Saturday, December 21, 2019

And The Contest Winner is

Hi Lew,
Thanks for the contest. I'm going to take a shot at parodying the snooty descriptions seen in some auction catalogs. I'm certain this is not what you were expecting, but that is part of the fun!

Although originally untitled, this masterful woodblock print has become known as "Perhaps a Cat, Maybe a Fish" and is considered one of the quintessential unknown prints of its genre, truly one of the masterworks of contemporary design. It is believed to have been created before the death of the artist, and thus scholars theorize it to be rare lifetime impression, possibly an artist's proof.

The richly-inked cobalt background symbolizes both earth and sky while dramatically contrasting the robust quasi-zoological central figure. The deep carmine of this ambiguous creature becomes ever more intense as it fills the frame, creating not only classic ambiguity in its identification but also a dynamic push-pull of the planar space. The limbs, legs, or wings are constructed entirely of sharp angles, thus more reminiscent of the architecture of Frank Ghery than a polymorphous Anton Gaudi.

The leading caption is cryptic and enigmatic. Read vertically, it is believed to be an acrostic for the phrase "EXhibit LIBeration RISing" though some scholars have put forth other interpretations. The lower phrase "Jan Rhe her gen." continues to baffle linguists, as it has since its creation. There may arise a singular opportunity to acquire this iconic masterpiece, or perhaps not.

All the best,

Jeffrey Price  

Thursday, October 03, 2019

Update and New Contest

It has been far too long since I updated my blog so here we go.
For those of you who save book tickets fellow collector /dealer
Gabe Konrad has started a new Facebook page. A job well done.

For those of you interested in contests I have begun a new one.

Date: Wed, 2 Oct 2019 11:50:00 -0400
From: Gabor Konrad
Subject:  Bookseller Labels and; Marks

I’d like to invite anyone who’s interested in bookseller labels to join our
Facebook page at

This project originally started as a website (,
and eventually, most of the information was transferred to Facebook so
everyone could post and take part.

We hope this page will evolve into a resource for collectors, bibliophiles,
and researchers, and those interested in booksellers’ marks and related
ephemera. Bookseller labels have a long history and are richly entwined
with the history of bookselling worldwide, and we hope to offer a glimpse
of their history.

Thanks for checking it out, Gabe

Gabe Konrad

Bay Leaf Books, ABAA

                                                   NEW CONTEST

All entries must be received by 12  A.M. (E.S.T.)Friday November 25th.A.M.

10/4/2019   Please send your entries

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

A Message From James Keenan


You might suggest to your tribe of followers that they purchase your new book through the ASBC&D on Amazon Smile (link provided below).  They will pay no more for any Amazon products, but Amazon makes a small donation to the Society.  If you sell a million copies (and I hope you do), Amazon’s small donation could make a difference.

A new book from Lew Jaffe!  Ex Libris is a lightly lined notebook featuring sixty vintage and historic bookplates.  Bookplate images include those of luminaries such as Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Greta Garbo, Bing Crosby, Bette Davis, Harry Houdini, Jacqueline Kennedy, Edith Wharton, Robert Frost, and Salvador Dali.  A tipped-on bookplate on a cloth cover and a ribbon marker complete this bibliophile’s notebook.  Ex Libris is available wherever books are sold, including the Princeton Architectural Press website and Amazon.

On Amazon, be sure to visit the American Society Of Bookplate Collectors And Designers at “Amazon Smile”.  Same products, same prices, same service, but Amazon donates a small percentage to the Society

Here is a link to the book page on the Princeton Architectural Press website:


James P. Keenan
American Society of Bookplate
Collectors & Designers 
Post Office Box 14964
Tucson, Arizona USA 85732-4964        

Please visit us: 

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

A Message from Anthony Pincott

Date: Tue, 20 Aug 2019 11:16:03 +0100
From: "Tony Pincott" <>

1. The latest issue number 60 of Illustration magazine, published by the
Cello Press, includes a 7-page article on bookplates. You can download and
read this at
<> .

2. Gathering together a historical collection of bookplates is a great
encouragement to their study. Notwithstanding the extensive literature, this
is a field wide open to further research. It is adjacent to such other areas
of interest as family history, book provenance, graphic art, heraldry,
biography and more. The Bookplate Society holds three members auctions each
year. For the next one on September 9, 2019, the auction list and images are
viewable online. Go to <> and click on Members Area at top right.

3. The home page has a link to a flyer giving details of the Society at
images/FlyerLR.pdf .

4. Cash prizes for newly created bookplates: Bookplates continue to be
made today, and competitions for contemporary work are held frequently. Visit
<> for details of the
competition that is being run by The Bookplate Society as part of its hosting
of the 38th FISAE International Exlibris Congress in Central London on 12-15
August 2020. This is an open competition for artists worldwide, but to
encourage young artists one of the prizes is restricted to students in the UK
and Republic of Ireland, and another will be awarded to an artist aged under
35 at the deadline entry date of 31 March 2020. The website also includes
entry details for the Australian Bookplate Design Award. The deadline for
entries for this is 15 November 2020. If you can think of useful ways to reach
potential participants, do please write to me.

5. This 38th FISAE International Exlibris Congress will take place at
the Royal National Hotel, Bloomsbury, in the same meeting hall where the
monthly Etcetera Book Fair is held. Visitors buying 2-hour or 1-day tickets
will be able to (1) view an exhibition of contemporary exlibris, selected from
entries to the competition, (2) meet artists who will display their work, (3)
attend talks on the morning of Thursday, 13 August 2020, and (4) attend the
international auction of high quality exlibris on the morning of Friday, 14
August 2020, hosted by a celebrity auctioneer.

6. Please send offers of material for that auction to me at
> . Only
exlibris can be accepted, minimum lot value $50 and only items likely to
appeal to collectors worldwide. Bidding is open not only to congress
participants but to anyone worldwide whose registration (sent to this same
email address) is approved. The webpage for the auction is currently work in
progress, with several dozen lots already entered, and will become visible in
about March/April 2020.

Anthony Pincott

The Bookplate Society

London N1

Friday, August 02, 2019

Bookplate Book Update From Lew Jaffe

Ex Libris
A Journal
4.75 × 6.5 IN (12.1 × 16.5 CM)
ISBN: 9781616898632

This lightly lined notebook features sixty full color vintage bookplates. Perfectly sized to toss in your bag for book group or to take to your favorite cafe, this journal is as appealing to the lover of ephemera and graphic design as it is to the lit lover. Bookplates featured include those of luminaries such as Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Greta Garbo, Bing Crosby, Harry Houdini, Jacqueline Onassis, and Edith Wharton. A tipped-on bookplate on a cloth cover and a ribbon marker complete this bibliophile's dream notebook.
Note From Lew Jaffe - On September  24th the book which I mentioned several months ago will be published.

Monday, March 11, 2019

My Favorite Bookplates

Perfect Ten
Rating Bookplates


Katherine Peach

In the late Middle Ages, books were costly and rare—even after the invention of the printing press. Owning a small personal library of volumes was no doubt a source of great pride, but how could a fifteenth-century bibliophile assert ownership over his collection and ensure that borrowed books found their way back home?

The ever-resourceful Germans came up with a solution: the bookplate. Whereas once book owners relied on writing their names inside the covers (which easily could be scratched out), now they could paste a printed slip of paper into a book that not only proclaimed its ownership but also was a status symbol in and of itself.
The earliest known bookplate belonged to Hilprand Brandenburg of Biberach and can be dated to c. 1480. It’s a simple, hand-colored woodcut print of an angel holding a shield. There are more than 450 books known to contain Brandenburg’s plate.

Over the ensuing centuries, bookplates evolved beyond simple woodcuts to intricately engraved or etched designs that could be either mass-produced for book owners who would fill in their own names or custom-made for specific bibliophiles. They were commonly known as ex libris, Latin for “from the books of.”
Bookplates tended to epitomize the fashionable styles of the day, from fussy baroque to streamlined art deco. Famous artists, including William Hogarth and Aubrey Beardsley, got into the bookplate-designing game, and ex libris were commissioned and used by all manner of people, from everyday book lovers to world leaders, to the Hollywood elite.
Beardsley Bookplate

Needless to say, bookplate collectors are keenly interested in collecting plates that belonged to notable individuals. They eagerly buy, sell and trade detached bookplates, as well as those that are still pasted into volumes.
One such self-described “bookplate junkie” is Lew Jaffe of Philadelphia, who has been seriously collecting these slips of paper for more than three decades and maintains an informative and exhaustive blog (
When asked to pick his three favorite bookplates, Jaffe likened the task to “choosing which of your kids you like the most.” However, here are three from his collection to which he feels particularly drawn.

Rated “10,” best, is Jaffe’s own bookplate. “I decided I really liked my own bookplate, and it’s one of my favorites.” Jaffe commissioned the design from a young American artist named Daniel Mitsui (, who specializes in bookplates in a style that harkens back to their earliest woodcut days. “There really aren’t many bookplate designers in America,” Jaffe said. “There aren’t that many artists who have enough of a following to make a career from bookplate design. He’s one of the few; he’s the most active.” Measuring 3-1/2” by 4-1/2”, Jaffe’s plate features a dragonfly against a background of varied sea life—starfish, frogs, snails, fish and flowers, along with bones. “I love mine,” Jaffe said. “It’s humorous and funny.” Jaffe has used his plate as it was intended—pasted into books in his personal library—but he has also traded it with fellow bookplate collectors. Perhaps one day this will be a hotly desired collectible.

Rated “9,” better, is a woodblock bookplate that belonged to classic Hollywood director Cecil B. DeMille. “I chose that one because, really, it’s a striking image,” Jaffe said. “It’s in very bright colors—orange, gold and black. Very striking.” Jaffe explained, “In general, color enhances anything,” adding to this plate’s collectible value. The DeMille plate measures 3-1/4” wide by 3” high and was designed in 1924—at the height of his success in silent films—by French artist Paul Iribe. This ex libris depicts the phoenix, a symbol of knowledge that is appropriate for a bibliophile’s library. “It is a beautiful plate,” Jaffe said. DeMille is known to have had an extensive library in his Hollywood mansion, including volumes on history and design that he would have consulted for the making of his epic motion pictures. This is one of two DeMille bookplates in Jaffe’s collection.

Rated, “8,” good, is a bookplate that was designed for enigmatic Swedish-born movie star Greta Garbo. This glamorous plate measures 3-3/4” wide by 6” high and features Garbo’s iconic profile. It was created by artist A. Herry in 1939. “This one is really good because it captures her image sort of as a caricature,” Jaffe said. There’s a lot of crossover appeal to this particular plate; as with the DeMille ex libris, it would easily be treasured by both bookplate collectors and fans of classic Hollywood. Garbo retired from the screen in 1941, at the age of 35, having acted in 28 films and having been nominated for an Academy Award on three occasions. Notoriously private, Garbo lived out her later years in a seven-room Manhattan apartment, which she filled with her enormous art collection. Because she was an aficionado of art, she likely would have been charmed by this pleasing, spare design.

Note from Lew

Katherine Peach is a writer, editor, and record store owner based in Baltimore, Md.
She wrote this article for an antique journal which went belly up. With all the time and effort 
involved in preparation  I thought the article deserved to be published.
Thank you Katherine.

Saturday, March 02, 2019

Upcoming New York City Book and Ephemera Shows in March

The Manhattan Vintage Book & Ephemera Fair and Fine Press Fair               
St. Vincent Ferrer Church
869 Lexington Avenue, New York City 10065

Marvin Getman’s New York City Book and Ephemera Fair
The Sheraton Times Square
811 7th Avenue, New York, New York 10019

The 59th Annual New York Antiquarian Book Fair 
643 Park Avenue [between 66th and 67th Streets
New York, New York 10065

I plan to visit all three shows.
If you have bookplates for sale or trade please let me know.

Lew Jaffe

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Three New Arrivals

John Cabell (Bunny ) Breckinridge

Does anyone out there recognize the artist's signature ?
It looks like it might be H T Pri ?? L

"Breckinridge was born in Paris, France to Adelaide Murphy and John Cabell Breckinridge Sr. (1879–1914), a wealthy Californian family. He was the great-great-great-grandchild of U.S. Attorney General John Breckinridge (and the great-grandchild of both U.S. Vice President and Confederate general John C. Breckinridge and Wells Fargo Bank founder Lloyd Tevis). He spent time at Eton College and Oxford University in England.

Bunny Breckinridge in Plan 9 from Outer Space
In 1958, Breckinridge agreed to play the role of an alien leader in the film Graverobbers from Outer Space (later retitled Plan 9 from Outer Space), directed by his friend, Ed Wood. Wood and Breckinridge were introduced to one another by their mutual friend Paul Marco, who played Kelton the Cop in three Wood films.
Breckinridge and Marco were living together in the latter's modest home at the time, despite the fact that he was a struggling B-movie actor and Breckinridge was an independently wealthy socialite. David Demering, who played the airplane co-pilot in the film, also lived with them.
Breckinridge's previous stage experience convinced Wood to cast him as the alien ruler who oversees an attempt to take over the Earth using an army of reanimated corpses. Indeed, his background made him one of the few truly experienced actors in the entire cast. Dressed in a pajama-like outfit which is curiously less ornate than those worn by his underlings, he sports very visible mascara and lipstick, and constantly rolls his eyes and mugs for the camera. Breckinridge continued his theatrical career throughout the 1950s, but in small local productions, such as playing the role of The Inquisitor in Richard Bailey's production of The Lark in Carmel.
By 1980, Plan 9 from Outer Space had amassed a cult following among B-movie buffs as the "worst film ever made", making Breckinridge's name known to a new generation. Meanwhile, he returned to stage acting, appearing mostly in local productions in San Francisco.
In 1994, Breckinridge was surprised to find himself portrayed as a character in a major motion picture, played by Bill Murray in Tim Burton's 1994 biopic Ed Wood. His advanced years and failing health, however, prevented him from participating in any of the publicity surrounding the film."
                                                                               Ref: Wikipedia


Here is another bookplate ( probably a woodcut) with an unknown artist.
I purchased it from Norman W. Johanson in Lancaster Pa.
He has a few more copies for sale .
His contact information is 

Emily W. Noyes

Some times I have to make  educated guesses about the bookplates added to my collection.
I studied this one for a while and decided to put it with my punning bookplates.
Perhaps that was not the owner's intention .
The artist might be Annie Blakeslee Hooper (another educated guess)
Ref Journal Of The Ex Libris Society , Volume XI  P.147

Friday, January 25, 2019

Errors in Bookplate Design

Even the most accomplished artists make mistakes when  sending out  proofs to clients  .
Here are a few examples:
Mr. Hopson knew how to spell Connecticut but he misspelled in on the first try

Dorsey Potter Tyson (1891-1969) was an etcher who lived in Baltimore and designed a powerful plate for William E. Bauer .His original proof had the middle initial A.
Timothy Cole's wood engraved bookplate for Elizabeth Bancker Gribbel was misspelled  and corrected.

If you have any  error plates or proofs to share please send jpeg scans to 


and they will be added to this blog posting.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Judaica bookplates for exchange Part 2

Part  one has  generated inquiries from Israel, Luxembourg, and  The United States.
Here is part two.  If you have duplicates for exchange send scans to

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Judaica Bookplates for possible exchange Part 1

I have accumulated many duplicates which I would like to trade with other collectors.
If you wish to trade please send your scans to
More images will be scanned on Monday
The Red Bookplate has already been traded

Saturday, January 12, 2019

This Week in Bookplates 1/13/2019

This article appeared in the January 11th edition of 

The Adirondack Enterprise
 Mr. Will H. Low, the well-known American artist, was an intimate of Robert Louis Stevenson in art student days at Barbizon. As a tribute to the memory of his gifted friend he has made for members of the Robert Louis Stevenson Society a special bookplate.
The following from “The New International Encyclopedia” affords a survey of Mr. Low’s achievements: “Low, Will Hicock, An American illustrator, figure and genre painter. He was born May 31, 1853, in Albany, N.Y. His early education was interrupted by his ill health, but in 1870 he went to New York and for two years illustrated for different magazines. He went to Paris in 1873 studying with Gerome at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, and later with Carolus Duran. His work was also influenced by association with Millet and other painters at Barbizon. Returning to America in 1877, he was elected member of the Society of American Artists in 1878 and Academician in 1890, and for a time was instructor of the life classes at the Academy and in schools of Cooper Union. In 1910 he delivered the Scammon lectures at the Arts Institute, Chicago, published under title ‘A Painter’s Progress’ (1910). He worked with a John La Farge in glass painting, and received a second-class medal at the Paris Exposition in 1889 and medals at Chicago in 1893 and Buffalo in 1901.”
“Low is best known by his illustrations for periodicals, his decorative work for public buildings and private houses, and for his stained glasses. He was one of the first to introduce light tones of the open-air school in American art. His work shows grace of line, delicate color, and good composition. His ideal subjects of gods and nymphs are painted with great charm of color reflections in light and shade. Among his works are ‘Portrait of Albani’ (1877); ‘May Blossoms’ (1888, Smith College, Northampton, Mass.); ‘My Lady’ (Lotus Club, New York); ‘Aurora’ (1894, Metropolitan Museum, New York); ‘The Orange Vendor’ (Art Institute, Chicago); ‘Christmas Morn’ (National Gallery, Washington); Among his decorations are ‘Mother and Child,’ stained glass windows (Rock Creek Church, Washington); 10 stained glass windows for St. Paul’s Methodist Episcopal Church, Newark, N.J.; decorative panels in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, New York; and mural paintings in the Essex County Court House, Newark, N.J., the Lucerne County Court House, Wilkes-Barre, Pa. (1908), the Federal Building, Cleveland, and St. Paul’s Church, Albany, N.Y. (1910); In 1914 he was engaged on mural paintings for the rotunda of the New York State Educational Building and for the Legislative Library in the Capitol at Albany. His best known illustrations are those for Keats’ Lamia and Odes and Sonnets. He is author of ‘A Chronicle of Friendships’, 1873-1900 (New York, 1908), a book of reminiscences, and many magazine articles on artistic subjects.”

Writing to the Stevenson Society of this design, Mr. Low has this to say: “You will see that I have been somewhat inspired in my design by that charming book, ‘The Penny Piper of Saranac,’ although it really goes further back than that, for I made it up of elements from my drawings for Keats’ ‘Louisa,’ which was dedicated to R.L.S. in 1885. The piping figure I then used for the colophon of the book and the escutcheon with Stevenson’s monogram formed part of the dedicatory drawing. I have thus, pardonably, I trust, sought to interweave my own personality with the design, and the background of Adirondack woods localizes it sufficiently. Will H. Low."

William Cameron Menzies , Bookplate Designer

Note from Lew: The Film critic Jimmy Starr liked the Valentino
bookplate by Menzies and had it altered for his own use.
"Menzies joined Famous Players-Lasky, later to evolve into Paramount Pictures, working in special effects and design. He quickly established himself in Hollywood with his elaborate settings[citation needed] for The Thief of Bagdad (1924), The Bat (1926), The Dove (1927), Sadie Thompson (1928), and Tempest (1928). In 1929, Menzies formed a partnership with producer Joseph M. Schenck to create a series of early sound short films visualizing great works of music, including a 10-minute version of Dukas's The Sorcerer's Apprentice, and created the production design and special effects for Schenck's feature film The Lottery Bride (1930).
Menzies's work on The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1938) was what prompted David O. Selznick to hire him for Gone with the Wind (1939). Selznick's faith in Menzies was so great that he sent a memorandum to everyone at Selznick International Pictures who was involved in the production reminding them that "Menzies is the final word" on everything related to Technicolor, scenic design, set decoration, and the overall look of the production.
"Production designer" (which is sometimes used interchangeably with "art director") was coined specifically for Menzies, to refer to his being the final word on the overall look of the production; it was intended to describe his ability to translate Selznick's ideas to drawings and paintings from which he and his fellow directors worked.[citation needed]
Menzies was the director of the burning of Atlanta sequence in Gone with the Wind. He also re-shot the Salvador Dalí dream sequence of Alfred Hitchcock's Spellbound (1945).

In addition, Menzies directed a string of dramas and fantasy films. He made two sci-fi films: the 1936 film Things to Come, based on H.G. Wells' work that predicted war, the search for peace and technical advancement; and Invaders from Mars (1953), which mirrored many fears about aliens and outside threats to humans in the 1950s. "
I recently purchased William Cameron Menzies The Shape of Films to Come by James Curtis and I look forward to reading it.
 Bookplate by Mr. Menzies for the producer John W, Considine  Jr.
John W.Considine Jr,
Mr,  Menzies' Daughter Suzie
Mr. Menzie's Cipher
I want to thank  Edward Sotto III who sent me information about Mr,Menzies,
This is how a checklist begins, If you know of any other bookplates Mr. Menzies designed 
please send information or a scan. Thanks,
Lew Jaffe

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Happy New Year

My last posting was in July of 2018 and I have finally returned.

Let's start with  some good news. If all goes according to plan I will have a bookplate book published this  fall. Details are sketchy but papers have been signed and money will soon be forthcoming.
My publisher  is The Princeton Architectural Press . Updates  will be posted  as the book progresses.

            Musings of a Jewish Bookseller by       By I. Mizrahi

          Mizrahi Book Store

             3114 Quentin Rd
             Brooklyn NY 11234
          antique, used, rare &
             out of print Jewish Books

An apparently healthy customer ended a general email with book requests with the following curt and morbid request: I have many boxes of Judaica ... Can my children just ship them to you when I die?

A fellow who got irritated at hearing a noted speaker wrongly date R. Eliyahu Hacohen (1640-1729) as a 19th century author, had me ship a 17th century copy of his book Shevet Mussar to the speaker's home, in order to prove a point

A six foot tall visiting customer, had me promise that there were no mice in the store basement before he headed in to the shop, explaining that he had an intense fear of mice

Completing an order of books that she was gifting to her husband, the woman remarked, "that should get him off my back for a few weeks"

After viewing a fine library of a Rabbi and scholar, the son of the deceased Rabbi remarked to me, "my father was a nice fellow, but unfortunately a Kofer (heretic)"

An elderly customer was too weak to make his weekly visit to the store, so he hailed a cab and had me bring out ten books at a time to the car. He made his selections, which I mailed to his home

After a customer completed a large purchase, I received a plea from a friend of his that I should not sell him any more books, as his family was nearly starving for food, and the book addict can't control his impulses

Looking for a listening ear, an old customer called to tell him that his wife has kicked him out of his house and is holding his collection of 10,000 books hostage


Follow this link about ten famous book hoarders

It is nice to be back. See you again next week

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Another Letter From Audrey Arellanes

Audrey Arellanes wrote many letters to notable people asking for bookplates .
 Aldous Huxley took the time to respond.
I have always wanted the Huxley bookplate  designed by Bruno Bramante.
An article about his bookplate appeared in the November 1947 edition of House and Garden Magazine. I already had a smaller Huxley bookplate which I suspect was posthumous.
The late Richard Schimmelpfeng sent me a signed  copy of the Bramante bookplate before he died.

                Small bookplate is probably posthumous
In 1961 Aldous Huxley wrote to Audrey "I don't have a bookplate and wouldn't have time, if I did to strike it into all my books. "
Interesting, Was Mr Huxley on a trip when he wrote the letter or was the bookplate never  sent to Mr. Huxley ? Your thoughts would be appreciated.
 Incidentally,Today, July 26th is Mr.Huxley's birthday.