104 East 25th Street
You're feeling the urge to start collecting photography, works on paper, maps, or rare books, but you don't fancy falling through the rabbit hole into the world of dealers and galleries. If you like bidding and appreciate a bargain, you can bypass all that and do what the dealers do: Start haunting the weekly auctions at Swann Galleries. This small, unpretentious auction house is a terrific source for autographs, posters, African-Americana both printed and in manuscript form, and collectible cameras and viewing devices; its specialists are happy to answer all questions (without making you feel like a pathetic idiot). Novices shouldn't worry about going terribly wrong -- Swann's quality is high but its price range is notably broad, so you can test the waters without spending a painful amount. Catalogues are available individually or by subscription by writing or calling Swann, and can be viewed at www.swanngalleries.com.
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