Student Book Collecting Prizes 2024: Dates and details

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As we head towards the end of the year, entry dates for student book collectors prizes loom on the horizon.

This is a selection of the major awards which all aim to encourae and reward a new generation of collectors. It's important to read the instructions for each as they vary (click individual titles for details), but in general size of collection is not as important as dedication.

The Colin Franklin Prize for Book Collecting

The first deadline of the year - December 1 - so entries need to be in very soon. This is for undergraduate and postgraduate students at the University of Oxford or Oxford Brookes University for a collection of books or other printed materials. There is £600 for the winner, plus £300 for a book to be purchased for the Bodleian Library’s collections selected by the winner in co-operation with the Bodleian’s Curator of Rare Books. No minimum size of collection but normally not less than 10 items of printed books or manuscripts and/or printed ephemera and/or other printed materials with a common theme. 

The Gordon Duff Prize 

Awarded annually for an essay on a subject relating to the science or arts of books and manuscripts, last year's winner was Sasha Gardner for Light out of darkness: women wood engravers of the 20th century and the Jaffé collection at Newnham College. Open to all University of Cambridge members, students, staff and alumni. An award of £500 for the winner(s) as the prize can be shared. Proposal of subjects by December 19, then entries by March 25, 2024.

There is also a Gordon Duff Prize for members of the collegiate University at Oxford. Deadline for this iteration is January 19, 2024
. Deadline for approved essay topics is June 28,  2024. The prize of £500 is awarded to an unpublished essay on bibliography, palaeography, typography, book binding, book illustration, the science of books and manuscripts, and the arts relating thereto.

* Rose Book-Collecting prize

The 2023 prize went to Toma-Jin Morikawa-Fouquet for his collection The polymathic writings of Hirano Imao (1900-1986). For 2024, £500 is on offer to student book-collectors endowed by Cambridge University Library in 2006. Applications must be submitted by January 31, 2024.

* JD Forbes collecting prize

There is £500 to be won by current University of St Andrews students who have a collection of printed, manuscript, or photographic material. Applications for 2023/24 can be submitted from January 1, 2024 with a final deadline of March 4, 2024. In this case, supporting audio-visual material may also be submitted to any collection which has at its core physical material with writing on it. Last year's winner was James Erickson with 
Tennysonian Arthuriana.

* The Anthony Davis Book Collecting Prize

UCL Special Collections' prize is open to any student studying for a degree at a University in London for "a coherent collection of printed and/or manuscript materials". No dates yet but entries are likely to open in April 2024 and close in June. The most recent winner was Hannah Swan for Swizzle and Serve: Party-Planning Books and Ephemera

* Philip Hofer Prize for Collecting Books or Art

Open to Harvard undergraduates and graduate students. The coveted prize money for the winner here is $3,000, second prize $1,500, and third prize $750. No dates yet but if it runs along similar lines to last year, deadline will be mid-February 2024.

* The Adrian Van Sinderen Book Collecting Prizes

The Senior Prize is worth an impressive $1,000, and the Sophomore Prize $700 with other prizes awarded at the judges' discretion. Collections may cover specific subject fields, or “represent an intelligently chosen nucleus of a general library”. Last year's Senior Prize Winner was Enrique Vazquez for Tales of the Midwestern Northwoods. Details for 2024's competition to be announced.

* National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest

This was first established in 2005 by Fine Books & Collections Magazine, but has been run in recent years by The Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America (ABAA), the Fellowship of American Bibliophilic Societies (FABS), the Grolier Club, and the Center for the Book and the Rare Books and Special Collections Division (the Library of Congress). More than $6,000 in prizes can be won by student collectors, prizewinners of college book-collecting contests in addition to other interested students. No 2024 submission deadlines have yet been announced, but deadlines probably around mid-June. Last year's First Prize went to Ishaan Prasad for Confessions of a Former Sheep Thief: Ten Years of Exploration in Typography