about us

RIVERRUN specializes in rare, antiquarian,  and unusual books & literary manuscripts of all periods, with an emphasis on illustrated and artist's books, the fine and decorative arts, photography, architecture, design, fine literature, travel & exploration, science & technology, and Americana. We seek interesting and important material in all fields. 

We are members of the Antiquarian Booksellers of America Association, the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers, and are certified members of the Appraiser's Association of America.

 Riverrun's publishing imprint, Understory Books, issues photobooks, art, and poetry.

 

 

OUR HISTORY

RIVERRUN was founded in  Hastings-on-Hudson, NY in 1978 by Frank Scioscia, a former sales executive for Harper’s Books, and was continued from 1993 by his son-in-law, Christopher P. Stephens, whose career as a bookman has spanned four decades. RIVERRUN was purchased by Tom Lecky in the Summer of 2016. Riverrun moved to Ardsley, NY in 2019. 

 

Portrait of Thomas Lecky

Tom Lecky has nearly 30 years of experience appraising, advising, and selling books and manuscripts. Tom is the former Head of Christie’s New York Books & Manuscripts Department. He joined Christie’s as Vice President and Specialist in Printed Books in 1999. In 2006, Tom was named Head Department in North America and was promoted to Senior Vice President in 2014. In 2016, Tom purchased Riverrun Books & Manuscripts in Hastings-on-Hudson, NY, a forty-five-year old firm handling fine and rare books and manuscripts. He simultaneously founded Lecky Art Group LLC, an appraisal and advisory firm. He is a Certified Member of the Appraisers Association of America and a member of the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America.

 

 Tom has appraised numerous archives, including those of Harold Bloom, the composer Tania León, the poet Richard Wilbur, portions of the archive of Arthur Miller, and the physicist Alexander Rich. He appraised the Peter J. Solomon gift of important children’s books and manuscripts to the Houghton Library, the Stanley Scott gift of printed books to the Grolier Club, the gift of the most important collection of miniature books ever formed to the Houghton Library, and many other important items and collections handled anonymously.

Large-scale appraisal projects are a specialty and include the evaluation of the entire Rare Book collection of an important American religious institution (2023, approx. 30,000 items), the inventory one of the most prominent booksellers in the United States (2021, approximately 70,000 items), and three of the largest and most valuable private collections in the United States.

In his auction career, Tom catalogued the publisher’s copy of Isaac Newton’s Principia Mathematica sold at Christie’s New York in December 2016 for $3.7million, a world record for a scientific book. This beat the previous record, which Tom also catalogued: the Richard Green copy of Nicholaus Copernicus's De revolutionibus (1543) that sold for $2.2 million dollars. It remains a world auction record for any sixteenth-century book at auction. Another career highlight was the cataloguing of Abel Buell's 1783 map of the United States that sold for $2.1 million, a world auction record for any printed map. Other important sales include those of the Helmut N. Friedlaender Library (early printed books, science and literature); The Library of Abel E. Berland (English literature, early printed books); the Estelle Doheny Collection from St. Mary's of the Barrens, Perryville, Missouri (early printed books, Bibles, American literature); Masterpieces of Modern Literature: The Library of Roger Rechler; The Estate of Mary, Viscountess Eccles (English literature including Shakespeare) and The History of the Book: The Cornelius J. Hauck Collection (important historical texts, miniature books and bindings). Tom catalogued the groundbreaking sale The Origins of Cyberspace (2005), the first auction exclusively devoted to the history of the computer. Tom was an auctioneer at Christie's, and frequently appears as an appraiser on WGBH's Antiques Roadshow. Tom's skills extend beyond the fields of printed books and manuscripts: he was the specialist in charge of the sale of Bob Dylan's Fender Stratocaster that was used when he went electric at Newport, 1964: at $964,000, a world record for a guitar.

Prior to joining Christie's, Tom served as Director of the Books & Prints Departments at William Doyle Galleries in New York, and was also one of the firm’s principal auctioneers.

Tom was educated at Stanford University (MA American literature), Columbia College (BA English) and Choate Rosemary Hall. Tom is a photographer, musician, and writer. More about his work can be found through his personal website: tomlecky.com.

 

Memberships

Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America

International League of Antiquarian Booksellers

Appraisers Association of America, Certified Member

The Grolier Club, member since 1999

The Bibliographical Society of America

 

More about Tom Lecky can be found on his PBS Antiques Roadshow appraiser page and in these select mentions in the press:

Bomb Magazine: "The Multiple Becomes Unique: Interview with Tom Lecky"

Fine Books & Collections: "Bright Young Booksellers: Tom Lecky"

Rare Book Monthly: "Tom Lecky, the next stage"

NY Times: “Bits of History (of Bits) on the Auction Block.”

NBC News: “Science Books Fetch Astronomical Prices.”

USA Today: “Copernicus book sells for more than $2.2M in New York.”

The Guardian: “Philip Roth tops the bill at PEN's annotated first edition auction.”

BBC: “Globetrotters’ passion: Collecting maps.”

CNBC: “Walt Whitman Book Sells for $305,000.”

FOX News: “Bob Dylan Stratocaster Sets Auction Record, sells for nearly $1 million.”

KPBS: “This woman's reaction is no act when appraiser Thomas Lecky of Christie's reveals the value of her family's collection at "Antiques Roadshow" in Salt Lake City, Utah.”