Saturday, August 08, 2015

Bookplate Odds and Ends

Okay, I admit to never having read To Kill A Mockingbird ; however,I just purchased a copy and will read it this weekend..In response to a bookplate request sent about ten years ago Harper Lee took the time to send me this note (I've cropped my address at the top)

From Jacques Laget's list ( mentioned in the last posting) I selected several bookplates.
This one was chosen because it is very weird..Now I understand the image is one hundred and five years old and it is remotely possible the image was not considered weird back then but  I ask you, would you send your kid to a physician who used this bookplate ?

"Eugene Olivier, born on 17 September 1881 in Paris and died on 5 May 1964 in Paris,.He was a  fencer , physician and collector . He was a. Member of the French fencing  team  in the 1908 Olympic games . He also won the bronze medal in the individual competition.
He was a founding member and first president of the Paris University Club (PUC).
Doctor of Science , and Associate Professor of Anatomy , elected free member of the Academy of Surgery in 1953.
 Among his many interests  are Heraldry and philately ,
He was the President of the Philatelic Academy from 1957 to 1964, He collected  stamps , bookplates and emblazoned bindings, He co-authored an amateur's Manual French armorial bindings of 30 volumes."

Lucas dr Leyden sent this link about a bookplate exhibit.

The exhibition, "The heraldry of books. Ex Libris collection of the National Library. "Is based on the largest collection of bookplates in Latin America. It housed in the Treasure Room of the  National Library Mariano Moreno(Arg), it is made ​​up of about 26,000 pieces that come from the donation of Mary Magdalene Otamendi of Olaciregui, founder of the Argentina Association of Exlibristas.

Till Death Do Us Part

From The Richard Sica Bookplate Collection

Several collector friends have agreed to send me their thoughts about  disposal and dispersal of  bookplate collections. I would like to hear from many more.
By pooling ideas we can all benefit. There is no formal structure and if English is not your prime language I will assist you with the editing.
All the articles and comments will be published in mid -September.
Please don't procrastinate, the clock is ticking.
Send your thoughts to
Fellow Collector Larry Conklin responded to my request very quickly and I owe him a debt of gratitude for his thoughtful comments.
Here is what he had to say.

Dear Lew,

First of all, the bookselling/book collecting public needs to be made aware of exactly what a bookplate is. I have encountered professional (?) booksellers who think that a bookplate is any plate published in a book. How about that?

I will work on that long-discussed exhibition of my New England plates that I told you about; others should try to do likewise, locally, including you. Your blog, of course, is great.

I will try to get my article An Introduction to Bookplates. With Examples from the Earth Science Library of Herbert P. Obodda. Mineralogical Record volume 26, (1995), pages 143-158. put on my website. I have been told it is not half-bad.

Finally (and for the time being) we owners of collections of bookplates should try to put inheritance restrictions on them to our heirs and require that they do not sell them for a period of at least 20 years after we are gone.

I will try to think of more possibilities.

Best regards,


Note from Lew;
I added blue type to the last paragraph in Larry's email.It is an innovative suggestion.Would it work for most people ? Perhaps not, but it  might if your heirs understand that some collections will greatly appreciate in value over time  especially  if they make a real effort to learn about them .
Over at Rare Book Monthly, The publisher  Bruce Mckinney who  among other things is a collector of Hudson Valley Books and Ephemera is actually preparing an impressive marketing plan for the eventual sale of his collection.


Thinking about Selling

I have suggested to collectors for years that they plan to dispose in their lifetimes.  Collections in the books, manuscripts, maps and ephemera fields now fall into the traditional form of known, well documented material or, as is the case increasingly, into a more sprawling, complex form that is built at least in part on ephemera, letters and other previously unknown material that have no pricing history.  My first two collections fell clearly into the traditional form, my current collection into the latter.

Over the past month I’ve been trying to understand how my current collection should be organized.  I’ve been doing this for years but never moved beyond basic categories such as books, pamphlets, broadsides, ephemera, paintings and objects but these categories have proven to be inadequate because they are too broad.

If an auction house or dealer is looking at the material their most basic parameters will probably be quality, value and audience.  In looking at how a complex collection of often-inexpensive material will be lotted it seems likely this material will be grouped to reach whatever the target lot value is.

The organization of this collection can be seen in three different lights, divided by type, subject and/or place.  The printed catalogues will be based on a single format, the online catalogues flexible enough to permit the contents to be reframed by any of these criteria.  Because this collection includes about 5,000 items the online reframe-able version will probably more useful.

For this collection of the history of the Hudson Valley [in the State of New York] I’ll start by listing the categories that seem apparent.
  Currier & Ives Prints
  Kingston Theatre Broadsides [1850-60]
Bound Newspapers
  An extensive run of early Poughkeepsie Journals [1804-1818]
  A history of Poughkeepsie fires
  Early photographic postcards of fires, train wrecks and boat sinkings
  Shipbuilding in Newburgh
  Maps & Atlases
Objects including furniture
By subject
A collection of the watercolors of Frederick Copley [160 in color, 60 drawings]
The imprints of Joel Munsell, Albany printer [500+]
The imprints of Paraclete Potter, Poughkeepsie [30+]
The Hudson River
By place
Ulster County
  Highland, Lloyd, Milton and Marlborough
  New Paltz
Dutchess County
Orange County
  West Point
Columbia County
Greene County
Albany [the New York State capital]
The Hudson River

I’m thinking I will do most of the cataloguing with the assistance of experts.  I cannot imagine that any auction house will accept this tedious undertaking.  The paintings are of course valuable as is the furniture and some of the manuscript material.  Such items will fit into the auction house cataloging model.  But some of the most fascinating material is ephemera and will require a determined effort to illuminate.  This seems like something I, or any collector in similar circumstances, might undertake.
Such are some of the challenges that collectors of ephemera and the debris of history may face.  I see it as an appealing challenge.
In any event, I have time.   I’m planning to publish catalogues of the collection in the coming years and then send the material into the rooms as unreserved sales when I’m 75.  This gives me 7 years to pull this altogether.

Toronto library to roll out book-lending machine 

Contra Costa County, USA: The San Francisco Bay area rolled out Library-a-Go-Go, automated book dispensing machines, at three transit stations in 2008. Each is outfitted with a touch screen that allows users to select books to borrow from roughly 300 bestsellers, non-fiction reads and children’s books. Unfortunately, the machines were closed for at least a year because of the difficulty associated with getting replacement parts from a supplier in Italy.
Ottawa: When the library system installed its two kiosks in 2010, they were touted to be the first of their kind in Canada. The vending-machine style kiosks — one for children and another for adults — allow readers to borrow books, pick them up from adjacent lockers or return them. The kiosks are restocked about three times a week and hold almost 500 items combined.
Vaughan: Rather than dispense books, Vaughan’s Pleasant Ridge library has a machine that offers iPads and laptops to users. The kiosks are available only when the library is open.
Fullerton, Calif.:
Originally located in an isolated spot at an Orange County train station, Fullerton Public Library’s book kiosk was moved to just outside the branch to catch more foot traffic. It has a drop box for returns and a selection of about 500 books. The system is also programmed so that users owing more than $5 on their library cards are unable to check out books from the kiosk."

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