Saturday, March 30, 2013

Bookplate Odds And Ends

I  am interested in all sorts of ephemera and was delighted to find  Princeton's graphic arts blog . There are many visual delights  I selected just one of them (English tobacco wrapping paper) to whet your appetite

I have  several tobacco related bookplates in my own collection. Here are two examples:

4/3/2013 Thank you Richard Schimmelpfeng for the following information:

Lew, were you aware that Arents had an enormous tobacco collection? His collection is at the New York Public and there is a sumptuous three volume folio catalogue of it.  

The Bookplate of John Butler by Paul Revere was unrecorded in Clarence Brigham's Paul Revere's Engravings. It is in the collection of The American Antiquarian Society( the gift of George T. Goodspeed.) If you are wondering about the value of this plate should another one become available my  guess is that at auction the starting bid would be around $10,000.00

East Coast Book & Paper Shows - April 2013

John Renjilian Sent me the Email shown below. 

Thank you John.

The month will be welcomed by the LI Vintage Book and Ephemera Fair, 6-7 April, bouncing back to its location at the Garden City Field House, 295 Stewart Ave, 11530. Saturday 11-6, Sunday 11-4, $6 admission. I haven't been in some years, but my guess would be perhaps around 40 dealers. When at this venue earlier, the fair was held in conjunction with an antiques show, but no mention of that is made so I presume this will be all books/paper. It has often been a strong fair.,, or 603-509-2639 will get you more information.

The next week will see a doubleheader in NYC. Starting first will be the ABAA show at the Park Ave Armory, 643 Park Ave at 67th St, opening with a preview Thursday evening, 5-9, and continuing Friday, 12-8, Saturday 12-7, and Sunday 12-5. Admission to the preview is $40, $35 for the next three days, or $20 per day. There will be about 200 dealers from 11 countries to browse among, bringing many treasures with them; as your eyes get bigger, so will your pocketbook need to. Free approximate valuations will be offered Sunday, up to three items; bring something good, by Sunday the dealers will need a boost. Additional information is at, or 212-777-5218.

The Manhattan Vintage Book and Ephemera Fair, the Shadow Show, will take place the same weekend at the Altman Building, 135 West 18th St, 10011, 12-13 April. Two days only, Friday 5-9, Saturday 8-4, admission $12. Smaller in size, and no doubt a tad less on the price tags, this is still the place where the ABAA dealers will come to replenish they're stocks; you can beat them to it and find the bargains first. Flamingo runs the show,, or 603-509-2639.

The Allentown Paper Show will take over the last weekend of the month, at the Agriculture Hall in the Fair Grounds, 1929 Chew St, in Allentown, PA, 27-28 April. Saturday 9-5, Sunday 9-3, admission $7 ($6 with card at the website), 170 dealers. This one is well worth your effort, lots of books, paper, just about anything imaginable. Scott Klutinoty, Allentown Paper Show, is in charge,,, or, 610-573-4969 for more information.

I have a clipping announcing the second annual Antiquarian Book, Ephemera and Postcard Show to be held 28 April, at the Brookline Event Center, 32 Proctor Hill Rd (rt 130), Brookline, NH 03033. 9-2, about 25 dealers; however, there is nothing on the website calendar for that date, and I would definitely contact the organizers, Ron or Kathy Pelletier, before traveling.,, or 603-673-4474.

See You next Sunday

Monday, March 25, 2013

Helpful Hints for New bookplate Collectors

If you are a new bookplate collector the following article which I wrote for Collectors Weekly five years ago distills thirty plus years of experience into a few paragraphs.

Bookplate (Exlibris) Collecting Basics

— March 19th, 2008
Lew Jaffe’s Bookplate Junkie blog is a member of our Collectors Weekly Hall of Fame. For more information on collecting bookplates and an incredible array of beautiful bookplates, visit Bookplate Junkie.
Dragonfly bookplate ex librisBookplate mania in America and England peaked from 1890 to about 1920. That’s when the really great collections were formed. Most of them were either dispersed or absorbed into other collections. These collections are like old friends because they all came from the same gene pool. Perhaps there were 100 collectors who actively exchanged duplicates and many of the same core plates are to be found in all the collections. They were often mounted on 6 inch by 9 inch card stock.
Today, if there are two hundred bookplate collectors in the United States I would be very surprised. What could be more boring then being subjected to watching a neighbor’s home video of a trip to Disneyland with their grandchildren? My assumption is that most people, after five minutes, have similar reactions listening to me go on about bookplates. That’s why it’s so pleasurable to meet with fellow collectors who share your enthusiasm.

Finding Bookplates

People often ask me where to find bookplates so I thought it might a good time to write about building a collection.
EBay: When I started this adventure about 35 years ago there was no Ebay so I built a collection without it. Today Ebay is certainly an excellent way to find bookplates from around the world. It takes time and discipline because there is so much clutter but it is still worth the effort.
Elbert Hubbard Roycroft bookplate ex librisBookplate Societies: When I first got interested in bookplates I joined both The American ( and English ( bookplate societies .That gave me an opportunity to meet with and obtain bookplates from other collectors. It still makes good sense to join these organizations. I am always interested in exchanging bookplates with other collectors and was very pleased to receive the January, 2008 Directory Of Members from the Bookplate Society. There are about 200+ individual members in the group and about 159 have indicated a willingness to trade. One of the easiest ways to build a collection is to exchange duplicates.
Bookplate engravers and designers are often willing to send you a bookplate in exchange for one of yours. It’s a simple way for them to meet potential customers. Of course, you need a decent bookplate to begin with.
Booksellers: Antiquarian and used booksellers will go out of their way to help you if you make your interest known to them. It gets harder each year as the number of open shops decreases, and the number of pre-1920′s books on the shelves is decreasing. Nevertheless, it is often productive. Start looking in either the poetry or foreign language sections as owners of such books seem to have used bookplates more frequently and there is often less turnover of inventory. Ask the bookseller if he keeps a box of detached boards. I have found some excellent 18th century plates in such boxes.

Bookbinders: In most large communities there is at least one hand bookbinder. Check the Yellow Pages, Google, or ask a book dealer. More often than not they, being pack rats, hold onto old bookplates, and in some instances are more than willing to sell you a cigar box full.
I also buy a number of bookplates from dealers.
Book and Paper Shows: I have always enjoyed going to shows. After a while, dealers will save things for you. It pays to stop at every booth and ask. 
Angel of Death letters: I am almost (not quite) embarrassed to admit to the fact that I used to look up the ages of bookplate collectors and wrote to all those over eighty to inquire if they knew of any collections for sale. The point is that it was very productive and I bought two major collections that way. For the record, I am 70, so do not bother me until 2018!
Letters to Famous People: I’ve occasionally gotten some remarkable bookplates by writing to celebrities, but I have not had too much luck in recent years. Too much mail is filtered by clerks and more often than not you get a signed photo or an auto-pened label.

Themes in Bookplate Collecting

Teepee bookplate ex librisMany collectors have specialized topics and themes that they focus on. I tend to spend my time and energy searching for 18th century American exlibris, bookplates from the libraries of famous people from any country and bookplates with Jewish signs or symbols. The list keeps growing. Rabbits are a good case in point. I started with two Rabbit plates and in the dark of night between the covers of their snug album pages they reproduced so now I have a litter of eight. Five are domestic and three came from England.
I know there are collectors out there who focus on dogs, cats, owls, stamps, chess and even chickens.
Dated Bookplates: I have always been partial to dated bookplates. Somehow, knowing precisely when a bookplate was engraved is very orderly and comforting. A strange choice of words perhaps, but that is my gut feeling. Two excellent reference books about dated bookplates are:
Dated Bookplates, A Treatise On Their Origin And Development by Walter Hamilton. There are three volumes. Volume two covers the eighteenth century.
Early Printed Book Labels by Brian North Lee: Anything written by Brian North Lee is carefully and lovingly researched.

How to Remove a Bookplate

Let us assume you purchased a book with significant historical significance, an association copy from the library of a president. It would be a crime against future generations to remove the bookplate. On the other hand, if you went to a library book sale and got a Reader’s Digest Condensed Book with a bookplate you wanted, the removal would be completely acceptable.
It’s all very subjective. Over the years I have in fact removed many bookplates. Sometimes the books are donated to a charity, sometimes they are resold on eBay. Here’s how I remove the bookplates without damaging the book. I would suggest that you start by practicing on distressed items. These instructions should not be used for leather bookplates and those with red dye should be tested first with a moistened Q-Tip, as red tends to bleed:
1) Boil Water
2) Fold a paper towel in quarters and cut it slightly larger than the bookplate
3) Using tongs, immerse the folded towel into the boiling water.
4) Place the steaming towel on top of the bookplate. If the bookplate is on the inside front
cover be sure it is level. You may have to place a saucer under it to keep it level.
5) Wait two minutes and place the point of a knife under a corner of the bookplate. Lift gently
and try to pull off.If you encounter resistance continue to soak another minute.
6) To avoid curling, after removal , place the bookplate betweeen some paper towels ,
place a book on top and let it sit for a day.
Let me know how well this worked for you. From time to time you may be surprised to find a second bookplate under the one you removed.
Leather bookplates were used by many of the wealthiest American bibliophiles in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They are without question elegant but as a practical matter the oils in the leather tend to damage the pages they touch. Removal of leather bookplates when required can be done by inserting the tip of an X-acto blade under a corner and gently prying the plate upward. Most glue did not bond well and the plates usually can be removed intact.
For more information about bookplates (and more great bookplate images) visit Lew’s Bookplate Junkie blog.

Note from Lew 3/25/2013  After rereading the article I realized that one very productive resource for acquiring bookplates is worth restating and that library book sales were never mentioned.
Library Book Sales
This link below is a must  if you want to find library booksales in America
If you know of  comparable sites for other countries please contact me and it will be added to this posting.

BookFairs in the U.K.

  Hand Bookbinders.-Find one in or near your community. They are often pacrats and hold onto bookplates  which they might sell or give to an enthusiastic new collector. Make the effort and you may be rewarded. Good Luck in your quest.

See you next Sunday.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Bookish Ephemera

My Ebay listings ended successfully and over fifty percent of the sales were from outside the U.S.
Buyers from China  and Saudi Arabia were particularly active.
I  have thousands of duplicates from around the world for possible Exchange or Sale so send me your want lists

Here are a two duplicates for possible exchange.
The first is from the library of a lawyer interested in fox hunting and music and the second one is by Mark Severin

Issue # 10 of Counter Print arrived last week and much of it is devoted to bookish ephemera.

Each of the articles is well illustrated.
There is a six page  article by Tim Sumner about book bags

A four page article by Keld Bech about Frederikshavn Kunstmuseum

A four page  article about ephemera found in books by Michael Popek

A four page article I wrote about bookplates

Last but not least a four page article by Greg Kindall about bookseller and book  binder's trade labels

You can order a copy at

Here is something I picked up recently for my bookish ephemera collection

Here are some aluminum advertising book marks from my bookish ephemera collection.
 I assume they were used in the early 20th century.

More Bookish ephemera

If you send me scans of bookish ephemera from your own collection I will add them to this blog posting.

See you again next Sunday

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Bookplates On Ebay

From time to time I list duplicate bookplates on Ebay.

My selections are eclectric and hopefully you will be pleased with some of them.

Three of the 25 listed items are shown below.

To see all of them just follow this link and search by seller name  bookplatemaven

The frog was designed by K. Kawasaki  for Shoji  Kozuka the president of The Japanese Bookplate Society (circa 1933) It was printed from six blocks.

The airplane bookplate was designed by the owner F.A.Willwerth

The woodcut polo player was done by TF for Caryle Baer , a Washington attorney who for many years directed the American Society of Bookplate Collectors and Designers.

I 'll be back next Sunday with a regular blog posting..If you look at my Ebay listings and do not see bookplates that fit into your collection please send me an email and let me know what you are looking for..I have many other bookplates for sale or exchange.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Bookplate Artists From Around The World, Roy Cooney

"Roy has lived most of his life in the West Country, starting an apprenticeship in engraving at the age of sixteen. He eventually left the British Admiralty's Hydrographic Office (the department responsible for producing charts for navigation) four years ago, after a career in engraving and cartographic duties, and as training officer responsible for teaching draftsmanship to naval and HO staff. He now concentrates on producing a wide range of pictorial subjects and botanical studies as limited editions, by the ancient and now relatively rare medium of line engraving. With a growing reputation for engraving based on heraldic designs, commissions for armorial bookplates are awarded in increasing numbers.
Other work varies considerably, and includes the restoration of historic engravings and etchings, re-strike printing of earlier engravings, giving demonstrations and delivering lectures and participating in the activities and organization of the Hilliard Society, the Somerset Guild of Craftsmen and the Bookplate Society. He was asked by the British Broadcasting Corporation for advice on how James McNeill Whistler would have produced his hydrographic scenes while employed by the US Coast and Geodetic Survey, and was then invited to recreate the process for the camera as "Whistler's Hands" - engraving and printing - in a program about Whistler's life in the BBC "Omnibus" series.
Participation in international bookplate and small graphics exhibitions and art exhibitions has been rewarded by a number of awards and commissions.
Roy exhibits in Holland, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic and the Ukraine, where prints of bookplates and limited editions are also held in art galleries, museums, universities, libraries and private collections. He is producing limited editions of pictorial line engravings which are sold through exhibitions and galleries throughout the UK and parts of Europe and the USA."

In 1995 I visited the late Brian North Lee and he gave me the newest of his many personal bookplates.It was engraved by Roy Cooney.

At the time I was searching  for someone to design my first bookplate and I contacted Mr. Cooney. The theme I choose was a waterwheel that had been engraved by Henry Dawkins.
I like all my bookplates but this is still my favorite.

Here are a few of the Roy Cooney bookplates and engravings from my own collection:

Roy sent the following note along with the wasp engraving shown below:
"One of my limited editions for your retention!This Queen Wasp died on my window-sill.I drew the image straight on the copper and then engraved it"

Follow this link for many more    images and a checklist of Roy Coooney's bookplates.

See you again nexr week.