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Buying Rare Ephemera: Some Reference Terms

By Audrey Golden. Jan 19, 2023. 10:07 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, Book Collecting

Are you thinking about expanding your collection of rare books to include promotional objects connected to a book’s release, advertisements, textiles, photographs, and other objects? What you might be thinking about doing is expanding your collection to include ephemera. Many rare book collectors and sellers focus on ephemera, and the term can have a variety of meanings. For some people, the term ephemera is defined narrowly referring to print materials that were not designed to last, such as postcards or newspaper advertisements. For other people, the term can be applied much more broadly to include many different objects, which may or may not be paper-based, that speak to the notion of ephemerality in one way or another. If you’re considering a shift toward ephemera in your collection, you’ll need to acquaint yourself with some terminology that can help you to shape your collection and to understand the condition of objects that you might be thinking about purchasing.

     
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A New Year and a New You in Fiction

By Audrey Golden. Jan 17, 2023. 10:07 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Literature

Are you thinking about making a life change in 2022? Whether you’re planning to change jobs or careers, or you’re simply considering that makeover you’ve been putting off for years or decades, now is the time to find yourself anew. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that life is short, and everyone’s time is limited. So why not make the best of it by being the version of yourself you’ve always been seeking? Let’s get the New Year started the right way, literature-wise, with some of the best works of fiction about making a life change. We want to be clear: these aren’t a list of self-help books, or a list of how-to books designed to help you choose a career. Rather, they’re works of literary fiction in which one or more of the characters takes the possibilities of a new year and a new start to heart, for better or for worse.

     
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A Collector's Guide to The Night Before Christmas

By Katharina Koch. Dec 3, 2022. 9:25 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Christmas Books

With my favorite holiday approaching, there is no better way to get in the Christmas spirit than reading and collecting The Night before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore. This essential children’s book has long been one of my favorites. When I first began collecting, I knew I wanted to focus on something that I had cherished as a child; so naturally I chose The Night before Christmas books, among a few others. Still a classic to this day, The Night before Christmas encompasses the magic of Christmas that is treasured by children and so often overlooked in the hustle and bustle of the season. 

     
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Early Book Collectors: George Washington and the Founding Fathers

By Andrea Koczela. Jul 1, 2021. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History, Book Collecting

On July 3, 1776, John Adams wrote to his wife, “The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival… It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other.”

Adams was nearly correct in his prediction. Americans have indeed memorialized the Declaration of Independence as he envisioned; however, the celebrations have been on July 4th—the date written on the Declaration of Independence—instead of July 2nd, the date the Second Continental Congress adopted the resolution of independence. Today, as we celebrate the birthday of George Washington, let us salute the Founding Fathers not only for creating a great nation, but also for being the country’s first book collectors.

     
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Rare Books We Love, Just in Time for Valentine's Day

By Kristin Masters. Feb 11, 2021. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Book Collecting, Rare Book Gift Ideas

When Pope Gelasius established Saint Valentine’s Day in 496 AD, he certainly had no idea that the holiday would persist for centuries. The holiday was first associated with romance and love during the High Middle Ages, thanks to the burgeoning tradition of courtly love in Geoffrey Chaucer’s day. And nothing says “love” like giving the perfect book! Here’s a look at some favorite Valentine’s Day gift ideas for the bibliophile and rare book collector.

     
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Is My Inherited Book Collection Worth Anything?

By Audrey Golden. Feb 4, 2021. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, Book Collecting

So you say you recently inherited a book collection from your grandparent, your parent, a distant family member, a neighbor, or a family friend? If you’re not familiar with the rare book trade and you don’t have too much experience buying or selling rare books, you might feel lost among the boxes or shelves. Most likely, you’re wondering if this inherited book collection is worth anything. Many rare booksellers and archivists have tales about being approached with old books that the owners believe to be valuable solely based on age or incorrect assumptions about the book’s provenance. Of course, terms like “worth” and “value” are always relative, and we’ll say more about that in just a few minutes. But before we do, we want to tackle the complicated question of whether an inherited book collection has any market value and what that means for your inheritance.

     
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Should I Buy Rare Books at Auction?

By Audrey Golden. Jan 21, 2021. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, Book Collecting

If you are a rare book collector, or if you’re thinking about starting a rare book collection, you might be wondering about buying at auction. Whether you’re going to travel to an auction in person or you’re browsing online auction offerings, you’ll need to think about the pros and cons of buying rare books at auction. Certainly, adding to your collection by participating in an auction can be great fun, but we want to make sure you know precisely what it is you’re getting yourself into. Here are some key questions to consider before you place a bid.

     
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Fore-Edge Gilding and Decorating

By Shelley Kelber. Jan 12, 2021. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, Book Collecting, Condition

Storing books standing on their edges is a relatively new practice. The most common storage prior to the 16th century was to pile them horizontally with the fore-edge facing out. The fore-edge is the edge opposite the spine of the book. Identification issues were resolved by marking the books with a design on this edge or writing the book's title there.

     
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Building Your Rare Book Collection During a Pandemic

By Audrey Golden. Dec 29, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, Book Collecting

A global health pandemic is devastating for a wide variety of reasons, from tragic illnesses and deaths to the closures of beloved community businesses. Of course, not being able to add to your rare book collection during a pandemic due to limited travel and funds is probably the least of your worries. Yet we also know that thinking about your rare book collection can be a welcome reprieve from a world that feels as if it’s in chaos with no clear light at the end of the tunnel. So, if you’re following all of the social distancing rules, and you’re taking the pandemic seriously, sheltering at home can offer a new chance to fall back in love with your collection and to dream up new ways of adding to it. So, in the spirit of self-care, we want to give you some tips for building your rare book collection during a pandemic. We hope these ideas will help you to get through the long months ahead until a vaccine becomes available, and we also hope that you’ll be able to use some of the tips and tricks even when you return to book-buying travel again in what will hope will be the not-too-distant future.

     
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What is a Bookplate?

Let’s say you found a rare book you want to add to your collection, and the bookseller’s description says it has a bookplate. You might be wondering precisely what a bookplate is, whether it is a newer addition to the book, and how it affects the value. These are all good questions, and there’s not a single answer to any of those inquiries. In all cases where a book contains a bookplate, it depends. We’ll give you some basic information about bookplates to help you understand how these additions to books came to be and how they can affect the value of an object. We’ll also tell you a little bit more about sources for discovering new information about bookplates if you get particularly interested. In the end, you could decide to establish an entire rare book collection around the bookplate, seeking out objects that contain them or seeking out the bookplates themselves.

     
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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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