And your favorite book in your collection?
I’m sure everyone who answers this question has a hard time with it! If I had to choose, I would select a set of three special edition box sets of The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Each set was released in 1993 in a limited number to mark the centenary of the writing of the original Peter Rabbit picture letter in 1893, which later inspired her story of Peter Rabbit. Each set contains a facsimile of the 1901 privately printed Tale of Peter Rabbit, a facsimile of the original picture letter, and a facsimile of a deluxe version of The Tale of Peter Rabbit.
These are my favorites, as they include facsimiles of the privately printed copy that we are fortunate enough to have in Iowa’s Special Collections. I am also a fan of deluxe collector’s sets, and these are particularly attractive.
Best bargain you’ve found?
I shop frequently on eBay, and sometimes sellers aren’t quite sure what they have, meaning it is common to find items either greatly over or underpriced. I was fortunate enough to purchase a 1911 Peter Rabbit’s Painting Book for the bargain of $50. This early painting book resembles a coloring book one might purchase today.
This purchase was especially exciting to me because it represents the business ingenuity that we may not often historically see in female entrepreneurs. Beatrix Potter was very interested in creating her own merchandise to accompany her publications, and through her own business sense, she was able to accrue royalties as an unmarried woman due to the success of her creations.
How about The One that Got Away?
Nothing specific comes to mind, but that may be due to losing many an online bid over the years.
What would be the Holy Grail for your collection?
Owning a first edition of The Tale of Peter Rabbit would be incredible.
Who is your favorite bookseller / bookstore?
I frequently use eBay to acquire all sorts of odds and ends for my collection. However, one of my favorite avenues to fill gaps in my collection is to purchase items for sale through The Beatrix Potter Society from past members. Not only is it a great way to financially support the Society, but I feel the collecting value of the item is increased if I know the name of the past owner and that they too were members of the Society.
What would you collect if you didn’t collect books?
While my Beatrix Potter collection is by far my largest collection, as a person with the true collecting bug, I have many other smaller collections as well. I have many bottles of perfume, nail polish, and I even collect V.C. Andrews books. Fans of her works will know that their subject matter varies greatly from that of Beatrix Potter’s tales. I enjoy being surrounded by objects that bring me joy, whether at home surrounded by my many editions of The Tale of Peter Rabbit, or at work at Iowa’s Special Collections, where I help share our wonderful collection with the campus and surrounding communities.