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Rare Book Terminology You Should Know

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

Topics: Rare Books, Book Collecting

When you first enter into the world of rare books, you might think you’ve encountered a new language in some ways. Rare booksellers, collectors, and archivists use many words and phrases that can be difficult to parse. In addition, there are simply a lot of those words and phrases to learn. Some refer to the condition of the book, others refer to the way the book was made or to its style and aesthetic, and yet others still reference information about the book’s publication or ownership. And in many cases, there are multiple terms in use that refer to the same thing! We couldn’t possibly provide you with every word or phrase you might see used in a description of a rare book, but we can certainly get you started. We’ve separated some of those words and phrases into distinct categories to help you get acquainted with the language of the rare book trade.

     
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San Francisco's Rare Book Scene

Do you live in the Bay Area, and are you just starting to put together a rare book collection? Are you traveling to San Francisco at any point in the near future? The Bay Area is truly an antiquarian and rare book treasure trove. From rare bookstores to antiquarian book fairs to rare book archives, you couldn’t ask for much more than everything the Bay Area has to offer. While our title centers in San Francisco, we want to introduce you to the rare book scene in the Bay Area more generally, and to encourage you to plan several days of book hunting in San Francisco, Berkeley, and Oakland. And, quite frankly, several days probably won’t be sufficient. You’ll want to keep coming back for more.

     
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How to Find the Value of a Rare Book

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

Topics: Rare Books, Literature

Whether you have your own rare book collection and have questions about the overall market value of the items, or you recently inherited some older books or purchased a book that seems like it might be valuable at a flea market, you’re probably trying to figure out how to determine that book’s value. When you’re hoping to figure out how much a book is worth, it’s important to distinguish between market value and other forms of value. To be sure, a book may be considered rare or valuable to a particular person, but it may not necessarily have significant market value. We’re assuming that you’re trying to find the market value of a rare book, so we’ll tell you about some options and issues to consider.

     
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How to Display Rare Books

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

Topics: Rare Books

When you’re developing a rare book collection, chances are good that you want to be able to display it. After all, one of the joys of having a rare book collection is getting a chance to look at it. Yet you may know that some ways of displaying your rare books are better than others for purposes of preservation. To be sure, you don’t want to display your collection in a manner that puts the books at risk of damage. For most collectors, displaying closed rare books requires considerations for exhibiting the objects on shelves (i.e., when you’re not opening them or showing them to someone else), and displaying open books (i.e., when you’re viewing the pages inside the book). Collectors who also own pieces of rare ephemera will need to consider additional options for display.

     
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Most Wanted Rare Books

By Audrey Golden. Oct 15, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Rare Books

What are the most wanted rare books? Yes, yes, we know—this is a wholly subjective question. Certainly, the definition of a rare book extends far beyond its market value, and what may be the most desirable rare book to one person might not be desirable at all to another. Today, however, we want to talk about the most wanted rare books in terms of market value and what kind of hefty price you might expect to pay for certain rare books at auction. As times change, rare book values also change. Accordingly, the “most wanted” rare books today may not be the most desirable rare books in 10 years. In the meantime, though, we want to give you a sense of the vast rare book market and to let you know what kind of competition you could be facing for some of the highest priced rare books that have recently hit the market.

     
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A Look Inside Presidential Libraries

Today is the anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln's birthday. In addition to having been an exceptional statesman, Lincoln, like many of America's forefathers was also a prolific reader, amassing an impressive personal library. In honor of the late, great president, we've put together a post to give you a look inside presidential libraries.

     
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Do I Have a First Edition?

By Audrey Golden. Aug 18, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, First Editions

Is it a first edition? This is a question that many people ask when they discover what they think might be a rare and valuable book at a flea market, in a thrift shop, or in a box in a family member’s attic. Even if you’re not a rare book collector and you don’t know much about rare books in general, you’ve probably heard the term “first edition,” and you likely associate the phrase with an item of value. Everybody wants to have a first edition, right? Generally speaking, a first edition of a book often will have significantly more value than subsequent editions, but that’s not always true. There are a number of factors to consider, and in the case of some books, it’s not necessary the first edition that has the most market value. What follows here is a deep dive into the idea of the elusive first edition, and some information that can help you to determine whether you actually have a first edition and what it might be worth.

     
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Las Vegas' Rare Book Scene

By Audrey Golden. Aug 5, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, Literary travel

When most of us think about Las Vegas and taking a trip to the Nevada city, we might not immediately imagine it as a rare book destination. To be sure, most people who plan trips to Las Vegas are considering their options for casinos, shows, and restaurants on the Las Vegas Strip. Other visitors to the city might simply be flying into the airport for a brief stopover before traveling to popular nearby natural destinations such as Death Valley National Park or the Grand Canyon. However, Las Vegas is also a great city for rare book hunting. You may be able to find a rare book gem in the world famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, or you might find something new to add to your collection in a bookshop or antique store.

     
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Iconic Images of Author Jack London

By Kristin Masters. Jul 30, 2020. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Rare Books, Book Collecting

On January 12, 1876, author Jack London was born John Griffith Chaney. The son of astrologer William Chaney and music teacher/spiritualist Flora Wellman, London grew up in poverty. After working as a sailor, going to Alaska for the Klondike Gold Rush, and even doing a stint as a hobo, London came to see writing as his means of escaping the work "trap." He began his career, fortuitously, at a time when new printing technology made it more cost effective to publish magazines cheaply, and he was soon making an excellent living thanks to the burgeoning demand for short fiction. London became one of the most beloved American authors, capturing our imagination with his tales of adventure.

     
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How to Choose What Kind of Book to Collect

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

Topics: Rare Books, Book Collecting, Collecting guide

If you want to start a book collection but you don’t know where to begin, we’re here to help. While many collections arise out of the collector’s enthusiasm for a particular author, genre, or field, book collections can have a wide variety of starting points. Depending upon the collection, the organizing principles might immediately be recognizable to an average onlooker, or the collection may look entirely disordered with categorizations and classifications developed out of the idiosyncratic mind of the collector. The types of books and ephemera you choose to collect ultimately will depend upon your own interests. One thing is true for all collectors, though: whatever kind of books you to select, make sure you’re passionate about the collection.

     
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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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