Sunday, November 29, 2015

Collector Profile Bill Glaseman

 Note from Lew
When I retired  my employer held a farewell luncheon for me in Chicago.
I continued westward and visited friends along the way
In Arizona I made an appointment to see Bill Glaseman ..
Looking back, six years later it was the highlight of my trip.
Bill was ninety four years old  and he was (and still is) at the top of his game.
I am pleased to publish this long overdue tribute to him.

How did you stumble into bookplate collecting ?

My introduction to bookplates came in a rather interesting manner.In an attempt to purchase a fresh water pearl ring for my wife ,I visited an estate dealer in Cleveland, Ohio. He specialized in buying out old estates , and reselling jewelry.His office was overrun with mounted works of art which caught my attention. I inquired about them and was told they were bookplates .
I purchased the ring, which had to be sized ,so I had to come back a week later to pick it up.
When I returned I  was drawn to the bookplates and the dealer asked if I would be interested in buying the collection and "take it off his hands".He quoted an extremely low price and I was hooked. That is how I came into possession of five large trunks and many boxes containing bookplates and bookplate correspondence from around the world.

Who was the original owner of the collection ?

The collection came from the estate of William R.A.. Hays (1875-1943). He devoted a large portion of his life to a worldwide quest for bookplates. The collection consists of more than 33,000 bookplates of which at least 20,000 are mounted.
In addition there are in excess of 6,000 letters .These letters were in response to Mr. Hays requests to exchange bookplates. They came from royalty,captains of industry and notable people from many countries. He wrote more than 30,000 letters in his quest for ex libris.
I do not know how he had time to deal with his law practice. The combination of correspondence and responses alongside the bookplates adds a unique dimension to the collection.

How have you organized such a large collection ?
Thanks to computers,I have entered  into a database about 12,000 bookplates,indicating a reference number,owner,artist,date,and country of origin.
The database also indicates normal size bookplates, miniatures (about 1,500) erotica , schools , libraries etc.
I still have a long way to go. I recall from our meeting many years ago that you estimated “it would take two lifetimes.”
The bookplates are matched with correspondence and placed in acid free sheet protectors which are housed in three ring binders.

Another ongoing project  I am working on is to include biographical information for the bookplates of notable owners.

Has the collection been exhibited anywhere ?

In 1972 the Cleveland Public Library learned of the collection and asked about the possibility of exhibiting some of the material in their downtown facility.I agreed to their request and they sent a team from their fine arts division to my home.For three days they examined the collection. I was not at home during the research period but my wife kept hearing "WOW"throughout their visit.
Several hundred were selected and framed and the exhibit was open to the public for six months.

What are your favorites bookplates in the collection ?

There are so many it is hard to make a selection but since you asked, here are two 
I particularly like.the Enrico Caruso group.
I feel that the two trial proofs must have been handled by Caruso and the combination of the three items are unique.

Enrico Caruso Engraved by A.N. Macdonald (three items)

Trial Proof #1(This is a scan of a Xerox copy)
Trial Proof #2 Before Lettering
Completed Bookplate

David Greene Engraved by Paul Revere

Note From Lew - In my next blog posting I will show some examples of Mr Hays letter writing skills
and some of the responses he received..
Only In New York City
"Stealing is punishable by the law," the sign reads. "If you are caught stealing the bathroom tissue from dispenser, you will be barred permanently from all New York Public Libraries."

Had I seen this sign in the Morisania Branch of the New York Public Library I would have been tempted to take it and add it to my ephemera collection :however, the sign is gone.
Staffers at the library put the sign up three months ago but took it down after it went viral. 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving Day 2015

It is Thanksgiving day here in the states and I will forgo the usual images of bookplates with Turkeys.

Here are some American Turkeys.

Most of the world news is dreadful so here is a feel -good news item from THE NEW YORK TIMES


Saeed Book Bank is an institution in Islamabad, displaying 200,000 titles, mostly in English, and stocking more than four million books in its five warehouses. CreditDanial Shah for The New York Times

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — After his father died, Ahmad Saeed took over the office on the ground floor of the family’s storied bookstore here, Saeed Book Bank. Then the elderly men started visiting, seeking to settle old debts.
“They all apologized and said they had tried to see my father while he was alive but his office was always too crowded and they were embarrassed,” Mr. Saeed said.
Five times such men arrived, hat in hand, not just to pay their respects to the son and family, but also to say they wanted to pay for books they had shoplifted as children. Mr. Saeed said his father, Saeed Jan Qureshi, who died of heart failure in September, would have been amused: He had always regarded book theft by children as an investment in a future where people still read, and thus become his customers.

The man himself became an oracle to those looking for advice on books, taking time to establish a personal connection and to urge favorites on visitors. (That is another thing his son has inherited: He asked a visitor if he had read “Fallen Leaves,” the last book by the prolific American historian Will Durant, published in 2014, more than 30 years after his death.)


Ahmad Saeed, left, overseeing the cataloging of new arrivals before they are put on the store's shelves. He inherited this business from his father, the founder, Saeed Jan Qureshi.CreditDanial Shah for The New York Times

That approach helped Mr. Qureshi make an extraordinary future for Saeed Book Bank, particularly in an era when online sales have been driving independent bookstores out of business, and in a region where unfettered book piracy adds to retailers’ travails.
With his passion for books, Mr. Qureshi built one of the biggest bookstores in the world — mostly selling books in English, in a country where that is a second language for most people.
Saeed Book Bank has 42,000 square feet of usually busy floor space over three stories, displays 200,000 titles, and stocks more than four million books in its five warehouses — all, Ahmad Saeed said, “by the grace of the almighty.”
(His visitor had not read “Fallen Leaves,” so Mr. Saeed sent one of his 92 employees to fetch a copy. “It is so good, you must read this book.” Another visitor to the office, an aged doctor named S.H. Naqvi, agreed, having himself read it at their insistence: “It will touch your heart,” he said.)
Saeed Jan Qureshi came from a family that worked for a feudal landlord named Mir Banda Ali. His estates in southern Sindh Province were so vast that five railway stops reputedly lay within his property lines. His library was similarly scaled, and as a 9-year-old, Saeed was put to work dusting the shelves. One day Mr. Ali found him reading instead of working, and told the boy to get back to work immediately — but added that he could take a book home every night, so long as he returned it in mint condition.
Saeed never got past high school but he was exceedingly well-read, and after school he found a job as a book salesman for a company that sent him to its Peshawar branch. Later, in the 1950s, he opened his own bookshop in Peshawar.
During the Cold War years that followed, Pakistan was an outpost in the American rivalry with the Soviet Union, and Peshawar became an important military base, and later a vital C.I.A. base of operations, particularly during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Say what you will about the spooks, they were readers, and Mr. Qureshi built his business around catering to their literary tastes.
(Speaking of Afghanistan, Mr. Saeed said: “Have you read ‘The Spinner’s Tale,’ by Omar Shahid Hamid? No?” He seemed mildly shocked. Moments later a Pan Macmillan paperback copy of the novel materialized. “I am sorry, we’ve sold out of ‘Fallen Leaves’ — it’s so hard to keep in stock — but read this,” Ahmad said. “A lot of it is set in Afghanistan.”)
Later the rise of terrorism and fundamentalist Islam made Peshawar, capital of the wild frontier lands of Pakistan, a dangerous place for a bookseller — especially one who insisted on carrying magazines like Cosmopolitan and Heavy Metal, books by Karen Armstrong on Islam, and even the scientist Richard Dawkins’s atheist treatise, “The God Delusion.” (“You just wouldn’t believe how that sells,” Mr. Saeed said. “We buy a thousand copies from Random House every year, year after year.”)
On the other hand, he said, another best-seller is “The Message of the Qur’an,” an English translation of the holy book by Muhammad Asad, a European Jewish scholar and diplomat who converted to Islam.
Forced to close shop in Peshawar, Mr. Qureshi focused his efforts in Islamabad, the Pakistani capital, a place heavily insulated from the country’s more extremist elements. Hard times followed as even Islamabad became a “no families” posting for diplomats and aid workers, but by then the bookstore was so big that its sheer breadth kept it viable, as plenty of Pakistanis read books in English.


A salesman at Saeed Book Bank sorted volumes according to genre.CreditDanial Shah for The New York Times

“Other Pakistani booksellers laughed at us that we never carried pirated books,” Mr. Saeed said. “But only best-sellers get pirated, and we carry everything.”
The result is a bookstore of impressive scope, quirky and catholic. “Islamic Fashion,” a glossy coffee table book and a best-seller, vies for shelf space with “Queer Studies.
A thick condolence book for Mr. Qureshi, the third so far, sits on a counter, which sags under the weight of a couple hundred miniature books as well. A few rows away, an entire shelf is given over to Noam Chomsky, 26 titles in all, which may well be more than any bookstore in the world displays for the radical linguist and philosopher.
“Honestly, Chomsky sells here,” Mr. Saeed said.
As the eldest son, Mr. Saeed was always destined to take over the business when his father passed away, and to learn the trade he traveled with his father to international book fairs; annually to Frankfurt, thrice yearly to London, twice yearly to Delhi.
But not to the United States, the Saeed Book Bank’s biggest source of books.
“We spend $500,000 annually in America, and I can’t get a visa,” Mr. Saeed said. “The consular officer said, ‘Why can’t you just order by email and fax?’ They just don’t understand about books. You have to go to the warehouses, and see them and feel them — that’s how you buy books.”
(“Fallen Leaves” again: “When my father was sick, he said, ‘Read this book, and you will calm down,’” Mr. Saeed said. “He was right.” Dr. Naqvi could quote lines from it. “What if it is for life’s sake that we must die?” Otherwise, “youth would find no room on the earth.”)
Mr. Qureshi made sure his children had the education he did not. Ahmad has a master’s degree in business administration, with ambitious plans to computerize the store’s inventory and build up what is now a clunky and unsophisticated online business. Nonetheless, it sells $1,000 worth of books a day online in a place where credit cards are still a novelty.
For his father, books were more than just a business, Mr. Saeed said. One of the penitent former book thieves who dropped in was Suleman Khan, the vice chancellor of Iqra University, in Islamabad.
“He came to say that when he was a child, 6 years old or so, he stole an Archie comic book and my father saw him,” Mr. Saeed said. “He said he was afraid he was going to get slapped, but my father said: ‘This is good that you like books. So every day you can take a book but keep it in mint condition and return it when you’re done so I can still sell it.’”
And then the vice chancellor said, “Everything that I am now, I owe to your father.”
(Dr. Naqvi, who is getting on in years, had seemed to doze off for a moment but awoke when he heard that story. “‘Fallen Leaves,’” he sighed. “You have to read that book. Everything is in there.”)

Wherever you are enjoy your day.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Dealer Profile Harri Ylikomi

My name is Harri Ylikomi. I am an antiques dealer  living in Jämjö outside the city of Karlskrona in the south of Sweden.

I was born in Sasi close to the city of Tampere in Finland. I started to learn about antiques at a very early age since  my parents Eila and Lauri have been in the antiques business since the 1960s. In fact, my father has been  a bookplate collector for many years. I had my first antiques shop  in Tampere, Finland, from 1995 to 2013. My  wife Maria and I got married in 2014. Now we live in Sweden where I sell antiques and bookplates mostly through  eBay (my seller name is tampereen2005)

Here is a link to my Ebay store:
Recently I acquired the Olga Nilsons and 
Alf Westergren Bookplate collections of over 2,000 fine and old 
Ex Libris from the 18th century to the 1950s

Alf Westergren (1891-1968), Swedish physician. In 1921 in an article on blood in pulmonary tuberculosis, Westergren introduced his method for measuring the sedimentation rate of red blood cells.Alf Westergren's collection was  started about 1910, .I currently have a copy of his bookplate in my Ebay store

They included, for example, the bookplates of Alfred Nobel and the polar explorer Thorild Wulff both of which have been sold .

Thorild Wulff polar explorer, who died in Greenland 1917

There are far too many bookplates to scan individually so many of the bookplates have been listed on Ebay in groups of twenty, forty etc.

  I can  sort them  by themes like different kind of animals (birds, cats, horses ...), professions (doctors, teachers, pharmacists, writers, priests, captains, architects …), musical, ships, flowers, heraldry Vikings, rune stones etcetera. 

Send me an email with  themes or artists that interest you and I will send scans for your consideration.

These are just the tip of the iceberg

Send your inquiries to

Vera Stenhusen (Viking decoration)

Carl Oscar Borg ( a Swedish born, American painter who was known for themes of the Southwestern United States) 

Frithiof Hjelmqwist (Art Nouveau)

Notes From Lew

I have purchased some theatrical bookplates from Harri Ylikomi.
Because the service was outstanding I asked him to create this profile.
This is one of the  theatrical plates I ordered for my own collection. I liked it so much that I sent the image to my son who in turn inquired if I was not feeling well.  I then showed it to my wife who thought it was grotesque.
So there you have it there is no accounting for taste.

Here is a link to the Swedish Bookplate Association website

Sunday, November 08, 2015

This Week in Bookplates 11/8/2015

The two day auction of the James M. Goode collection is over

.Here are  a few of the higher bids:

George Washington                              $2750.00 *

Paul Revere (four items)                       $2375.00  
Prominent Artists                                  $2000.00 **     

Famous Actors                                      $1625.00

286 loose American Bookplates           $1375.00  

* I doubt that the buyer has received his shipment yet but he has already placed it on Ebay
for  $4950.00

** I suspect the  bookplate for Nelson Rockefeller by Picasso  was the driving force for the high bid

Martin Matthews

Designed by Jeffery Matthews

. Martin Matthews(1935-2013) was a watch case maker. This tribute to him was written by Nicholas Philippe and appeared in the April 2013 issue of  Horological Journal

“Where does one begin to talk about the man Martin Matthews, who gave so much to his profession and became internationally known as one of the most important case makers of his generation; but at the same time a human being who was both caring and sharing in all respects. I came across Martin in his later years and I have been both touched and inspired. I owe him a great debt of gratitude. It all started one day in the summer 12 years ago when I happened to be watching a video ‘Four Generations of Watchcase Making’

. As a result of seeing this video I felt the urgent need to make contact with him. So I rang Martin and introduced myself, explaining that I was inspired by the video and that I was very interested in becoming his apprentice, so that I could learn the art of case making from a true master and expert in his field. He initially declined as he felt that it would take too long for me to learn these skills; I accepted this. However, for people who knew Martin, he was by nature, a kind and gentle person always willing to listen. From this first encounter our friendship began. As he got to know me through our conversations he understood more about me, that I was already a classically trained diamond mounter and goldsmith, which led him to changing his initial view. He said: ‘You had better be here first thing next Wednesday morning, but not before 9 a.m and not after 9 a.m!’
 I have many fond memories of my time spent with Martin. I would travel to his home in Otford, Kent, and we would share
many great moments, have long discussions and philosophize greatly. Martin was an excellent teacher, always patient and transferred his knowledge in such a manner that I could honestly say I have learnt from a true great. He was a dedicated family man, who embraced and always welcomed me. I thoroughly enjoyed my moments with him; always starting the day with a cup of tea or coffee and then moving into his workshop, where we spent the first part of the day together, with Martin guiding me in all aspects of case making. At mid-day, we would take a break and, over lunch, spend quality time in his garden, observing the fauna and flora as he had a great love for nature. From my many hours with Martin, I began to understand better the inner core of the person: a conservationist, someone who had a deep passion for natural history, a true philanthropist and a humanitarian. His Christian faith was deeply important to him, as was his family. Married to Margaret, they had four children, sadly losing one son in infancy. At the time of Martin's death, he had six grandchildren and four great grandchildren. Martin Matthews was, I believe, the last traditional watch case maker in England. He was the fourth generation of a Clerkenwell, London, family of watch case makers, whose remarkable skill, patience and expertise turned a sheet of silver into an elegant watchcase. Only now do I really understand Martin's true expertise, and how well I have been trained by the great master, whom I will deeply miss. My love and sympathy goes to his family and his loved ones and I will cherish the special moments and the knowledge and skills he has provided to me. Your friend always – you will be in my thoughts forever”.

Jeffrey Matthews

Designed by Jeffery Matthews


During his interior design study, Matthews was taught heraldry and letter typography. He then became an illustrator and created logotypes, graphic and typographic designs for public administration, firms and book covers. He diminished these activities during the 1990s.
At the end of the 1950s, Matthews registered to the Council of Industrial Design, which proposed graphic artists to client entities. In 1959, he was amongst the designers the Council proposed to the Post Office; the British postal administration was looking for the design of two stamp series to mark its 300th anniversary. He was then regularly invited to propose stamp projects. His two first postage stamps were issued in 1965 for the 20th anniversary of the United Nations.[1]

The Machin series

In the 1970s, he became involved in the designs of new Machin definitive stamps, picturing Queen Elizabeth II's profile since 1967. When ordered, he designed new symbols for the Regional Machins in 1971, with new digits and letters.
Philatelic recognition came from his work on the Machin series colours. In 1976, he prepared the three colours needed for the photographed high value stamps. In the middle of the 1980s, he provided the Post Office with a large palette of colours, sufficient for the new next values. This work was honoured by a mini-sheet of eight stamps and two labels that Matthews designed, which were sold during the Stamp Show 2000.

Brander Matthews (1852-1929)

Bookplate Designed by E.A. Abbey

James Brander Matthews was an American writer and educator. He was the first full-time professor of dramatic literature at an American university and played a significant role in establishing theater

Monday, November 02, 2015

Upcoming Book and Paper Shows

My New Bookplate
By Al Gury

As a collector of  private press books and bookplates, I wanted my own unique bookplate.
I had already been collecting the woodcuts of the Philadelphia artist Martha Knox, so I commissioned her to design a bookplate for me.

She sent me several designs, one of which is the bookplate shown here.
The process was fun and interesting and I am pleased to own the original block.

I know Martha is interested in designing more bookplates.
She is a 2006 MFA graduate of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia.
Besides numerous editions of fine wood block fronts, she has recently produced two books: Cats A-Z, and Owl and Cat in Love.
Both are illustrated with her beautiful wood cuts.

Here is a link to Martha's website.

About eight years ago I attended one of Hal Lutsky's vintage paper shows in California and I was able to purchase a wide range of bookplates.

Here is a note I received from him today.

If you are in california this show is worth visiting.

Hello Collectors,

Just a quick note to let you know that I'll be in San Marino (near Pasadena) for the postcard show this coming Saturday. I'll be there SATURDAY ONLY. In addition to my regular stock, I'll be bringing about 20,000 postcards priced at 25 cents each. These are fresh cards, most of which have never been to a show.  

FREE PASSES! Email me by NOON THURSDAY for a free pass. I'll send one back via email that you can download & print. Admission is normally $5.  

Saturday, November 7
10am - 6pm

Masonic Hall

3130 Huntington Dr.

San Marino, CA 

Hal Lutsky



A notice I received from The Ephemera Society of America.

If you are unfamiliar with the Ephemera Society Here is a link

MARK YOUR Calendar

November and December

November 1, Toronto, Ontario: Old Book & Paper Show 

November 4, New York City: Heritage Rare Books & Historical Manuscripts auction 

November 4-8, Pasadena CA: Daguerreian Society Symposium    

November 7, Dallas TX: Heritage Americana & Political auction  

November 13-15, Boston MA: 39th Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair WE NEED YOUR HELP in manning the Society booth. Give an hour or two? Bring something from your own collection to illustrate the scope of ephemera?

November 14, Boston MA: Boston Book, Print and Ephemera Show 

November 14, Shelton CT: Memorial Service for Phil Jones, 2:00 at the Shelton Intermediate School, 675 Constitution Blvd. N., reception following in lobby. A citation from our Board of Directors in appreciation of Phil's contribution to The Ephemera Society of America will be read at the service. 

November 20, Cincinnati OH: Cowan's American History Auction, 

November 20-21, Worcester MA: CHAViC conference, "Moving Pictures: Images Across Media in American Visual and Material Culture to 1900" 

November 20-21, Carversville PA: Antique Toy Auction, 

December 4-5, Northampton MA: Northampton Book and Book Arts Fair 

December 6, London England: The Ephemera Society Special Fair,
January & February & March 2016

January 2-3, Wilmington MA: Book & Paper row at the Boston Antiques and Design Show

January 9-10, Hartford CT: Papermania,
February 5-6, San Mateo CA: San Francisco Antiquarian Book, Print & Paper Fair

February 12-14, Pasadena CA: 49th California International Antiquarian Book Fair
February 19-21, New York NY: Greenwich Village Antiquarian Book Fair

DEALER BOOTHS STILL AVAILABLE mgetman@bookandpaperfairs.comMarch 18-20, Old Greenwich CT: Ephemera 36, Annual Conference and Fair, & 

See you again on Sunday