• When Book Lovers Guarded Their Prized Possessions With Tiny Artworks In the near future, when books are looked upon as objects of pure nostalgia, the concept of a bookplate might need a bit of explaining: Before the reign of e-books, streaming content, and information stored in a mythical “cloud,” people stockpiled hardcovered paper objects full of written words. Of those educated persons who maintained personal libraries of their favorite tomes, the more affluent …
  • A Bookplate Junkie on the Basics of Collecting Ex Libris Bookplate mania peaked in America and England from 1890 to about 1920. That's when the really great collections were formed. Most of these were eventually either dispersed or absorbed into other collections. These collections are like old friends because they all came from the same gene pool: There were around 100 collectors who actively exchanged duplicates and many of the same core plates are to…
  • To Catch A Thief: A Rare Book Expert on His Literary Obsessions I don’t remember a time when I didn’t read books. In grade school, I devoured library books. I also loved comic books, and was wheeling and dealing them as a child—buying them for a nickel, sell them for dime. Bertrand Smith let me into the rare book room, and I bought a Maxwell Parrish "Arabian Nights." I bought an just for the illustrations. At the time I had no idea the artist was a Welsh wo…
  • The Last Word on First Editions Strictly speaking, a book’s edition refers to the setting of the text. So the first time you set the text and print a book with it, and then sell a bound book that you’ve just printed, that’s the first edition, first printing. If you use the same setup of text and print it again, that would be the second printing—a printing is therefore a subclass of an edition. The printing is also called the imp…