February 2013 | Rebecca Rego Barry

Jefferson Muses on Book Collecting

Jefferson on Books.jpg"Books as well as other things have limits to their value beyond which we would not go," Thomas Jefferson wrote to his bookseller in a letter from Monticello dated April 11, 1819. In this letter, the former president references a booksellers' catalogue he has just received and asks to purchase Scapula's Lexicon (1616). I somehow missed this letter, sold for $13,750 at Bonhams San Francisco last week, but our eagle-eyed auction columnist Ian McKay pointed it out. A true bibliophile's delight.