To whom it may concern:
My qualifications as an expert appraiser of Rare Books & Ancient Manuscripts include:
Over ten years experience (1990-2000) as Manager of the largest, finest, and most successful antiquarian book shop in the history of the United States: Heritage Book Shop, Inc. of Los Angeles, where I specialized in manuscript & early printed Bibles, Medieval & Renaissance books & manuscripts, fine printing, fine bindings, the 19th Century novel (especially Charles Dickens), and finely bound collected sets. My responsibilities were buying, selling, and appraising antiquarian books in many different fields, as well as staff management.
From 1990 through 2000, I personally generated or saw through the press four or five catalogues per year, describing and pricing rare books & manuscripts dating from the 13th century to modern times.
As an independent private dealer since 2001, I have continued to specialize in rare early printed Bibles & Biblical manuscripts, Ancient Writing Systems, and Medieval & Renaissance illuminated manuscripts, both religious and secular.
From 2001 through 2003 I had an open shop and gallery on Melrose Place in West Hollywood.
Since 2003 I have been exclusively a private dealer.
I am one of only a handful of dealers in history to have bought and sold genuinely ancient Biblical manuscripts, that is from 700 BC to AD 350, and one of the few ever to deal actively in ancient languages such as Bactrian, Ugaritic, Assyrian, Sumerian, Proto-Canaanitic, Paleo-Hebrew, Aramaic, pre-Islamic Arabic, Indus Valley Script, etc., whether on clay, linen, metal, parchment, bone, bark, or wood. I am, I believe, the only dealer ever to acquire and place actual
Dead Sea Scroll fragments (in Hebrew, Paleo-Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek), early Homeric papyri, New Testament Greek papyri, Dunhuang Manuscripts (Chinese), and authentic examples of the Hayakumanto Dharani scrolls (Japanese).
As an independent expert in the history of Biblical Manuscripts and other Ancient Writings and Writing Systems, I have lectured at hundreds of churches, schools, private & civic luncheons & dinners, and museums & universities. As an independent expert in the history of Biblical Manuscripts and other Ancient Writings and Writing Systems, I have lectured at hundreds of churches, schools, private & civic luncheons & dinners, and museums & universities.
I have been interviewed widely on the history of the Bible and Ancient Writing on Christian & secular radio, Christian & secular television, and Christian, Jewish & secular newspapers around America and Europe, including USA Today, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and The Wall Street Journal.
I have also lectured widely (hundreds of times nation wide) on various bibliographical, valuation, and historical aspects of rare books and manuscripts, including: Charles Dickens; Jane Austen; the Renaissance overlapping of the manuscript & early printed traditions of Holy Scripture & Classical Literature, Theology, Philosophy & Science; the history and social impact of the Geneva Bible; the making of the King James Bible; the Development of Ancient Writing Systems; the history of The Apocrypha; and the Bible in America.
I have published biographical & bibliographical & valuation articles on: Charles Dickens; Anthony Trollope; Edgar Allan Poe, including a bibliography of all first appearances; The Arabian Nights in Arabic, French and English; Victorian Women Novelists; Jules Verne in French and English (including British and American first editions); Ian Fleming, including writing the definitive bibliography of the James Bond novels in British and American first editions; Boris Pasternak's working and type-setting manuscripts of Doctor Zhivago in Cyrillic and its printed editions in Russian, Italian and English; and the works, bibliography and market values of the greatest writer of the 20th Century, James Joyce. I am a fifteen-year member of the editorial board of FIRSTS Magazine, a highly respected journal for collectors of Modern First Editions.
I am an acknowledged valuation contributor to the second through fourth editions of Collected Books: The Guide to Identification and Values by Allen & Patricia Ahearn, especially the Dickens section, pp.221-224. This publication is a vade mecum of the antiquarian book trade for valuation purposes.
My paperback history of the Bible -- "Dead Sea Scrolls to the Bible in America" -- has sold over 45,000 copies to the public, covering the History of Scripture from the very origins of human writing to the first Bible that went to the Moon and has been translated into and published in Mandarin Chinese and Indonesian.
I have built and appraised several of the very finest private collections in America, England, Japan and Mexico in the fields of: 19th Century Literature; 20th Century Literature: the History of Printing; the History of Writing; the History of Economics; the History of Political Theory; the History of Science; Pacific Voyages; Children's Books; the History of Theology; and the Bible.
As manager of Heritage Book Shop, Inc. of Los Angeles, I have exhibited rare books and manuscripts for sale at the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America and International League of Antiquarian Booksellers book fairs from 1990-2000 at New York, San Francisco, Boston, London, Tokyo, and Los Angeles.
In 2000 and in 2001, I organized, supervised, and promoted joint commercial exhibitions of illuminated manuscripts in Los Angeles and Tokyo worth over $20 million with dealers from Los Angeles, Paris, London, Hamburg, and Amsterdam.
As a private dealer since 2001, I have exhibited rare books, manuscripts, and writing-related antiquities for sale in New York (Madison Square Garden); Palm Beach (International Fine Art Fair); Dallas (The Biblical Arts Center); Los Angeles; Tokyo; Maastricht, The Netherlands at The European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF)(the world's largest and most exclusive and prestigious); and Basel, Switzerland at the CULTURA Art and Antiquities Fair (the world's finest and most respected in antiquities).
I routinely provide appraisals for insurance coverage, inheritance or estate taxes, gift and charitable contribution purposes, and net worth statements.
In sum, I have worked as a qualified appraiser for insurance and official tax purposes in the field of Rare Books & Manuscripts for over nineteen years.
In the last nine years I have appraised over $180 million worth of rare books and ancient manuscripts.
My appraisals comply with current Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP), the Code of Ethics and By-Laws of the Appraisers Association of America (of which I am a member), all government regulations, and all IRS policies (including the most recent definitions in IRC Sec. 170(f)(11)(E) and other provisions of the Pension Protection Act of 2006.
I prepare objective, accurate appraisals for all fair market value definitions (FMV), as well as replacement, estate, net worth, liquidation and marketable cash values if so desired by the client.
For Noncash Contributions to 501(c)3 institutions, my appraisal fee includes, without additional charge, a properly filled-out IRS Form 8283 and any conversations or correspondence with the client's accountant that may be necessary.
Each item appraised is checked for authenticity and carefully and thoroughly described.
Full scientific reports by my science consultants in Germany are available for extremely ancient material. I use Antiques-Analytics in Eppstein Germany and a sample of their work for me on Ancient Manuscripts can be provided to interested clients.
If required, top scholars in specific ancient languages and paleography are consulted, and their separate reports are included. I have such experts ready in almost every ancient language and medium.
I conduct comparative research ("comparanda") going back over 30 years at auction, and on the open market, and on the high-end private market, to which I have a very exclusive access level based on my extensive experience and highly-placed contacts.
I appraise only within the fields of my considerable expertise: Rare Books and Manuscripts, especially Ancient Manuscripts and Biblical material.
However, because of my status as a Maastricht exhibitor, a Basel exhibitor, and former member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of American and the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers, my "rolodex" includes many of the top experts in other fields of collecting, and I am always happy to make referrals for serious collectors of genuinely valuable material in other fields.
As a rare book and manuscript expert witness and appraiser, I am represented by LEXPERT Research of Malibu, a provider of expert witnesses for California attorneys.
I am listed with LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell (America's leading directory of litigation support services) as Expert Witness, Rare Books & Manuscripts (under Experts and Services) and Expert Appraiser, Rare Books & Manuscripts (under Appraisals and Valuation).
All appraisal work is completed and billed by either my daily or weekly rate (in Los Angeles or out of town) or by negotiated fixed rate, never related to the value assigned to your material. I will appraise a single item or an entire collection, if the material merits an appraisal at my level of expense and expertise. I will advise in advance if conditions are otherwise.
I have done five-, six-, seven-, and eight-figure appraisals of single items and/or collections for such institutions as: Cornell University; Princeton University; Stanford University; The Rawlings Foundation; Heritage Auction Galleries (Dallas); Columbia University; The Remnant Trust; The Robert Maxwell Archives (Lot-et-Garonne, France); United States Council for International Business (USCIB); American Communications Network; The William B. Provine Archives of Evolutionary Science; Boston University; The Rothschild Family Trust; The Biblical Arts Center (Dallas); Bible League Asia (Singapore); Hardin-Simmons University (Abilene, TX); Credit Suisse/First Boston; Bucknell University (Lewisburg, PA); The Early Manuscripts Electronic Library at UCLA, Arizona State University; Princeton Theological Seminary; Wycliffe Bible Translators Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics (Dallas); West Africa Theological Seminary (Lagos, Nigeria); Georgetown University, University of Pennsylvania, and many other clients, public and private, large and small.
There is no academic or professional education course or series of courses that can prepare one thoroughly for appraising material as rare and arcane as the type of antiquarian books and ancient manuscripts in which I specialize; the hands-on experience factor is the determining factor in qualification.
For the record, my educational background is:
College at University of Miami. Graduated at age twenty with 4.0 GPA, ranked #1 in the Class of '75. Summa cum laude. Bachelor's Degree with double major in Mass Communications and Philosophy (Intellectual Development of Europe).
High School at Academia del Perpetuo Socorro in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Presidential Scholar; officially ranked by the United States Government as one of the top 104 graduating seniors in the United States of America in 1972.
Member or Member Emeritus:
Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America (ABAA);
International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB & LILA);
Appraisers Society of America (ASA);
The International Society of Professional Valuers;
The Dramatists Guild;
The Authors League;
Writers Guild of America, West;
The Producers Guild;
American Society of Papyrologists (ASP);
Association Internationale de Papyrologues (AIP);
American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR);
Society of Biblical Literature (SBL);
The Charles Dickens Society;
Internationale Coronelli-Gesellschaft fur Globenkunde
(The International Coronelli Society for the Study of Globes);
The Jane Austen Society.
The Tyndale Society (USA)
Furthermore (if this appraisal accompanies an IRS Form 8283):
If the appraisal involves ancient manuscript material I insist on Expert Report analysis through Antiques-Analytics of Eppstein, Germany, at the owner’s expense.
Shipment of appraised material to and from is to be paid for by owner. All transit insurance liabilities are the owner’s responsibility and proof of insurance or a legally binding “hold harmless” is required.
I charge $3,000 minimum for a full 8283 appraisal package: the form, signed and filled out; the description / appraisal with all the statements and comparanda needed to fulfill the IRC requirements. If the material is being donated to a bona fide MINISTRY 501c3 I always give a courtesy discount on MY fee of $500, so the invoice due is reduced to $2,500.
I have not based my fees on the value of this appraisal, but rather on my standard hourly or daily rates in Los Angeles or out of town, as the case may be, which are publicly expressed consistently as $350 per hour or $2,500 per day in Los Angeles and $3,500 per day out of town, plus travel, rental car and accommodation.
I do not rely on ANY OTHER DEALER’S description or pricing, or any PRIOR appraisal, unless the appraiser and his or her qualifications are personally known to me and the appraisal is an original of the document, signed and dated in holograph manuscript.
I do not suggest, much less guarantee, what the appraisal amount will be in advance of MY expert’s detailed report and MY search of contemporary and historical comparanda. I do not accept any suggestions of worth from the owner. I do not base an appraisal on the cost of an item; I appraise from scratch.
I do not begin work without payment in full and there is no possibility of a refund if the final appraisal is less than what the owner was expecting or what the owner might have been told the item was worth by anyone else, whether private or professional.
I have never been prohibited from practicing before the IRS under section 330c of Title 31 of the Internal Revenue Code.
This appraisal is specifically a Fair Market Value appraisal for income tax purposes, to be filed with an IRS Form 8283. Fair Market determinations follow IRS Publication 561 guidelines.
I understand that a substantial or gross valuation misstatement resulting from the appraisal of the value of the property that I know, or reasonably should know, would be used in connection with a return or claim for refund, may subject me to the penalty under IRC Section 6695A.
I do not offer tax advice, tax form preparation advice or assistance, or legal advice;
I was not a party to the sale or purchase of any of the items on this appraisal.
I understand the gift is to be used properly and legally by the receiving institution.
I regularly perform appraisals of rare books and manuscripts as part of my general business and receive a substantial percentage of my income as a professional appraiser within this field.
Member, American Society of Appraisers (ASA), International Society of Professional Valuers, Los Angeles Chapter (Personal Property, candidate member), abiding by their standards of ethics and practice, in accordance with the Appraisal Foundation (Washington, DC) and the House Sub-Committee on Appraisal Practices.
Lee Biondi, proprietor
Biondi Rare Books & Manuscripts