
in this field indicates an opportunity that is being missed by a state
that has several times as many authors and readers.
Several collector's items of exceptional rarity changed hands at
bargain prices at this year's auction. A hand-colored map of the Gulf
region, made about 2oo years ago, went at $10o. The late Alex Dienst's
"History of the Texas Navy," one of a limited edition of thirty-seven
copies, was obtained for $25. A rare book, "Visit to Texas," published
in New York in 1834, sold for $40.
The second-highest item this year was a small 2-volume work writ-
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 53, July 1949 - April, 1950, periodical, 1950; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101126/m1/71/: accessed November 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.