John Dorfman joins Skinner as director of Books & Manuscripts

Skinner Auctioneers announces the appointment of John Dorfman as the company’s director of Books & Manuscripts. Image courtesy of Skinner Auctioneers

Skinner Auctioneers announces the appointment of John Dorfman as the company’s director of Books & Manuscripts. Image courtesy of Skinner Auctioneers

MARLBOROUGH, Mass. — Skinner Auctioneers announces the appointment of John Dorfman as the company’s director of Books & Manuscripts. In his capacity with the auction house, Dorfman will oversee the research, acquisition and sale of rare books, historical documents, autographs and ephemera.

A lover of literature and a lifelong aficionado of the printed page, Dorfman arrives at Skinner from the field of arts journalism. Having spent the past 16 years as editor-in-chief and senior editor of the national magazine Art & Antiques, Dorfman has considerable experience with the auction world’s priorities and proclivities through his extensive coverage of notable sales. His work as a journalist stretches back nearly three decades, and includes staff positions at Art + Auction, The Forward and The New Yorker. He has also contributed articles and reviews to a broad range of publications, including Archaeology, Columbia Journalism Review, Discover, Lingua Franca, The New York Times and The Washington Post.

“John’s catholic tastes and love of the written word position him to skillfully vet and auction the myriad books and manuscripts we encounter daily at Skinner. I anticipate an exciting 2022 auction season under John’s leadership,” said CEO of Skinner Karen Keane.

Having received his undergraduate degree in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton in 1988, Dorfman later attended Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, in the Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations department. Following a personal interest that had stayed with him since childhood, he became professionally involved with several antiquarian collectors and booksellers in the Boston area during this time, assisting the owners with cataloging, customer relations, scouting and buying, often from Skinner. His long experience in the field of books and manuscripts, combined with his time deeply immersed in the market places him in an ideal position as department director.

“This job is every rare book lover’s dream. I am thrilled to come on board with Skinner and to have the opportunity to work with such a wide variety of written and printed materials, ensuring that they are enjoyed for generations to come. Participating in this experience will be an adventure in learning,” said Dorfman, who noted that he looks forward to the hands-on work and careful research required in engaging with collectible objects. His arrival comes shortly before an upcoming Books & Manuscripts auction in August, a highlight of which is anticipated to be an exceptional version of J.J. Audubon’s Birds of America, first Octavo edition, in its complete seven-volume set, estimated at $20,000-$30,000.

Now back in the Boston area, Dorfman anticipates a long and productive tenure with the auction house. Particularly interested in finding new sources for consignment, Dorfman also hopes to expand upon the company’s customer base, bringing greater attention to the remarkable and wide-ranging items of quality for which Skinner is already known. With a keen eye for binding, typesetting and the other material details which make up the art of the book, Dorfman anticipates a bright future of rare and remarkable finds.