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Audrey Golden
World literature scholar and erstwhile lawyer. Lover of international travel, outdoor markets, and rare books.

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Seattle's Rare Book Scene

By Audrey Golden. Apr 7, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Literary travel, travel guides

Whenever we’re traveling for business or pleasure, we make sure to carve out a few hours—or more!—to visit local rare bookstores. When it comes to a stop in Seattle, there are some fantastic shops that specialize in a range of rare books and ephemera. While Seattle is often remembered as a city that introduced the rest of the country (and the globe) to grunge music and the sounds of bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Pearl Jam, it’s also a city with a rich cultural and literary history. The rare book scene in Seattle should interest both casual and serious collectors alike.

     
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Who Can Sell My Rare Books?

By Audrey Golden. Mar 30, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, Book Collecting, collectors

So you think you want to sell your rare books? Making such a decision can be exciting, but it can also be pretty intimidating. Should you try to sell the books on your own? Should you take them to an auction house? Or should you find a rare book dealer who can list them on consignment or buy them from you outright for resale? And how do you know how much the books are even worth? You may need to have your books appraised in order to know exactly what you have. Once you have a general sense of what your books are worth, you have a few options when it comes to selling them.

     
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How to Buy Rare Books Online

By Audrey Golden. Mar 20, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, Book Collecting

Buying rare books online can be tricky, but it can also be a lot of fun. While browsing in rare and antiquarian bookstores should still remain one of your favorite pastimes, sometimes buying online can also be exciting. We want to give you some advice about where to buy, what to be wary of, and how to know you’re getting what you want.

     
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Beinecke Rare Books and Manuscripts Library

By Audrey Golden. Mar 17, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Libraries & Special Collections, Libraries

Whether you’re an academic researcher, an archivist, or simply someone who has an interest in rare books, you should visit the Beinecke Rare Books and Manuscripts Library at least once in your life. While the collections at the Beinecke, like those within other special collections libraries, are open only to researchers, there’s still a lot to see even if you’re just passing through New Haven, Connecticut on a weekday afternoon. Indeed, the Beinecke keeps a variety of items from its collection on display within its incredible building at Yale University. And don’t get discouraged by the idea that you need to be a researcher in order to view any of the collections. While academics certainly visit the Beinecke with frequency, researchers do not have to be affiliated with a college or university to access the collections. To be sure, researchers come from a variety of backgrounds to engage in work related to the papers held at the library.

     
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How to Find Rare Books?

By Audrey Golden. Mar 11, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, Book Collecting

Depending upon your previous experience buying rare books, the answer to a question about how to find them might seem either obvious or baffling. So, how does one find rare books? In brief, you can find rare books in a number of places, but knowing precisely where to look can get more complicated than you'd think. Depending upon what kind of rare books you’re looking for, you may need to consult a rare book dealer who specializes in the particular type of text you’re seeking. And to ensure that you’re buying what you think you’re buying (and not a reproduction, for example), it’s important to know how to identify a reputable seller. So, if you’re still looking for rare books, let us give you some ideas of how you can locate what you seek.

     
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Visiting Ralph Ellison's Papers at the Library of Congress

Are you interested in learning more about the life and literary work of Ralph Ellison? If you find yourself in Washington, D.C., there are many reasons to plan a visit to the Library of Congress. One of those reasons, though, should certainly be to explore the Ralph Ellison papers, which include materials from 1890-2005. There are a total of 74,800 items in the collection, such as correspondence, drafts for essays, short stories, novels, lectures given by and about Ellison, a wide variety of resources documenting his literary career, and Ellison’s final unfinished novel, Juneteenth.

     
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Visiting the Homes of Victor Hugo

By Audrey Golden. Feb 26, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Literature, Literary travel

Planning a trip to France or the U.K. anytime soon? While many famous writers have called these places home, perhaps no author’s experiences living in both regions better reflect a life lived, in many ways, on the margins, as those of Victor Hugo. As you might know, Victor Hugo was a central figure in the Romantic movement, and he remains one of the most well-known French novelists and dramatists today. He published his first works in the 1820s, but it wasn’t until the publication of the novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame [Notre Dame de Paris] in 1831 that Hugo gained fame throughout Europe. Indeed, the work was translated into numerous languages for public consumption. Shortly after using the novel to highlight a need for Paris to attend to important structures such as the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, Hugo turned toward a broader reaching political endeavor. He started writing Les Misérables (1862), which dealt with matters of class and social justice. As it turns out, his town homes in Paris and Guernsey are now museums that the public can visit.

     
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What Are Clamshell Boxes and Why Are They Important?

By Audrey Golden. Feb 25, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Book Care, Collecting guide

If you are a book collector or a collector of rare ephemera, you already may know about clamshell boxes and their importance for preserving rare books and paper. In short, a clamshell box is a particular type of bespoke archival box that is made individually for a specific book or collection of papers. 

To be clear, clamshell boxes open up just like books and are usually custom-made according to the specifications of a particular book or object. As such, no two customized clamshell boxes are necessarily alike. They’re also frequently decorated with handmade papers, making clamshell boxes protective tools as well as decorative items for a library shelf. Anyone who owns rare books should learn more about clamshell boxes and should consider having them custom-made for particularly rare volumes.

     
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Is Book Collecting Worth It?

By Audrey Golden. Feb 13, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Books collecting, collectors, Collecting guide

As lovers of rare books and ephemera, it can be difficult to hear someone ask the question, “is book collecting worth it?” Establishing a collection can bring a lifetime of joy, from seeking out new objects at home and abroad to cataloguing those items with care. And if you’re lucky, your collection might just have great significance to others, too. A study conducted by researchers at King’s College London determined that upwards of 30 percent of adults participate in some form of collecting, from books and ephemera to travel souvenirs and memorabilia. Psychologists have long attempted to classify and define the impulse for collecting, or what Nicholas Basbanes describes as “a gentle madness” among book collectors. While we can’t provide you with a definitive scientific answer as to why book collecting is worth it, we can tell you about how the time, energy, and money you’ll spend in developing your collection can become a life-long project and passion.

     
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How Much Is My Rare Book Worth?

By Audrey Golden. Feb 11, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, Book Collecting, Rare Book Gift Ideas

Determining the value of a book or an ephemeral object can be very difficult. While certain texts are highly sought after under almost any circumstances, some items can be very tricky. Some old books are extremely valuable, yet some old books have almost no market value at all. Some books with inscriptions have significant market value, while many books with personal or sentimental notes have little to no market value. Although the condition of a book will almost always impact the object’s value on the market, some books in quite poor condition can still be extremely valuable depending upon the provenance. In short, determining a rare book’s value is typically a holistic enterprise that involves taking into account many different factors.

If you have a book that you believe to be rare and to have significant market value, you should get in touch with a rare bookseller who can properly appraise the object for you. In the meantime, we want to provide you with some of the key elements that go into determining the value of a rare book or paper object.

     
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About this blog

How can I identify a first edition? Where do I learn about caring for books? How should I start collecting? Hear from librarians about amazing collections, learn about historic bindings or printing techniques, get to know other collectors. Whether you are just starting or looking for expert advice, chances are, you'll find something of interest on blogis librorum.

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