RARE BOOK GUIDE - THE RUNNERS, THE RIDERS & THE ODDS

16 January 2008

Sumo. Helmut Newton, 1999.


Helmut Newton. SUMO. Taschen, Cologne, 1999. ISBN: 3822863947

Current Selling Prices
$7000-$12000 /£3500-£6000






PHOTOGRAPHY / EROTICA
Last time we sold a copy this was our description:
'Elephant Folio. 480 pages, photos throughout in colour and b/w. 50 x 70 cm (20 x 27.5 inches) and weighing approx. 30 kg (66 lb.) Monumental, staggeringly big and heavy limited edition signed on the title page by Helmut Newton & edited by his wife June Newton (aka Alice Springs) Nudes, fashion photographs, celebrity portraits and erotica. The result of a Benedikt Taschen project at one time said to have circa fifty people working on it, with a cost of over 3 miliion dollars. The book is in fine condition in fine d/w in its original packing box complete with special nickel plated table/ stand designed by hip interior designer Philippe Starck and commisioned by Newton's friend publisher Benedikt Taschen. Nota Bene--this book weighs over 30 kilos and therefore additional shipping costs will have to apply. Literally the ultimate coffee table book.'
Somebody bought it in 2004/5 from Switzerland, we were glad it wasn't America - postage could have been up to $800. It needs 2 people to lift the package with its coffee table enclosed and it is of enormous dimensions 'putting the elephant back into elephant folio' as one wit observed. The post office won't touch it.

2 things to note about the book - it is not especially scarce as there were 10,000 produced and at one time it was remaindered as low as $500. Secondly the Starck table doesn't really work and often collapses with its sharp edges seriously affecting the books condition. There are usually a few nasty copies online at lesser prices that have been in a Starck collapse. Nice idea though and a sort of visual pun - the book as coffee table.

Newton's work is portentous rather than pretentious and in the trend driven world of photo collecting no one so far has blown the whistle on him, so his status is good. Talking of pretentious - the fashionista Karl Lagerfeld said of him "Cool for him is the exact opposite of Romantic and Sentimental two words that don't belong in his vocabulary.---- The secret of its potency (his art) lies in a mixture, which is hard to define, of distance and availability.."

His photographs were described by JG Ballard, as ’stills from an elegant and erotic movie, perhaps entitled ‘Midnight at the Villa d’Este’ or ‘Afternoons in Super-Cannes’, a virtual film that has never played at any theatre, but has screened itself inside our heads for the last 40 years’. …Ballard puts him in the in formal Surrealist tradition of Delvaux or Magritte rather than photo heros such as August Sander or Cartier-Bresson - 'certainly his models constantly seem lost, surprised, or entranced, his exotic backdrops oddly incongruous, as if we are suddenly being afforded a glimpse of a bigger narrative whose contours we can only guess at.'

Taschen, something of a blagueur claims that it is the biggest and most costly book ever produced. Can't dispute that at the moment but I have a feeling the big Audubon Birds is bigger and surely in the history of books someone spent more on producing a book?

VALUE? Hard to find one anywhere for less than £3K at present and it would be best to find one nearby where it can be picked up in a car or van. One with 'severe damage' (see reason above) can be found at a stroppy $3500. A few chancers (mostly relisters) want $10,000 to $12000 for one but are best avoided utterly. Amazon USA has several at $6500 with no provision as far as I can see for charging more than nominal postage, in fact postage is free if bought in the next 28 hours!.

Ours made £3000 on ebay, it can make a little less there but it appears to be still an object of desire. With 10,000 out there it is going to be traded until Armageddon comes.



STOP PRESS. Jan/08. 'Sumo' has risen in value and the cheapest copy I can find is at $8500 (Ebay shop) with all other copies $12000 or more with one crazy guy looking for $30000. One interesting copy at $14000 claims to be 'one of 200.' This is a book to buy on Ebay or in a shop, for the moment only economic meltdown is going to soften prices to the price level where I did the entry above (March 2007). Last word with Benedikt Taschen, no stranger to hubris, hyperbole and hype:-
"...Binding the book was another major challenge. Never before has a book of this size and weight been printed. SUMO is a vision become paper, full of so much labour and so many memories. An adventure. A project that has resulted not only in a book that makes us proud and happy, but also a new friendship. I used to admire Helmut Newton for his work. Today he is a friend. Helmut Newton's SUMO is destined to be the most successful book of the 21st century. It's my favourite book already."


I have seen books bigger than this--L.A. dealer Eric Chaim Kline hauled a book three times this size to last years ABAA fair in San Francisco. Some Audubons are bigger and I swear I saw a book the size of a door in a botanical dealer's stock in Manhattan. That being said this SUMO is probably the biggest book to have been sold in regular bookshops for many a year.

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

Way cool blog dude. We bought a Sumo and had to wrestle it (get it?) upstairs to our bookroom. Had heard about the spiky table so left that in its box. It came with DHL and it has pride of place gflat on the table next to some other whoppers. It cost about what you are saying at the lower scale.

Anonymous said...

I reckon Owen Jones produced at least two books as big as this if not bigger - the special editions of Alhambra and Grammar of Ornament. Size isn't everything!

Chi Kee Hunt said...

It's not easy smuggling this book into the toilet.

pearly43 said...

i have 2 new sumos for sale. they are sealed. one is number 2929.
you can email me at yourbookshop@aol.com if you wish to purchase one.

Anonymous said...

Hello I got one sumo for sale.
no. 01130. If you are interested in it please email me. borse20@gmx.de.

pearly43 said...

i have a herlmut sumo book new sealed for sale. please email me at yourbookshop@aol.com.

Anonymous said...

looking for one and believe me some prices are crazy! anyone with a good offer willing to shil to cyprus, pls contact me at eva.smf@cytanet.com.cy
eva

sj24 said...

Hello, I own a copy, it's in ABSOLOUT MINT CONDITION (dust jacket too) as I only opened it once to look at it but never had the guts to use it as a coffee table! Anyway I am now thinking about selling it...

I am based in northern Italy, i have a full set of pictures available. it's number 03424. No idea on how to ship it, I have a Paypal account

for more info and pictures write me at straitjacket24@hotmail.com

cheers to all!

Anonymous said...

HI STRAITJACKET YOU JUST EMAILED ME RECENTLY OFFERING TO BUY MY SUMO. KINDA WEIRD BEING THAT YOUR ADVERTISING ONE. DO YOU REALLY OWN ONE?

Anonymous said...

HI

I HAVE 2 SUMO BOOKS FOR SALE. ONE IS A VERY LOW NUMBER . BOTH ARE NEW MINT SEALED. I HAVE SOLD TONS OF THESE OVER THE LAST 4 YRS. YOU CAN EMAIL ME AT BOOKSFORME44@AOL.COM IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS.

Anonymous said...

I own a SUMO in the 9,000 range which I am preparing to sell to the highest bidder.

It is my first foray into book sales, but I was the photographer for the Design Dept. / National Gallery, Wash. DC for 10 years, so I know how to handle rare objects, including photos.

I felt compelled to check the quality of the book (how else to represent it's quality to another buyer?) and I must be honest that, upon VERY close inspection, using utmost care and cotton gloves, I noticed that TASCHEN handlers had very slightly crimped the center of the pages (which are HUGE and difficult to turn without extreme care), most likely while doing their quality inspection.

It saddened me, I expected more from TASCHEN for such a special book, but I am glad to report that my book is in MINT condition, including dust jacket, Starck's table is still shrink-wrapped and it will make some buyer very happy. contact me at bschaef@erols.com if you are interested in bidding. thanks!

Felipe said...

I have two, in perfect conditions, they are only in a store box, i live in America, Mexico, Contact me khuaki@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

FELIPE ARE YOU IN MEXICO OR THE UNITED STATES? MEXICO IS NOT IN THE U.S. HOW WILL YOU SHIP THESE OUT OF MEXICO AS I HAVE HEARD MEXIOC IS THE WORSE PLACE TO SHIP OUT OF AND THEY STEAL THINGS.

Anonymous said...

I HAVE A VERY LOW NUMBER SUMO BOOK FOR ANYONE INTERESTED. EMAIL ME AT BOOKSFORME44@AOL.COM. ITS NEW STILL IN ALL ORIGINAL PACKAGING.

Anonymous said...

helmut newton sumo book brand new . sealed all in the original box with table signed. i can ship worldwide also thru fedex. cost fro shipping overseas for this big is like 700.00. its not cheap. email me at suisanet@aol.com. thanks

Anonymous said...

still have a sumo to sell for 5000 euros/4500gbp/7000usd I am straitjacket24@hotmail.com

To the anonymous who claimed i tried to buy a copy i say, do you need a photo or two?

Anonymous said...

Hi I'm looking to find a Helmut Newton Sumo book with orig table (not fussed if it's a little damaged) Must send pictures. Looking to spend up to $3,000 USD. Including shipping to Australia Please contact me at andrewrivelli@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

Honestly a sumo for 3000? Post when you find one for that price. You will probably be posting sometime in your next life. Ok maybe we can also find you picasso for 500.00. LOL

Anonymous said...

Low number brand new sumo still available. Brand new witt table signed. I would accept the last price Taschen has it listed at. 15,000.00. When they raise the price which should be this year then I will also. This item is very valuable that is why there are people out there still looking for it. One sold at auction in paris for 29,000 and this will be worth like 40,000 by the end of next year. Yes! for those who question the 40,000. When I said the book would sell at 15,000 2 years ago people were shocked . Well keep an eye out because this will continue to go up and up in value. There are very very few left and that makes it even more valuable.

Karl Lagerhead said...

There were 10000 printed and as soon as the word gets out that it can reach $10000 people will start ofloading this concrete slab of a book. So far these prices are only known to photo people and seedy dealers, put it in the Daily Mail or the NY post and they will come out of the woodwork. It was remaindered at £300 when it first appeared. A geyser offered one for $7000 last week (see above). Paris is the home of laughable auction results. Newton was no Bill Brandt. Good luck to the chap looking for a crap one at $3000, I doubt his search will be in vain.

Anonymous said...

$3000 for a used Sumo? It could happen but not with shipping to Australia. If a copy crashes of its wobbly Starck table and lads very badly somewhere near Porpoise Spit, Q'Land you may be in luck.

Anonymous said...

used crap ones are selling for 12,000.00 right now on ebay. newton was not bill brandt but he must have been somone special. people love his work. a rather large picture of his sold at auction for 680,000 not to long ago. he is doing better than bill brandt. i had a korean guy buy 10 of these at 6000 a pop and that was 3 years ago. figure that. gues that guy knew what he was buying. yup the guy looking for the 3000.00 better take a chair . dont wait standing up.

Anonymous said...

Hi all thanks for your input. (And criticism) I couldn't give a rats ass what the book is worth and what it might be worth in 2-10 years. I think it's worth a shot asking for one for $3000. I'm not some art collecting yupee, I just like the photos. So to you all who's pockets are deeper than mine to spend $10,000 on a book, good luck to you.

Anonymous said...

hi, i am interested in buying the original mona lisa for 2500.00. if anyone can accomodate this request please email me. i kno wits worth millions but thats all i have.

now how does this sound???? i mean really wake up.

Anonymous said...

I have the SUMO book #917. This will sounds crazy, but I liked SOME of the photos so much that I extracted them from the Book, had them matted and framed and are now filling the once bare walls space in both my homes with them. The rest of the book and photos are for sale. Contact: mcloud34@aol.com if interested. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

hi, i have sumo no 37 for sale for about 5000$. jacket with serious damages and no stand. located in switzerland. please email me at winwin69@gmx.ch

Anonymous said...

I have a new Helmut Newton Sumo Book for sale. Used ones, torn ones, pages gone, etc are going for thousands. I have a new sealed book. I will sell for the retail price of a new one. 15,000.
if its overseas you must pay shipping and insure the book. email me with any questions you may have. yourbookshop@aol.com

Anonymous said...

brand new sumo sealed. email me at asrram@aol.com.
12,000.00 u.s dollars. serious buyers i will email you my phone number and we can discuss.

Martin Aimless said...

If it weren't for Ballards comments I might think Newton was a pretentious tosspot.

Still wrestling with it.

Anonymous said...

HI, I have a brand new sumo for sale all in original packaging. Shipping oversease for this is like 800 thru Fedex. I am asking 10,000.00 for the book U.S dollars. Email me at booksforme44@aol.com if your interested.

Anonymous said...

Hello,I have a brand new Sumo for sale in original packaging also with Starck table.I am asking £12000 for it with buyer paying delivery and insurance.Email me at donald.smith@virgin.net if you are interested.ps I also have a Madonna original foil wrapped(unopened)book,serious offers welcomed.

Anonymous said...

Hello,I have a brand new Sumo for sale in original packaging also with Starck table.I am asking £12000 for it with buyer paying delivery and insurance.Email me at donald.smith@virgin.net if you are interested.ps I also have a Madonna original foil wrapped(unopened)book,serious offers welcomed.

Big Tobacco said...

ABE has copies as low as £4400. The Madonna foil job is worth about the same as a tandoori dinner without beer (for two). If the Sumo was delivered by Madonna £12k would be good.

Jessy said...

I have Sumo by Helmut Newton with this book table By Philippe Starck. for 6 years +/-,The book cover is missing and the book has a few water stains and a few scuffs, but inside is perfect,I have in my studio. I change the house I don't have space for this.

I sell low price,contact crumon007@yahoo.com, serious offers welcome, please no spam.

Anonymous said...

I have a NEW SUMO by Helmut NEWTON w/stand by STARCK. Never opened, in original box. Shipping worlwide (not included).
I can sold it for € 35.000
please write to: sumo@parmashooting.eu

BUY A SUMO said...

info@parmashooting.eu

Don John of Austria said...

Why would someone pay you 35000 Euros for a book that can be found in fine condition at a quarter of this price?

Many copies at less than $10000 mega-chump

Starck staring bonkers baby. DUHHHHHH! Etc

DJ

Anonymous said...

So go buy it your smelly Austria jerk! Lol

albert mollon said...

I have big Sumo, ina good condition, with a new dust jacket, Philipp starck stand in good condition, number 6598. Interested send me an email. Located in Barcelona (Spain). albert_mollon@hotmail.com . price:7000€

Graham Stamp said...

I have a Sumo. Only opened to take pictures for sale.
It's immaculate and as brand new boxed and never been even sat on the stand.
As its sooooo perfect I'm looking to get good money for it.
If you are serious about buying a mint condition example. Email me. I'm in West London England.
Stampyman@me.com or stampyman@gmail.com

Graham Stamp said...
This comment has been removed by the author.