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2015 Bookseller Resource Guide
Feature

Look Beyond Books

The Edge’s the Thing

Fore-edge painting of Shakespeare

Courtesy of Skinner.

A showpiece for a Shakespeare collection need not cost millions. Take this sweet fore-edge painting depicting the famed playwright, or its mate, which illustrates an Elizabethan street scene. Painted on serviceable editions of the Bard’s collected plays printed by Edward Moxon, one of the most successful early Victorian printers, these edges are worth seeing.

Skinner, $1,559 / November 16, 2014

Arts and Crafts Chaucer

Engraved woodblock for Eric Gill’s 1929 edition of The Canterbury Tales by Golden Cockerel Press

Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Eric Gill was an English printmaker best known for his typefaces and his Arts and Crafts—inspired illustrations. In 1929, he designed and engraved the plates for a Golden Cockerel Press edition of The Canterbury Tales that became a landmark in typography for its irreverence and wit. Only 500 copies of this edition of the book were ever released. This engraved woodblock is an incredible literary artifact from the production of that book, surely coveted by savvy collectors of Gill, Golden Cockerel, Chaucer, or printing arts.

Sotheby’s, $11,750 / December 9, 2014

Stratford-upon-East-127th-Street

Langston Hughes’ annotated copy of Shakespeare in Harlem

Courtesy of Addison & Sarova.

Known as the foremost “jazz poet” and the leader of the Harlem Renaissance, Langston Hughes devoted his life to exploring the condition of working-class blacks. His 1942 work Shakespeare in Harlem was billed as a book of “light verse” set in the streets of black America. This copy belonged to Hughes himself. It was rescued from a trash can in a dormitory at Lincoln University, where Hughes was a student. Hughes reportedly was unhappy with the book, which featured illustrations by a white artist that he initially considered offensive. This copy contains numerous revisions, insertions, and notes by Hughes—very desirable for a Hughes fan.

Addison & Sarova, $2,250 / March 12, 2014

A Plea for Preservation

Fund drive poster to preserve the home of Frederick Douglass

Courtesy of Swann Galleries.

After Frederick Douglass escaped from slavery in 1838, an event he chronicled in his 1845 autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, he devoted his life to raising awareness of the plight of slaves and the disenfranchised. After his death, the United States Congress chartered the Frederick Douglass Memorial and Historical Association, which took ownership of his Washington, D.C. home in 1903. This poster describes a FDMHA fundraising drive undertaken at some point around 1910. The plea worked: in 1922, the first restoration of the home was complete, and in 1962, the home became a National Historic Site.

Swann Galleries, $281 / March 26, 2015

Courtesy of Bonhams.

A Bountiful Trip to Bonhams

Copper nail from the H.M.S. Bounty

Since a group of disgruntled crewmen took over the H.M.S. Bounty from William Bligh in 1789, their story has spawned thousands of spinoffs in print and on film, including a short story by H. G. Wells and a popular book by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall. Torn apart by disagreements over seamanship and Bligh’s own command, the rebels cast Bligh plus 18 others into a 20-foot boat with five days of supplies. They managed to survive and see the prosecution of some of the remaining mutineers. In 1957, the shipwreck of the Bounty was discovered and remnants of the ship have been popular with collectors of many stripes ever since.

Bonhams, $1,500 / April 13, 2015

Erin Blakemore is a Boulder, Colorado-based historian, journalist, and author of the award-winning The Heroine’s Bookshelf (Harper). Her work has appeared in publications like Time, mental_floss, and Smithsonian.com. Learn more at erinblakemore.com.
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