Live auction not too lively, but, hey, there’s still online

An unsold work — an autobiography by Richard Hell — being presented for inspection before the bookstore’s auction.  Photo by Bob Krasner

An unsold work — an autobiography by Richard Hell — being presented for inspection before the bookstore’s auction. Photo by Bob Krasner

BY BOB KRASNER  |  Despite the help of mainstream press (Wall Street Journal), radio (“All Things Considered”) and local outlets (such as this paper), the live benefit auction held by St. Mark’s Bookshop last Thursday was not an auspicious start to its campaign to fund the shop’s upcoming move. Eleven signed, first-edition books were offered, but hands stayed down, with only one exception — Anne Waldman’s “First Baby Poems,” which sold for $100. Peter Straub, Sam Shepard and Richard Hell were a few of the authors whose works were returned to the shelf. These and many others, however, are still part of the online auction, which continues until Dec. 15.

Bob Contant, the bookshop’s co-owner, was not bemoaning the results.

“Expectations were not high to begin with” for the live portion of the ongoing auction, he noted. “We are happy that people showed up. At least the word is out and attention is being paid.”

East Village resident Brittney Ingarra, an auctioneer from Swann Galleries who provided her services pro bono, gracefully sailed through the lack of action as one lot after another failed to generate any interest. Her participation was the result of a connection to Swann through former St. Mark’s Bookshop employee John Larson, who is now a book specialist at the auction house.

Many of the people involved in the project were not paid, having donated their services to the cause. Erica Hunt, a consultant who specializes in nonprofit organizations, is one one of them. Hunt actually came up with the idea for the auction and is seeing it through without compensation. She is optimistic about both the outcome of the project and the future of the store.

“We are fortunate that the auction will continue online,” she said, adding, “This is the right community to support the store — highly educated and cultured.”

Bidding continues online through Sun., Dec. 15, at 10 p.m. at  http://benefitevents.com/auctions/stmarksbooks.

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