Saturday, April 28, 2007

My God They Breed/Tattoos/Tiles / Bookplates

Click On Images to Enlarge
Click On Images To Enlarge-I got quite a few colorful tattoo related calling cards from one paper dealer in Kutztown

Click on Images To Enlarge

I went to the opening day of something called the Kutztown Extravaganza on Thursday April 26. For those of you not familiar with the event, picture this: several acres of Pennsylvania farmland where about 1,000 antique and junk dealers set up tables and tents and wait for the buyers, who are eager to pay 15.00 each to be there as things are being unpacked.The days of finding treasures at every other table are long past but it's still exciting to participate.My best find was a polychrome Dutch tile circa 1640-75 (ref Dutch Tiles,Philadelphia Museum Of Art,p.88) Should I tell you how much I paid for it ? That would be gauche wouldn't it? I can't stop myself ,$12.00

The next Extravaganza will be on June 28Th-30 and you can get details at

In case you are wondering I did not get any bookplates but I did add some items to my tattoo collection.

Perhaps I should explain that as a seven year I bought penny ink transfer tattoos(Decalcomanias) at a local candy store in Brooklyn .Whenever I find remnants of old tattoos, I purchase them for my ephemera collection. There is a certain irony in the fact that I find most real tattoos repulsive.It was one thing to see tattooed waitresses when I used to travel to rough places in Kentucky and West Virginia but it's really frightening to see young people with grotesque images on their arms and necks pushing baby carriages in Rittenhouse Square. My God they breed.
I should add at least some bookplate information so let me direct you to the website for Dr. Wolfgang Rieger, a dealer who has a nice selection of German bookplates.
See you next week.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

More Judaica/ Sunwise Turn Bookshop



If there are two hundred bookplate collectors in the United States I would be very surprised. When you select a bookplate specialty such as Judaica the number probably drops to twenty people. It is a double edge sword . On the one hand I have very little competition but on the other hand there are not many individuals with whom I can exchange duplicates. With that thought in mind I am going to post ten duplicates for possible exchange. My contact address if you wish to exchange duplicates is
For those of you who would like to start a collection, here is a time tested way to begin. Contact your local hand bookbinder. Most of them are pack rats who save every scrap of leather and marbled paper along with bookplates.Some of the nicest bookplates in my collection came from bookbinders.
Here is another suggestion. If you are at an antiquarian bookshop be sure to ask if they have a box of old boards (detached covers) .This is an source for unexpected treasures.The Argosy bookshop in New York City keeps several boxes of old boards and from time to time I have found some nice bookplates there . On my last visit I picked up a board with a crude but colorful booksellers label which aroused my curiosity . Here is what I found out. The Sunwise Turn bookstore was in operation around 1916 and the label was probably designed by one of the owners, Madge Jensison. She also wrote a book about the shop entitled Sunwise Turn, A Human Comedy of Bookselling. It is poorly written but I read it out of curiosity.

Another book I read this week and could not put down was Outwitting History by Aaron Lansky.It's about one man's quest to save Yiddish books from being destroyed.It truly inspired me and I plan to visit the National Yiddish Book Center ( the fruit of his labors) this summer.
My collection is not limited to Judaica bookplates. If you have bookplates for sale or exchange I would like to hear from you.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

From Norwich U.K. to Jerusalem

Sarah Spooner and Jon Gregory are two print makers based in Norwich U.K. who work with wood engravings, woodcuts and linocuts.The Woodman bookplate below is one of their recent projects.They write that "as a general guide ,a set of 50 hand -printed bookplates(4 x 3 inches) from a original engraving would cost $150.00 (not including delivery)" Their website is

Leonard Baskin was an American sculptor, painter, print maker,book designer and ephemera collector who did some very striking bookplates with Jewish themes.

Somewhere in the back of my head I know who designed this very powerful bookplate for the American Friends of the Hebrew University .In Fact, the artist's signature ( In Hebrew) is on the plate.You can click on the image to enlarge it. In any event, I will let you know when I find out. Update- Bob Weinberg , just refreshed my memory.The bookplate is by Arthur Szyk (1894-1851).

This bookplate below was engraved by Joris Mommen of Belgium

The two bookplates shown above were designed by Ephraim Moses Lilien (1874-1925)

I have always liked bookplates with Jewish themes or symbols.It is a niche within a niche which perhaps five people focus on. Within my collection there are some favorites which I have illustrated and as always , your input is encouraged.

Two excellent books on Judaica bookplates are Illustrated Essays On Jewish Bookplates by Philip Goodman and Jewish Book-Plates by A.M. Haberman

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Horatio Nelson Poole

Last weekend I put some duplicates on Ebay and one of the artists who generated significant bidding activity was Horatio Nelson Poole. According to Dr. William Butler he is known to have done at least 27 bookplates during the time he resided in Hawaii.I suspect the number may be far greater and any images or biographical information you have to add would be most appreciated. Send your scans etc. to


Sunday, April 01, 2007

BookplatesOn Ebay Sunday April 1st.

eBay Seller: bookplatemaven: Prints, Historical Memorabilia items on

Well it's official. I am now retired . My wife and I used to have a weekend booth in an antique mall . Actually she had a booth and I was the shlepper ( not in spell check).That gave me about six hours every Saturday and Sunday to buy things that struck my fancy. I figure it will take about three lifetimes to sell everything . For the moment Ebay works well for me. I spent a good part of the day listing 26 bookplates. If you click on the link above perhaps you will find one you can not live without.

Next week I will be back on schedule with lots of images. See you soon.