Legendary Book Scout Martin Stone

Bookseller Martin Stone, regarded as one of the best book hunters (and guitar players) in modern memory, died nearly a year ago now, but his legend clearly lives on.

                                                                                                                                                              Last week, Booktryst announced its publication of a fine press festschrift, The Remarkable Martin Stone, published in an edition of 150 with contributions from the likes of Iain Sinclair, Marianne Faithful, and Sylvia Beach Whitman. It is being sold by subscription, to ship in December, and expected to sell out.   

And now, debuting tonight at Ink Fair London is a catalogue of Stone’s French books, 1873-1925 (download the PDF here) offered by UK bookseller Justin Croft. Unlike most book scouts, Stone kept a large stock of books and never offered them on the Internet; much of what he left is, therefore, fresh to the market, unseen since who knows when.  

According to Croft, “These books are the fruit of several decades of Martin Stone’s book hunting through the bookshops, markets, bookfairs and basements of Paris and beyond.”

Needless to say, the books are gorgeous. Here are a few of my favorites:

5822a.jpgA first edition of Edmond Haraucourt’s L’Effort. La Madone. L’Antéchrist. L’Immortalité. La Fin du monde (Paris, 1894). Copy #118 of 180 on papier velin, with elaborate decorative borders and red silk endpapers. Notes the catalogue: “An elaborate bibliophilic project direct by Octave Uzanne in iconic symbolist style: a collection of four stories, each with a different illustrative scheme.” £2,200 ($2,920)

5929.jpgA first edition of Jean Rameau’s first collection, Poèmes fantasques (Paris, 1883), illustrated by A. Gambard. One of 100 copies on japon and signed. £500 ($665).

6164.jpgEdgar Allan Poe’s Une Descente dans le maelstrom, illustrated by Marc Roux (Paris, 1920). An unnumbered copy, one of 450, illustrated with woodcuts printed in color. The endpaper bears an inscription by the artist. £200 ($265)

Images courtesy of Justin Croft Antiquarian Books

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