Books & Manuscripts
Stephen C. Massey is an independent adviser, appraiser, and consultant in the field of printed books, manuscripts, and graphics. He is the fourth generation of his family to specialize in this area and has more than 45 years of experience in valuing, cataloguing, and selling; including appraisal work for estate tax purposes, insurance, charitable contribution, family division, and estate planning. He has been a licensed auctioneer since 1981 and is senior international consultant to Bloomsbury Auctions, London.
Mr. Massey joined Christie's London in 1964 as a cataloguer in the Books & Manuscripts department. By 1975 he had been promoted to senior cataloguer and in that year he moved to New York as a specialist at Christie's Madison Avenue. In 1976 he founded the Printed Books & Manuscripts department of Christie's New York, Park Avenue and 59th Street, which started conducting sales in the U.S. in 1977. Positions held at Christie's New York include, successively, vice president (1977-1987), member of board of directors (1978-1990), senior vice president (1987-1996), International department head (1988-1991), and senior international consultant (1997-1999). He has been independent since 2000.
In London in 1966 Mr. Massey started specialized sales of natural-history books that have continued to date at Christie's. He catalogued sales of the Fortescue Aldine Press collection of Venetian books printed between 1495 and 1595 (1971); Incunabula (i.e., books printed before 1501) from Chatsworth (1970 and 1974); the Scott Collection of Naval Architecture (1974); and conducted insurance appraisals of the libraries at Anglesey Abbey (1966); Woburn Abbey (1968); Knowsley Hall (1971); Shirburn Castle (1969-1970); and Chatsworth (1968-1974).
In New York Mr. Massey catalogued and sold three copies of the first printing of the Declaration of Independence, six copies of the first edition of Audubon: The Birds of America, and two copies of the Western world's first printed book: the Gutenberg Bible (for $2.2 million and $5.39 million respectively). In the field of manuscripts, Mr. Massey sought out, secured for auction, catalogued and sold the Leonardo da Vinci Codex Leicester to Bill Gates for $30,802,500.
Recent and significant appraisals conducted by Mr. Massey include Lyndhurst (1998); Biltmore House (1998); Huntington Free Library (2000); Gilder Lehrman Collection (2001); Detroit Public Library (2002); New York Botanical Garden (2002); National Archives of Canada (2003); Manhattanville College (2003); American Bible Society (2004-2007); Carleton University Art Gallery (2006); and Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County (2007) Papers of Ambassador William Bullitt and Louise Bryant (2008); Library and Papers of Joseph F. McCrindle (2008, 2009); Washington National Cathedral Library (2010).
Mr. Massey is a native of London, England. He resides in New York City. He is a member of the Association Internationale de Bibliophilie, the Grolier Club, the Garrick Club, and the Old Book Table. As well as his work and all of the catalogue reading it entails, Mr. Massey enjoys running, movies, music, history, and travel.