July 2011 Archives

Catalogue Review: Bromer Booksellers, No. 136

catalogs_136.jpgThis catalogue from Bromer Booksellers of Boston, Massachusetts, is subtitled “211 Items Under $2,011.” It’s an eclectic mix of books, photography, artwork, and ephemera, and is strong in science fi and dystopian literature. Indeed the first entry of the catalogue is a newly published edition of Aun Aprendo: A Comprehensive Bibliography of the Writings of Aldous Leonard Huxley compiled by David J. Bromer. The deluxe limited edition is $350, while the trade edition from Oak Knoll is $125. This complements several entries of Huxley material near the middle of the catalogue -- such as a presentation copy of Texts and Pretexts from 1935, inscribed to Anita Loos ($500). Isaac Asimov also makes a few appearances, notably a presentation copy of his first book, Pebble in the Sky ($1,000).

As any good New England bookseller should, Bromer has a good selection of Robert Frost -- pamphlets, first editions, a photograph of him c. 1950 (for $250), and a presentation copy of A Further Range ($850). Edward Gorey also has more entries than most, and one of the more interesting is a program and ticket for the 1995 Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair, featuring Gorey’s illustrations and signed by him ($250). A book collector’s collectible if ever there was one!

Miniatures are another specialty of the shop. A rare 1844 miniature of the sermon The Marriage Ring; or The Mysteriousness and Duties of Marriage for $500 is a highlight. Some juveniles, including an 1830 Punch and Judy for $1,500, round out this fine selection of books.

It would be great to see the press photo of Hemingway with Fidel Castro c. 1960 that Bromer is offering for $250, or one of the Barry Moser etchings or drawings (his original pencil drawing of Truman Capote is $850), but sadly no interior photos in this catalogue. Their addition of an index is meritorious, however, and reminds me that I ought to mention the good amount of fine press that is here, as well.


The Guardian was brave enough last Friday to jump into the murky waters of rare book price speculation.  In an interesting, if a tad optimistic, feature on collecting photobooks, the author, Mr. Dewar, discusses photobooks as a potential investment source.  Mr. Dewar references the recent spike in photobook prices and offers some tips to would-be photobook investors looking to start their first collection.

“Despite the scarcity of signed or inscribed books and the high plateau in prices on the seminal works, there is hope for the average collector with a modest budget. In fact, even if you’re a complete novice, there is a good opportunity to combine learning about the art form with a sound piece of investing by collecting new editions.”

Mr. Dewar’s sound advice: buy self-published books from emerging photographers.  

In example, Ed Ruscha’s Twenty-Six Gasoline Stations, published by National Excelsior Press (Ruscha’s own imprint) in a run of 400 copies in 1963 originally sold for $3.50.  Now the cheapest copy on abebooks.com is $17,500.

Of course, only a handful of emerging photographers will achieve Ruscha’s level of fame and demand, but the tendency for photobooks to be issued in small print runs that quickly go out of print increases your odds of buying an eventual collectable.  As with any area of book collecting, the best advice is to buy what you know and like.

A good resource for self-published photobooks is theindepentphotobook.blogspot.com which highlights books not available through standard outlets such as amazon.com.  As a result, you can find cheap and interesting photobooks, then purchase them (in most cases) directly from the photographers.

As for my part, one of my favorite recent self-published photobooks is from Adam Ryder, with his architectural images of a civilization that never existed: Areth: an Architectural Atlas.  Issued in a print run of just 25 copies, you can buy the book directly from Mr. Ryder on Etsy.


I have always been enamored with the Roycrofters--that very late nineteenth and early twentieth-century guild of artisans in upstate NY named after the seventeenth-century printers Samuel and Thomas Roycroft of London. Heavily influenced by William Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement, Elbert Hubbard founded the guild and formed a community of printers, bookbinders, furniture makers, and other craftsmen. He also set up a private press, the Roycroft Press.

This week at PBA Galleries’ Thursday auction of “fine books in all fields” and “fine literature,” several Roycrofter titles are looking for buyers. The most elaborate of which is the 1900 title, So Here Then is the Last Ride (seen below). It’s one of twenty-five copies on vellum, finely bound, and the estimate is $1,200-$1,800).

220596.jpgHollyhocks and Goldenglow from 1912 is plainer to the eye, but it’s original blindstamped brown leather shows its true colors (below). This one is signed by Hubbard, and its estimate is $200-$300.

220600.jpgA Message to Garcia and Thirteen Other Things from 1901 is in its original tan leather and contains two leaves of original manuscript from Hubbard’s essay, “Art That Wins.” Seen here below and estimated at $500-$800.

220601.jpgA few others are also on the block -- So This Then is the Essay on Self-Reliance (1902) for $400-$600, Justinian and Theodora: A Drama (1906) for $700-$1,000, The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (1900) for $200-$300, and Will O’ The Mill (1901) for $400-$600.

The great papermaker and printer Dard Hunter got his start with the Roycrofters. As Dard Hunter III told FB&C last year, his grandfather applied for a position with Hubbard in 1904:

“He didn’t get the job, but he showed up at the compound anyway and was brought into the colony,” said Hunter III. Soon, Hunter was designing and making stained glass windows and creating title pages for the Roycroft Press in East Aurora, New York. He also provided all Roycroft products with a unified look--branding the group with a visual identity. While with the community, Hunter also fell in love with and married Edith Cornell, the Roycrofters’ concert pianist. [...Read More]

*All photos courtesy of PBA Galleries.
NLS book art.jpg
If book collecting is an art form, it’s not a very public one.  That’s why I’m so enthusiastic about the pieces of book art being left around Edinburgh.  The intricate sculptures remind us of some of the pure aesthetic pleasures of books as objects, transformed or otherwise.

If you’re not already familiar with the story, a mysterious book artist has been leaving elaborate book sculptures in literary locales around Edinburgh: the National Library of Scotland, the Filmhouse, the Scottish Storytelling Centre, and the Scottish Poetry Library have all been hit.  Each sculpture is derived from, or maintains a reference to, Ian Rankin, that great Scottish mystery writer.

No one has yet come forward to claim responsibility for their impressive pieces of guerilla art.  Edinburgh, meanwhile, has enough remaining literary institutions that a few more book sculptures may be on the horizon.

I think it would be fantastic if more book art pieces were left in libraries and literary institutions around the world.  As skillful as these book sculptures are, they never would have received much attention if they were simply, and politely, displayed in an exhibition.  Now they’re becoming a real force of their own, invoking a discussion about the public place of art, books, reading, and collecting. This is a call, therefore, for more book artists to share their work with the public by, in essence, forcing it on us.  The thrill and mystery of these “found objects” in turn parallels the thrill and mystery of reading and collecting.

Maybe someone can install an actual book collection on a public sidewalk?  I know I’d love to see that.  And remember, if you’re feeling inspired, anyone can become a guerilla artist.

Screen shot 2011-07-25 at 10.44.04 AM.pngMargaret Atwood, take note. Your LongPen has nothing on Amazon’s Kindlegraph, a service which allows authors to “sign” e-books. As Paul Carr of Tech Crunch wrote last week, “Yeah. Ok. So it’s not quite the same as having an author sign your physical copy of his or her book.”

The technology is cool, and I’d even agree that the way in which it connects author and reader so easily and so broadly might make for interesting study one day, but it also strikes me as lazy and anti-social. The book-signing process is one that brings authors, readers, and fellow readers together under one roof to celebrate the writer, the reader, the book, literature in general. Does it really mean much if a writer sitting in his London home can scratch off a “To Rebecca, With my best wishes” on a digital file that will magically appear on my (theoretical) Kindle whilst I am still sleeping in NY?

To see a demonstration, go here.

Catalogue Review: Ken Lopez, No. 155

Lopez-Proof.pngThe newest catalogue from Ken Lopez, a bookseller in Hadley, Massachusetts, has a very distinct focus: uncorrected proofs & advance copies. In his introduction (which is well worth a read), he writes, “Combining their historical scarcity, and likely future scarcity, with the textual variations that are often found -- and which, by definition, represent a state of the text closer to the author’s original manuscript -- the value in collecting proof copies becomes, we think, self-evident.”

Even titles so new as Delillo’s Love-Lies-Bleeding from 2005 is collectible in this format; a signed uncorrected proof  is $300. Same for the advance reading copy of the first British edition of Steig Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo from 2008 -- it’s $2,500. Ditto on the signed advance uncorrected reader’s proof of Dave Eggers’ 2000 memoir, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius for $300. (I worked at Simon & Schuster when this was published. Why didn’t I save mine?!)

The big names of modern literature are here, and the offerings are impressive. Bellow (several, including a signed and hand-corrected ring-bound galley of Herzog for $9,500); Capote (advance reading copy of In Cold Blood for $750); Burroughs (rare uncorrected proof of Dead Fingers Talk for $1,500); Carver (several, including uncorrected proof of Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? with a laid in autograph note for $6,500); Ford (several, including an advance copy of the first British edition of Independence Day for $1,000); Garcia Marquez (uncorrected “pad-bound” proof of One Hundred Years of Solitude for $7,500); Irving (signed advance reading copy of The World According to Garp for $850); Proulx (several, including an uncorrected proof of The Shipping News inscribed by the author for $500); Updike (several, including an inscribed uncorrected proof of Bech is Back for $275) ; and D. F. Wallace (several, including a signed advance reading copy of Infinite Jest for $1,000).

Lopez gives an education in the variation of proofs, as well. For Pynchon’s title, Mason and Dixon, Lopez has an uncorrected proof copy in plain blue wrappers for $3,500, another uncorrected “blue proof” with two dummy dust jackets wrapped around it for $4,000, and the advance reading copy in beige wrapper for $250 (which was actually one of two separate issues of beige proofs, the catalogue informs us).

J.K. Rowling collectors will surely be interested is what is called “perhaps the rarest set of Harry Potter items possible” -- that is, the uncorrected proof copies of the first three Potter books -- for $27,500.

Lopez makes an excellent case for the collectibility of proofs!
HMS EnterpriseWhat may be the most northerly printed book is going under the hammer today (July 21) at Lawrence’s Auctioneers in Somerset.

Lot number 3170 features the Polar Almanac, printed on board the H.M.S. Enterprise while it was wintering in a remote Arctic bay, a scant 120 miles from the North Pole.  The ship was commanded by Admiral Collinson and was part of an extensive search effort to discover the fate of Sir John Franklin and his polar expedition.  Sir Franklin, commanding the H.M.S. Terror and the Erebus, had set sail in 1846 to traverse the last unexplored section of the Northwest Passage.  It later emerged that the ships had become icebound in the Victoria Strait, with the entire crew perishing in a desperate attempt to reach the Canadian mainland.  Franklin’s fate was still a mystery however, when Collinson set sail in 1850.  In the winter of 1853-54, Collinson and his crew anchored in Camden Bay, where the Polar Almanac was printed. 

The slim, 24 page booklet was printed on bright green papers in cream wrappers by the ship’s coxswain Henry Hester.  The print run was, of course, quite small and only a handful of copies are known to have survived.  According to its entry in the auction catalogue, the Almanac details “the ship’s company, the sun’s bearing, the depots of provisions made as she sailed through icy waters, a monthly almanac listing daily events since her departure from England in January 1850 and all details of her journey up to September 26, 1853.”

The Polar Almanac is to be sold with Collinson’s own account of the ill-fated voyage, published 35 years later, entitled Journal of H.M.S. Enterprise . . . The auctioneers believe this to be Collinson’s personal copy of the Almanac as it was passed down through his family.

The sale begins at 11:00 a.m. BST.  The estimate for the lot is £1500 - £2500.

ABAA security chair John Waite has forwarded this Gilkey update/request from Inspector Jeff Levin of the SFPD. Please feel free to forward and/or repost.

Earlier this month convicted fraudster and thief John Charles Gilkey of California was arrested for a parole violation stemming from a series of incidents in San Francisco late last year. Now that he has been re-apprehended, he will be brought up again on charges either later this month or next in San Francisco.

A career criminal, Mr. Gilkey has a long record of defrauding rare book and autograph dealers and dealers in other collectibles, with the use of stolen credit card numbers or with bad checks. His first arrest goes back more than a decade to the 1990s when he was brought up on charges for passing bad checks. He was arrested and jailed for credit card fraud in 2003, then released on parole less than two years later. In autumn 2010 he was arrested again after threatening to burn down a San Francisco print gallery after the manager declined a sale. Mr. Gilkey posted a bail bond for $75,000.00 and subsequently disappeared.

There is ample evidence that between last November and his arrest this month, John Charles Gilkey continued to defraud a number of dealers in collectibles, including a Maryland comic book dealer. San Francisco Police have asked members of the collectibles trade to please forward to them any new information concerning fraudulent activity by Mr. Gilkey. His new bail and eventual sentencing largely will be influenced by the number of new crimes that can proved he has committed since he skipped bail.

Mr. Gilkey is reported to have a storage unit containing rare books, autographs, prints, maps, stamps, comic books, Hollywood and film memorabilia, and coins. Many of these objects may have been obtained through fraud. However, police cannot obtain a search warrant of the storage unit until they provide a judge with a list of items that they are seeking. For that reason, it is imperative for dealers in all fields to come forward and provide police with information about any losses since the beginning of 2011, especially if John Charles Gilkey is known to have been the involved in the transaction. If the collectibles trades can provide police with a targeted list of stolen goods, then police will have a legal basis on which to execute a search warrant. 

If you have information or questions, please contact:

Inspector Jeff Levin

SFPD Arson Unit


If no answer, please leave a message.

For those of you who have been reading our summer issue, you might be as surprised as I was to learn about a folk artist named Clementine Hunter. This story actually started out as a bookish travel piece about Melrose Plantation in Louisiana, once home to an interesting woman named Cammie Henry, who turned it into a colony for writers and artists, creating her own little Southern Renaissance. But we couldn’t help but feel that Hunter, a field hand and plantation cook who was encouraged to put paint on canvas by some of the visiting artists (and whose work is now quite collectible), was a bigger part of the picture.

Coincidentally, just as we were finishing up this article, Hunter, who died in 1988, was making national news. A longtime FBI investigation finally reached its inevitable denouement when a Mr. William Toye of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was formally convicted of forging Hunter paintings. He had been connected to Hunter forgeries since the 1970s.  

The other interesting tidbit we learned was that Clementine Hunter co-authored a cookbook, Melrose Plantation Cookbook, published in 1956. Although it looks like a decent amount (nineteen, according to OCLC) of research libraries have a copy, it is exceedingly scarce to buy. I see only two available online right now. It is a cookbook with a longer story to tell than most others. 

Related articles
Last week, the Guardian profiled the charm of battered books:

“Books shouldn’t be wilfully mistreated, but we shouldn’t handle them with kid gloves. If they pick up imperfections and blemishes, then so what? A less than pristine book is a book with character. As we might, in time, come to look like our geriatric dog, so our books come to share with us the scars and scratches of life.”

The condition of a rare book is, of course, an important component of its monetary value.  We in the antiquarian book world tend to obsess over condition, with hundreds, and even thousands of dollars, separating the pristine from the damaged.  But do we ever secretly value the battered copies of our favorite books more than our flawless copies gathering dust on the shelf?
I know I do.  When I’ve purchased excellent copies of collectable works, my emotions swing from initial joy to drawn out worry.  They tend to hover there on the shelf, untouched, unread, out of fear of damaging them.  But when I purchase a well-used, well-loved copy, then I can simply relax and enjoy handling the book, running my fingers along the scratches and scuffs of its personal history.
As far as I’m concerned, the best copy of a book is one that proudly shows its age, with telltale signs of its previous owners habits and occupations.  Give me a book that smells like the cigar smoke from a 19th century gentleman’s library, or that has a martini stain from an errant glass at a 1920s party. 
Books are, after all, meant to be used, read, loved.

What are some of your favorite battered books?

Here is one of my mine, an early printing of Travels with Charley, increasingly battered with each reading:

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Travels with Charley
Shervone Neckles’ accordion book, A Soldiers Story (2007). Collection of the Center for Book Arts. Used by permission.

Through September 10, The Center for Book Arts in New York City has an exhibition titled Multiple, Limited, Unique: Selections from the Permanent Collection of the Center for Book Arts. It showcases the work of book artists, who, over the past forty years, have exhibited, trained, or worked at CBA.  

The exhibition, which opened earlier this month, is the culmination of a three-year Collections Initiative headed by executive director Alexander Campos. The goal of the Collections Initiative was to organize, rehouse, catalogue, and digitize what has accumulated over the past four decades -- e.g., art, books, exhibition catalogues. Campos, collections specialist Jen Larson, and several artists will have a public discussion in concert with the exhibition this Wednesday, July 20.

“We’ve been collecting unofficially,” Campos told me last week, and the result was “piles and random boxes without any order or rhyme or reason.” The boxes were often referred to as the center’s “archives,” but much of what was there was art donated by past students, teachers, supporters, or exhibitors. “In order to safeguard and care for them,” Campos decided, “we really needed to call it a collection and change our mentality.”

From John Ross and Tim Ross, a boxed set of oversize relief prints, Visible Cities (1993). Collection of the Center for Book Arts. Used by permission.

So the CBA solicited funds from government agencies and private foundations to complete a three-year plan to document and digitize the collection, which was catalogued into three separate sections: fine arts collection, containing “objects -- from fine press to offset;” a reference collection, containing a library of how-to books on paper, typography, printing, and binding technique; and the institutional archives, containing exhibition catalogues and institutional ephemera.

The resulting exhibition--which will travel to Savannah College of Arts and Design (Fall 2011), Minnesota Center for Book Arts (Winter 2012), Museum of Printing History (Spring/Summer 2012), Lafayette College (Fall 2012), and the Book Club of California (Winter 2013)--and the web portal: http://www.centerforbookarts.dreamhosters.com/ are the products of this impressive initiative. As Campos told me, the project was about making these items accessible and following through with the Center’s goal as a teaching agency.

Click through to the fuller listing here.
Catalogue Review: Charles B. Wood, Bookseller, No. 150

Charles B. Wood III is an antiquarian bookseller in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who stocks an eclectic selection -- from architecture to book about books to trade and commercial ephemera. In this catalogue #150: Rare Books and Manuscripts, the browser will be consistently surprised. I was. Every page I flipped offered something new, different, “intrinsically interesting,” and illustrated with full-page colorful, glossy images too.

I run the risk of filling this review with item after item that caught my eye. I’ll try to contain myself. Let’s start with one of the many pieces of trade/commercial art. A huge Victorian scrapbook containing forty-nine mounted chromolithographs created as advertisements or shop displays for various companies in the U.K. ($6,500). The compiler was surely “on the inside of the color lithography business.” Other interesting commercial items include a restored folio broadside featuring Waltham copper weather vanes, circa 1875-1885 ($2,500) and a Victorian house furnishing catalogue for the Simmons Hardware Co. of St. Louis, Missouri ($1,000). 

There are several sample and pattern books from various trades. The Lowell Textile School pattern book from 1895 is a unique manuscript work book kept by a student ($950). It contains notes, fabric samples, dyed cotton threads, and is lovely. An 1874 printed type specimen book for Farmer, Little & Co. is complete and rare (not in OCLC, notes the catalogue) for $2,250. A large sample book containing 257 mounted and identified samples of dyed wool, swatches of felt, and woven fabrics with penciled notes by its creator, a New Hampshire dyer, is very cool ($1,750). That’s something you just don’t see often or ever.

In the ‘books about books’ or printing arts category, Wood has several rarities. A first edition of the first printer’s manual, printed in 1818 by C.S. Van Winkle is so neat ($13,5000) as is a first edition of Edward Walker’s The art of book-binding, its rise and progress; including a descriptive account of the New York Book-Bindery ($1,750). I’d love to peruse that one.

Two other superlatives that need to be mentioned -- the publisher’s dummy of Henry Whittemore and Edward Bierstadt’s Homes of the representative men of America, with the title partly in manuscript ($13,500); and a set of ten original blueprints for the lighting scheme of Lincoln Center ($4,000).   

Thank you Charles B. Wood for making this catalogue review so exciting! A treasure on every page.
400px-Santiago.de.Compostela.Catedral.Noche.jpgIt is one of the most important texts of the Middle Ages. It has incalculable value. It’s the Codex Calixtinus. It’s been taken from a Spanish cathedral.

From a piece in Time Magazine...

On Thursday, July 7, church authorities in the Spanish town of Santiago de Compostela publicly confirmed that the priceless 12th century manuscript had been stolen from a safe in the cathedral vault. According to the local press, when the theft was discovered, the keys to the safe were still hanging in the lock.

The illuminated Codex was apparently removed from the cathedral archives on July 5 and reported missing to police the following day. At a press conference on Thursday, the cathedral deacon, José María Díaz, said that only he and two other archivists had access to the manuscript and that one of them had last seen the document on June 30 or July 1. Although the Codex was taken without signs of forced entry, Díaz said, “We have been victims of a terrible attack.”

Written in the mid-1100s under the auspices of Pope Calixtus II, the Codex is about the apostle St. James, whose remains are believed to have miraculously washed up on the coast of northwestern Spain. The town that houses his tomb, which became known as Santiago de Compostela (Santiago means “St. James” in Spanish), was transformed in the Middle Ages into a major pilgrimage site -- the third most important, after Jerusalem and Rome -- for Christians from all over Europe.

Have you heard about or seen the new little flipback books? If you’re in the U.S., chances are your answer is no. I read about these iphone-sized flipbacks on Jeremy Dibbell’s blog late last month and went directly to Amazon UK to order one for myself. Here is Jeremy’s description of the book’s format: “The construction of the flipbacks (sewn binding, with the front board and spine unattached to the backstrip) permits them to open fully (handy, I’ve found, for reading while eating), and the light weight makes it very easy to hold the book with with one hand. They’re printed on very thin Indoprint ‘Bible paper’ (which certainly helps keep the weight down), and typeset in what seems to be a Karmina Sans font. That took a bit of getting used to, but after about twenty pages or so I barely noticed. Flipping the pages upward instead of sideways also was a little disorienting at first, but again I didn’t even notice after a few minutes.”

Hodder & Stoughton has twelve to choose from (a nice little collection...); I went for the Jaspar Fforde title, Shades of Grey. I’m looking forward to reading this mini-book, if only because while reading in bed, my hands tend to fall asleep before I do!

You can read more about flipbacks in the Guardian or the LibraryThing newsletter, where Jeremy has a Q&A with flipback publisher Kate Parkin. 
The small town of Cowan, Tennessee, hosts a book fair that is quickly becoming a big attraction for bibliophiles. The 2011 fair--coming up this weekend--features more than fifty booksellers (some listed here), and our own Nick Basbanes will give the keynote speech. According to the press release, “Dealers specializing in children’s literature, art, religion, fine bindings, and books about books will also be exhibiting at the fair. Book prices will range from $10 to $20,000, so there are sure to be interesting books for the leisure reader as well as the most avid collector.”

Take a tour of last year’s fair, and see what awaits...

There was news last week that a “lost” Leonardo has been identified in an American collection and will go on exhibit this November at the National Gallery in London. One of only fifteen surviving oil paintings by Da Vinci, the re-discovered Salvator Mundi is a half-length figure of Christ that was painted around 1500. The painting was presumed destroyed, until a buyer with a great eye acquired it from an estate in 2005. It was then brought to New York art historian and dealer Robert Simon, and after a lengthy conservation treatment, several scholars concluded that it is indeed the lost Salvator Mundi.

artdetectivecover.jpgI found this bit of news wonderfully coincidental, as I have just finished reading The Art Detective: Adventures of an Antiques Roadshow Appraiser by Philip Mould (the paperback came out this past spring). Mould has a thoroughly enjoyable voice, and he wins over his readers time and again with tales of a forged Norman Rockwell, a Rembrandt in disguise, and a long-lost Gainsborough that he found misidentified at a Los Angeles auction. The zeal of collector Earle Newton--who hoarded an immense collection of masters in a Vermont church that Mould was called in to catalogue--is something we all recognize.

I learned much from this book about the process of “overpainting”--in which a later artist actually paints over the piece at hand to hide wear and tear, to remove offensive items, or merely to freshen it up--and how important and effective conservation treatments can be in finding the masterpiece underneath. Not to mention superb research skills, such as those employed by Mould and his colleague Bendor Grosvenor as they pieced together the amazing provenance of a Queen Elizabeth I portrait.

After all--as I myself have learned with my own minor (but thrilling) art “discovery” last year--art collectors aren’t so different from book collectors. We’re all in it for the chase, and we all love making a discovery. 
The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts, always has exciting events, exhibits, classes, and family programs going on. Over the next few days, however, there are a few certain to interest bibliophiles, whether you collect children’s lit or not. One happens this Sunday the 10th, when world-renowned illustrator and printmaker Barry Moser drops by to ‘talk about words and pictures.’ A book signing will follow.

Then, on Friday the 15th, Eric Carle himself will host a special presentation and reception in honor of Leo Lionni. Carle will unveil the late author-illustrator’s bronze sculpture, Imaginary Garden. The following day, Carle will be at the museum for his annual book-signing visit. (I attended this event four years ago. Yes, you will wait in a long line, but yes, you will also meet the legendary Mr. Carle and get your books signed!)

For more information, check out the events page at the Carle.
Late last year I posted a brief warning that infamous book thief John Gilkey was again active. ABAA Security Chair John Waite just circulated this update on Gilkey:

Please be aware that convicted fraudster and thief John Gilkey is operating once again, likely out of northern California.  A comic book dealer in New York state is his latest victim.  Besides defrauding book dealers, Gilkey has also left his dubious mark in the print, stamp, and comics trades.  He was arrested late last year in San Francisco following a parole violation, but was released after he (or someone) posted $75,000.00 bail.  He then disappeared, but is active once again. He is a serious criminal who continually looks for new opportunities and deceptions.  An investigation by the SFPD is ongoing; there is an outstanding warrant for his arrest.

A comment left for the post linked above by Peter of First Used Books in Vancouver suggests Gilkey may also be working in consort with a couple of other men in Canada. 

Be on the lookout for this man:


Jerry Morris, a collector with the Florida Bibliophile Society and longtime blogger at My Sentimental Library, launched today a new blog called Biblio-Connecting. As he writes in the first entry: “that’s what this piece is all about: how a bibliophile connects with other people in the book world, corresponds with them, and even meets some of them. It is also about how one person evolves from being an avid reader to becoming an enthusiastic book collector and then to becoming a raving bibliomaniac.” Follow along with Morris as he travels to Hay-on Wye, collects Samuel Johnson, corresponds with Anne Fadiman, and writes an essay for the Caxton Club’s recent book, Other People’s Books. Enjoy!
A fairly quiet month for auctions, July, but here’s what’s due to come up on the block:

- Sotheby’s London will sell Western Manuscripts and Miniatures on 5 July, in 129 lots. The top-estimated lot is an eleventh-century missal from Tours, which could fetch £80,000-100,000.

- The third selection of the Arcana Collection will be sold at Christie’s London on 6 July, in 29 lots. Fully half the lots have estimates of £100,000 or more, with the top lot being the Imhof Prayerbook, a truly spectacular illuminated manuscript from 1511 (estimated at £1.5-2 million). An impressive array of books of hours will also be on offer.

- Bloomsbury London holds a Bibliophile Sale on 7 July, in 408 lots. A good number of Lewis Carroll items will start off the sale.

- On 14 July Sotheby’s London will sell a selection of English Literature, History, Children’s Books and Illustration, in 159 lots. An archive of documents from the Sheffield Football Club(considered the originator of modern soccer rules) is estimated at £800,000-1,200,000, while an autograph draft manuscript of Jane Austen’s unfinished novel The Watsons could fetch £200,000-300,000. A first edition of Wuthering Heights rates a £90,000-130,000 estimate. James Joyce’s family passport from WWI could sell for £50,000-70,000, while a first edition ofGulliver’s Travels rates a £40,000-50,000 estimate.

- Also on 14 July, PBA Galleries sells Americana, Travel & Natural History, and Cartographywith material from the Calvin P. Otto Collection, in 358 lots. The top estimate goes to a copy ofThe Latter Day Saints’ Selection of Hymns (1861), at $20,000-30,000. An archive of China trade letters and documents is estimated at $12,000-18,000.

- Bloomsbury London has a sale of books, maps, prints and philately relating to Travel, Natural History & Sport on 14 July, in a whopping 707 lots.
Catalogue Review: Sumner & Stillman, No. 146

I love nineteenth-century fiction, and I love decorated publishers’ bindings -- put them together and that makes me a bibliophile who loves Sumner & Stillman, ABAA member located in Yarmouth, Maine. When I attend book fairs, I always stop by their booth. This particular catalogue is author-specific, offering the John Davies collection of first editions of Mark Twain.

Some the items highlighted by S&S are a first edition of Twain’s first book, The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, with a card signed by Twain tipped it ($19,500); a rare Canadian copy of The Prince and the Pauper in its original wrapper from a Toronto bookseller ($13,500); and an inscribed copy of The Innocents Abroad ($8,750).

Who knew Tom Sawyer was first published in the UK?! The true first edition of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was published six months before the American edition ($37,500). Says the catalogue, “This has become one of the tough cornerstones of a Mark Twain collection...” So here’s your chance!

For Twain collectors (either beginning or nearing completion), this catalogue’s well-written text and solid photo insert will surely guide you toward interesting finds. Zane Grey’s copy of Twain’s controversial Christian Science ($575) is one such gem. Or Editorial Wild Oats in original red decorated cloth with dust jacket ($1,750). One of two Library of Congress deposit copies of Twain’s Is Shakespeare Dead? is also here. Perhaps the LOC wants it back for $4,950?

So if you’re in Maine and you like Twain, you know what to do. For other nineteenth-century authors, illustrators, and editions, saunter around the S&S website.

Auction Guide