Richard Austin has over 10 years' experience appraising, cataloguing and selling books and manuscripts from the 15th to the 20th centuries. Beginning in the trade as an undergraduate while attending the University of Texas at Austin for a double major in film studies and English, he trained at one of the world's foremost humanities research libraries, the Harry Ransom Center, in their rare-book cataloguing department. He later organized their most successful public sale of duplicate material while continuing his studies and clerking for local booksellers.
Upon graduation Mr. Austin moved into the auction world by becoming first a cataloguer and eventually the specialist in books and manuscripts for Butterfield and Butterfield in San Francisco. There he remained for three years before accepting a position with Christie's New York as a vice president and department head in Books and Manuscripts. Mr. Austin has managed the sale of such diverse material as Incunabula and modern literature to Neal Armstrong's space suit and a pair of George Washington's pistols. He is currently an independent bookseller, consultant and appraiser in New York.