Evaluation of Monetary Value of the Collection

Section IV of Presentation prepared by Jon P. Speller 

 

IV. EVALUATION OF MONETARY VALUE OF

 THE COLLECTION


  The unique Hough Wood Specimen Collection of actual wood sections cut by pioneer forester Romeyn Beck Hough himself is of such rare importance that a valuation per such section of $20.00 each represents a conservative estimate - and below the mean price being asked for these historic scientific specimens today - as determined by authorities such as Donald A. Heald, considered the leading authority on rare botany book.

   Donald A. Heald's respected rare book firm offers for sale for $4,000.00 Volumes I and II of Hough's original American Woods publication (Heald Item #2959), and offers for sale for $36,000.00 the very rare fourteen volumes of AmericanWoods published after 1888 by Romeyn Beck Hough (Heald Item #3833).  Regarding Heald Item #2959, the texts of Hough's Volume One and Two are calculated to at most be valued at 25% of that Item's $4,000.00 offering price, or $1,000.00, and the wood sections cut by Hough himself conservatively valued at 75% of that price, or $3,000.00. The 150 woods sections in Heald Item 2959 thus translates to $20.00 per wood section specimen.  Regarding Heald Item #3833 the text of the fourteen volumes are calculated to at most be valued at 25% of that Item's $36,000.00, or $9,000.00, and the wood sections cut by Hough himself conservatively valued at 75% of that price, or $27,000.00,which translates to a value of approximately $25.00 for each of the 1,050 wood sections in the Item. 

   Major Detroit, Michigan Used and Rare Book Dealer, John K. King, also offers a similar fourteen volume set of Romeyn Beck Hough's original American Woods (Book id: 96-4148) for $45,000.00, which would translate into a value of over $32.00 per section in the John K. King Item. 

   Therefore the calculated value of $20.00 per section in our offer for the Hough Wood Specimen Collection of 1,100,000 sections, and also our Special Auxiliary Collection of 1,300 sections is both reasonable and conservative.

   Further confirmation of the value of original Hough woods sections is found in the last public auction by a major art auction house of a comprehensive collection of 1,062 original Hough wood specimens, in October, 2004, that realized $28,000.00, translated by the above formula to an adjusted value of $20.52 per wood section.


 1. Donald A. Heald, Rare Books, Prints & Maps, New York, NY, USA:

"In our 34 year history we have established ourselves among the world's leading authorities on fine illustrated and colour plate books, prints & drawings and maps.

We specialize in Botany, Ornithology, Natural History, Americana, Native Americans, Maps & Atlases, Voyages & Travels and Sporting.

Our collection, which is unrivalled in size, content and quality, includes the works of renowned artists and authors including Besler, Thornton, Redouté, Audubon, Gould, Barraband, Catlin, Bodmer, McKenney & Hall, Blaeu, Ortelius, Mercator, Daniell, Hill, Stubbs, Herring and Alken."


 2. Donald A. Heald Item #2959: $4,000.00

 

 

 HOUGH, Romeyn Beck (1857-1924)

The American Woods. Exhibited By Actual Specimens....

Lowville, N.Y.: 1888 (Volume I) and 1898 (Volume II, Second edition). Volumes I-II only (of 14), 8vo portfolios. Plates and illustrations. 159 samples of wood in 53 card mounts, each wafer thin transverse, radial and tangential sections illustrating 53 species. Text in original wrappers, samples on card mounts unbound as issued, each text volume and accompanying samples loose within original green cloth covers, the covers in matching original cloth slipcases, with metal catches and bosses to covers, contained in a single modern green cloth box. Provenance: Medford, Mass. Public Library (stamps, labels, perforation mark).

One of the greatest American works on trees and woods, a labor of love, and of the greatest rarity in complete sets.

This remarkable work was the lifetime achievement of Romeyn B. Hough, who devoted himself to the study of American trees, and who is best known for his Handbook of Trees of the Northern States and Canada, long a standard reference work in American dendrology. In this work, Hough sought to describe the woods found in America, with a detailed description in an accompanying pamphlet, and with thin cross-sections of actual woods mounted and labeled in accompanying stiff cardboard mounts. These provide a unique record of American wood types, arranged geographically. Generally each species is shown with wood cut on traverse section, radial section, and tangential section. The samples are so thin as to be easily translucent. The age of these specimens gives them tremendous importance from an ecological standpoint, as well as their great interest to students of American furniture and woodcrafts. The trees available to Hough at the time make such an endeavor impossible to contemplate today. Parts I-IV cover New York and adjacent states, part V covers Florida, parts VI-X describe the Pacific Slope, parts XI-XII cover the Atlantic states, and part XIII southern Florida. Part XIV contained a continuation of the work on the trees of Florida with text by Marjorie Hough, using specimens and notes prepared by her father before his death in 1924.

Hough explained the unique nature of the work thus: it is `illustrated by actual specimens, and being in this way an exhibition of nature itself it possesses a peculiar and great interest never found in a press-printed book. The specimens are....about 2 x 5 in. in size, and sufficiently thin to admit of examination in transmitted light...Looked at in reflected light they appear as in the board or log... These specimens are mounted in durable frame-like Bristol-board pages, with black waterproofed surfaces...and each bears printed in gilt-bronze the technical name of the species and its English, German, French and Spanish names. The pages are separable...and are accompanied with a full text...giving information as to the uses and physical properties of the woods, and distributions, habits of growth, botanical characters, habitats, medicinal properties, etc,., of the trees.. The woods used for the specimens are personally collected by the author and are sectioned and prepared by a process of his own device'.

Complete sets of this work are very rare. The volumes were priced at five dollars each, a high price reflecting the work involved in assembling them. Since subscribers came and went over the 25-year period of publication and many only bought the volume or volumes on the areas that interested them. The rarity of complete sets can be judged from the fact that Stafleu and Cowan record the work as being complete in 6 volumes.

Stafleu & Cowan TL2 341.

#2959$4,000.00

3. Donald A. Heald Item 3833: $36,000.00

The American Woods. Exhibited By Actual Specimens....

Lowville, N.Y.: by the author, 1888-1913. Volumes I-XIII only (of 14), octavo (9 x 6 inches). Illustrations. 973 samples of wood, each wafer-thin transverse, radial and tangential sections illustrating 324 species, window-mounted in 324 card mounts only, temporary card insert in part VII. (Lacking card mount number 288, occasional natural cracking and warping to a few samples). Text in original wrappers, samples in card mounts unbound as issued, each text volume and accompanying samples within original green cloth cover in matching original cloth slipcase, with metal catch and bosses to covers (Some damage to slip-case of parts IX and X, clasp of slip-case of part XII detached).

One of the greatest American works on trees and woods, a labor of love. Complete sets are of the greatest rarity: the present set is without just a single plate from part XII and the miscellaneous supplemental part XIV published by Hough's daughter after his death in 1924.

This remarkable work was the lifetime achievement of Romeyn B. Hough, who devoted himself to the study of American trees, and who is best known for his Handbook of Trees of the Northern States and Canada, long a standard reference work in American dendrology. In this work, Hough sought to describe the woods found in America, with a detailed description in an accompanying pamphlet, and with thin cross-sections of actual woods mounted and labeled in accompanying stiff cardboard mounts. These provide a unique record of American wood types, arranged geographically. Generally each species is shown with wood cut on traverse section, radial section, and tangential section. The samples are so thin as to be easily translucent. The age of these specimens gives them tremendous importance from an ecological standpoint, as well as their great interest to students of American furniture and woodcrafts.. The trees available to Hough at the time make such an endeavor impossible to contemplate today. Parts I-IV cover New York and adjacent states, part V covers Florida, parts VI-X describe the Pacific Slope, parts XI-XII cover the Atlantic states, and part XIII southern Florida. Part XIV contained a continuation of the work on the trees of Florida with text by Marjorie Hough, using specimens and notes prepared by her father before his death in 1924.

Hough explained the unique nature of the work thus: it is `illustrated by actual specimens, and being in this way an exhibition of nature itself it possesses a peculiar and great interest never found in a press-printed book. The specimens are....about 2 x 5 in. in size, and sufficiently thin to admit of examination in transmitted light...Looked at in reflected light they appear as in the board or log... These specimens are mounted in durable frame-like Bristol-board pages, with black waterproofed surfaces...and each bears printed in gilt-bronze the technical name of the species and its English, German, French and Spanish names. The pages are separable...and are accompanied with a full text...giving information as to the uses and physical properties of the woods, and distributions, habits of growth, botanical characters, habitats, medicinal properties, etc..., of the trees...The woods used for the specimens are personally collected by the author and are sectioned and prepared by a process of his own device'.

The card insert in part VII provides some insight into the hazards of producing the work. The card bears a printed note to the effect that the insert is to be used as a temporary replacement for sample 165, the wood for which had been cut and ready for mounting until it was discovered that it had been infested by boere beetle. The author promises to send out a replacement as soon as possible: this was evidently done as a perfect example of sample 165 is included here.

Complete sets of this work are very rare. The volumes were priced at five dollars each, a high price reflecting the work involved in assembling them. Since subscribers came and went over the 25-year period of publication and many only bought the volume or volumes on the areas that interested them. The rarity of complete sets can be judged from the fact that Stafleu and Cowan record the work as being complete in 6 volumes.

Stafleu & Cowan TL2 341.

#3833$36,000.00

  

4. John K. King, Used and Rare Books, Item book id 96-4148: $45,000.00

Hough, Romeyn B.

THE AMERICAN WOODS, Exhibited by Actual Specimens and with Copious Explanatory Text, 14 Parts

14 parts. Privately Printed: Lowville, NY 1910. 10 x 7", cloth, illus, ex-lib, 14 parts containing wood samples of various American tree species presented in transverse, radial and tangential sections on each card, contained in slipcased portfolios w/soft cover text for each part, green cloth slipcases with marbled edges, w/chromed metal locking clasps and corner bosses, part 2 lacks spine printing to slipcase, released from the reference library of a scientific institution, moderate library markings, lacking only 10 plates (2, 25, 38, 50, 143, 158, 179, 200, 256 and 347), mixed set with various editions and printings.


Book Id: 96-4148

Price: $45,000.00


5. Latest major art auction house prices realized for comprehensive - more than 1,000 different sections - collections of original Hough wood specimens:

a. On October 21, 2004 Swann Galleries, Inc. realized $28,000.00 for a comprehensive collection of 1,062 original Hough wood specimens, that by the aforementioned formula translates into a $20.52 value per each wood section, i.e. $28,000.00 minus 25% for texts leaves $21,000.00 divided by 1,062 equaling to $20.52 per wood section.

b. On June 18, 2004 Sotheby's realized $30,000.00 for a comprehensive collection of 1,143 original Hough wood specimens, that by the aforementioned formula translates into a $19.53 value per each wood section, i.e. $30.000.00 minus 25% for texts leaves $22,500 divided by 1,143 equaling to $19.53 per wood section.

NOTE: The per section value of original Hough wood specimens in these two major art auction houses increased by approximately 5% in the four month period between the two auctions.