Friday, July 25, 2008

Bookplate Names Can Fool You.

Several years ago I was offered two books from the library of Sir Ernest H. Shackelton. I was ready to buy them when a collector friend in England informed me that these were not from the famous explorers library but from a barrister's clerk who not only had the same name but also the same middle initial.
The pictorial bookplate on the left was engraved by Josiah Allen for Joseph Priestley, the chemist around 1810 while the armorial plate was used by one of his descendants.

The James Fenimore Cooper bookplate shows up on Ebay from time to time and is quickly purchased .The problem is that it did not belong to the famous author.It was used by his son or grandson, I forget which one it was.

When I was in Brooklyn the other day I went to the Unnameable Book Shop at 456 Bergen St. and got this bookplate for W.H. Annenberg . My educated guess is that it was used by Walter Annenberg , the publisher and philanthropist.

Recently an Ebay seller listed a book with the bookplate of Edward Bellamy. His underlined caption was clear "Famous Owner's Bookplate" . He included biographical information about Bellamy along with his photograph. If this was a bookplate from Bellamy's library , I wanted it and was prepared to bid aggressively in order to obtain it. I checked five or six references and was unable to verify anything so I contacted the seller for more information.This was his response:

"I can't be positive obviously, but no one else can either, I purchased it from a dealer from around where the author lived years ago, and on the assumption of the type of book, usually only the wealthier people had well conditioned books such as this."

No way was I going to bid on the item. Let someone else gamble. It's one thing for a collector to let wishful thinking override facts but it is very annoying and unprofessional when done by a dealer .
Here is an interesting book shelf blog
If you do frequent book searches this one should be bookmarked :
See you next week.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Premium or Prize Exlibris/Rewards of Merit

Four 19 th century American Rewards of Merit.Click on Images to Enlarge
When I was a student at P.S.198 in Brooklyn acknowledgement of a job well done was a gold star.
In 18th century England the reward was a bit more elaborate. Here are a few examples from my collection. If you click on the images they can be enlarged. For more comprehensive information about these "Rewards of Merit " you should obtain a copy of Premium Or Prize Ex-Libris by Brian North Lee (ISBN 0 9535008 4 5 ).
Another excellent book by Patricia Fenn & Alfred P Malpa is Rewards Of Merit (ISBN 0-943231-68-X) . It's focus is on American items.The book was remaindered several years ago and is probably still available at a reasonable price.

Lawrence Klimecki ( )

recently completed a bookplate for his own use and I asked him to write about his technique along with a brief biography. Here is his response.

Lawrence Says: July 18, 2008 at 5:35 pm
I work initially in pen and ink. At some point in the design I bring everything into Photoshop for finishing. Finishing can be anything from a slight clean up to arranging different elements into a single composition. I charge $225 for a 3.5″ X 5″ design. Delivered as an electronic file, jpeg or pdf, for easy printing.Bio:Lawrence Klimecki is an artist/designer living near Sacramento Ca. He attended the Academy of Art College in San Francisco where he studied illustration and graphic design. In 1995 he founded Gryphon Rampant, the publishing end of his various projects.Lawrence now focuses primarily on religious and sacred art. He draws inspiration and influence from wide range of sources including Byzantine icons, art nouveau, golden age illustration, and contemporary graphic design.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Picasa Album/ Brooklyn Trip/The Inspector General Of Insane

More often than not I update the blog once a week . Since I have been posting information in bits and pieces throughout the week consider this the early Sunday edition. I just got back from a flea market in the Fairmount section of Philadelphia. Fairmount is one of those neighborhoods in which people like me wonder why they did not buy a house there when it was a slum. Now it is very cozy and a nice place to raise a family.Ruth and Ricci Andeer had the good fortune( and good sense) to settle there , raise a family and start a bookstore at 2202 Fairmount Ave. The flea market wasn't very productive so I stopped at their bookshop and found a copy of
Songs Of Kabir by Rabindranath Tagore. The bookplate in it was mildly interesting ( I am going through bookplate withdrawal and needed a fix) plus the inscription called out for translation. Can someone out there assist me? Here is what I have found out about James Kip Finch (1883-1967).He was an important civil engineer , author, and the dean of the school of engineering at Columbia University.

Malcolm Enright, fellow bookplate enthusiast ,blogger. and "jeweller to the lost" recently sent me this breathtaking photograph of Antarctica .

Here is a bookplate to put a smile on your face. I found it on Vanda Symon's blog.

Some people have the single minded ability to muster all their mental resources and focus that energy on a single project for a sustained period of time.That is not the way my mind usually works . I am a mental sprinter . Either I learn something quickly or I go on to another project.

The folks at Google have figured out that there are many people whose heads are wired that way and they design their products accordingly. That is why I am so pleased with the Picasa photo album which I am using in conjunction with an article about Hugh and Margaret Eaton for

The Exlibris Chronicle. The article will be about Eaton designed bookplates but the Picasa Album will encompass all kinds of ephemera which they produced at The Valhall Studio in Brooklyn , New York

This album is a work in progress and much more is to be added in the next few days.

Speaking of Brooklyn, I will be there on July 23rd and 24th on a bookplate expedition. If you are in the area and have bookplates to sell or trade please contact me.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Five Turtles And an Otter

W.R.R. Potter uses a punning bookplate with an otter. After a while many collectors start to focus on collecting certain themes, subjects ,styles, artists etc. I focus most of my collecting time (and money) on 18th century American bookplates and bookplates from the libraries of famous people. By the same token you get caught up in acquiring
"oddball" things like bookplates with turtles. Here is what is in my turtle stash.
Bookplate from the Hermesian Society

Dr.Walton Martin was a surgeon in New York City.

Anyone out there know anything about the owners of this plate?

Albert D. Pierce wrote books about South Jersey and the Pine Barrens. The Mock Turtle is from Alice In Wonderland

Dr. Martin married Charlotte Hunnewell and they lived in Turtle Bay Gardens in New York City.

Here is an interesting article about things found in books.

Here is a great Ephemera blog.
Here is an interesting bookplate posting from The Oriental Institute
I saved the best one last: A bookplate slideshow from Keith DuQuette at The Brooklyn Museum.