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Monday, August 15, 2011

A calm and reasoned response to a London journalist about the state of map collecting.


Here is his letter to me:

Hi Graham,

My name is Simon Garfield, an author and journalist for the Observer in London. I'm currently writing a book about maps for publication by Profile in the UK and Penguin US in October 2012, and I'd very much like to talk to you.

The book will be aimed at a general reader, and will provide a narrative-led anecdotal history of maps - their development, use and philosophy - from medieval times to the present. It will be a journalistic rather than an academic study, and will include much fresh and lively material (an interview, for example, with the men who tried to sell the Hereford Mappa Mundi, a month in the company of the man trying to recreate Roosevelt's giant globe).

When it comes to map dealership, all roads lead to Arader. I know you've featured in books before, but I wonder if I could persuade you to sit down for another chat about your life and world. I've talked to a couple of knowledgeable dealers in the UK, terribly nice, but slightly dull. So I need you in there, not just for your experience and influence, but also your willingness to share them openly.
I'm coming to New York in mid-September for the launch of my most recent book (Just My Type, about the history of fonts), published by Gotham/Penguin. I'll be available anytime between Thursday 15th to Tuesday 20th inclusive, so I wonder, if you're agreeable, whether any of these dates suit. 

With good wishes,
Simon  
Simon Garfield
www.simongarfield.com

07770 482 497
 
Here is my answer to him:
 
Dear Simon, 
 
Would love to meet with you anytime that works for you.

Read my blog.  The reason no one wants to speak with you is because what they are doing is dishonest, sacrilegious and wicked.  Sothebys has just done a much, much, much, much better job and drives all the dealers to ack like common criminals tarting things up, buying from fences and even doing a little stealing themselves.  Cathy Slowther runs the dept at Sothebys and has risen to the top with her steady, cheerful, professional business practices.

Christies in neither good nor bad.  They just dont care.  So Sothebys runs the world market right now.  But Bonhams is coming up fast and is worth interviewing.  David Park and his team are highly capable.

I have been only able to find TWO honest map dealers other than myself in 40 years.  They are Daniel Crouch in London and Oxford and then there is Pierre Joppen in Paris, the king of the good deal and super honest.  They are being copied for you to contact if you wish.  Bruce Marshall comes up with great atlases and is very honest but does not focus on single sheet maps.

Read my blog to get a 1% sense of the crap that I have been putting up with for 40 years.

Just think about it - with what you have learned so far and with the interest that you have already developed, tell me what you think about someone like Potter on Bond Street coloring up maps for ignorant Americans looking for something to do because they have been outbid by obese Saudi's for all the good hookers. And then there is Sanderous in Ghent who tries to color up maps so that they look like original color.  He is getting really good at it and is the world's master faker in this field polluting book fairs and chumming auctions with his Frankensteins.

Sadly competing with these monsters has driven me around the bend.

All during this time miraculously I have been able to give away well over $50,000,000 of inventory to Universities and Colleges in the USA and Switzerland.  Now the material is being used by professors to teach students who are our hope for the future.  It is the only thing that is keeping me out of a straight-jacket.

If you take the time to read my blog, you will get a flavor of what I have been up to in the midst of a snake pit that would even drive Indiana Jones to blanch. 

When you come to NYC, you will see the ONLY stock of significant maps and atlases for sale in the world.   It is about $500,000,000 of all the best possible material. 

See you when it works for you.

Best,

Graham

Graham Arader
29 East 72nd Street
NYC, NY
10021

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