Rare Books Uncovered to be Published in December
Minneapolis—October 23, 2015. Few collectors are as passionate or as dogged in the pursuit of their quarry as collectors of rare books. In fact, book collecting is the only pastime that has a clinically diagnosable illness—bibliomania—to describe its more obsessive hobbyists. The focus of their desire is seemingly limitless: centuries’ worth of rare and unique tomes, manuscripts, and historical documents are out there, everywhere, each with unique stories and histories. In her new book, Rare Books Uncovered: True Stories of Fantastic Finds in Unlikely Places (Quarto/Voyageur Press, $25), expert on rare and antiquarian books Rebecca Rego Barry recounts some of these remarkable discoveries from the world of book collecting.
Barry is the editor of Fine Books & Collections magazine, and hearing so many extraordinary tales of treasures found - and, alas, of those that got away - fueled and informed the writing of Rare Books Uncovered. Bibliophiles relish such tales. In Rare Books Uncovered, there are 52 individual stories from collectors, dealers, librarians, and others, each entertaining, educational, and inspirational. There’s the Texas family whose discovery of 300+ vintage comics in a basement closet netted them $3.5 million. And the Salt Lake City bookseller who volunteered for a local fundraiser and came across a 500-year-old copy of the Nuremberg Chronicle. And the collector who, when called by a friend to go dumpster diving, turned up a valuable piece of New York City history. These believe-it-or-not “barn finds” will delight casual collectors and hardcore bibliomaniacs alike.
Great books are out there—in Philadelphia flea markets, California swap meets, and English country homes—and discovering one, whether by chance or single-minded pursuit is a pleasure worth savoring and sharing. Just like every angler with a fantastic fish tale to share, every book collector has at least one great “find” to reveal. Rare Books Uncovered celebrates the scouts, the books, and the thrill of the hunt.
About the Author
Rebecca Rego Barry is the editor of Fine Books & Collections magazine, a glossy quarterly for book & fine art collectors, dealers, curators, and librarians. She has also written about books and history for various publications, including The Guardian, JSTOR Daily, Preservation, The Millions, Barnes & Noble Review, The Awl, The Economist, and Victoria. A member of the Ticknor Society, a book collectors’ club based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, her personal collecting specialties are 19th- and early 20th-century illustrated medical books, and Henry David Thoreau.
Praise for Rare Books Uncovered
“Indiana Jones searched for treasure in jungle temples and desert tombs; but there is treasure before our eyes in flea markets, attics, and even under beds, if you just know how to look for it. Thankfully Rebecca Rego Barry does, and delightfully narrates tales of dusty discovery that will set bibliophiles’ hearts racing—and may just send you out to the local antique barn on a quest of your own.” —Michael Blanding, bestselling author of The Map Thief: The Gripping Story of an Esteemed Rare-Map Dealer Who Made Millions Stealing Priceless Maps
“The best thing about booksellers’ memoirs are their ‘find’ stories—those tales of unexpected discoveries that leaven spirits, resurrect businesses, or merely reinforce the idea that good fortune comes to the diligently prepared. Now Rebecca Rego Barry has captured a book-full of these tales from a new generation of book-hunters. The thought that treasures are still out there to be found—and in so many different ways—is sure to raise the pulse of any dedicated booklover.” —Travis McDade, curator of law rare books at the University of Illinois College of Law and author of Thieves of Book Row: New York’s Most Notorious Rare Book Ring and the Man Who Ended it
Miami Book Fair, Miami, Florida November 21, 2015
Florida Bibliophile Society, New Port Richey, Florida November 23, 2015
Ticknor Society Lecture, Boston, Massachusetts February 11, 2016
Hardcover, 256 pages with 24 b/w & color photos Voyageur Press
Foreword by Nicholas Basbanes