Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Two Dumpster Tales

New York Times Obituary for Frederick C. Blank -1942

Mr. Blank's bookplate from The Richard Schimmelpfeng Collection

The One That Got Away

I am not exactly sure exactly what year I became infected with bookplaticitis. I assume it was in the early 1980's. 
By then Frederick Charles Blank had been dead around forty years.
At the time I was selling advertising space for a trade publication so I was a firm believer in the power of advertising. I placed an ad  in The Antique Trader  and was quickly contacted by a dealer who had about six hundred items relating to Mr. Blank . They included correspondence between him and King Gillette about a proposed bookplate. along with sketches.
The dealer explained that a picker found the items in a dumpster and the asking price was $125.00. Unfortunately, I had no idea who Charles F. Blank was and I declined the offer. Several days later I found out that I made a big mistake and contacted the dealer. You guessed it. By then the lot had been sold.

The One That Didn't Get Away

In 2010 a real estate broker called to tell me that he sold a house in which a bookplate collection had been stored in the attic.The new owner threw everything into a dumpster and the broker contacted me.
I bought the collection from him  without hesitation. The most significant item in the collection was this Charlie Chaplin bookplate.

Here is a detailed inventory of the collection. The original owner was Katherine C. Bartholomew.

Mystery Bookplates

Dear Mr. Jaffe,

I received an inquiry regarding the bookplate of Robert Hoe, and your name was referred to me as someone who might be able to proffer some assistance or opinions. 
One of our members recently acquired a book bearing the blue bookplate of Robert Hoe, which differs from (but is quite similar to) his red bookplate.  The red bookplate I am familiar with, but the blue one I have never seen before.  The question is, do you know if the blue bookplate is a variant of the red, or if it could be the bookplate of his son, Robert Hoe III?
I have attached photographs of both bookplates herewith.  Any thoughts you might have on the matter would be greatly appreciated.

With my best regards,


Sophia Dahab, MLIS
Assistant Librarian
The Grolier Club
47 East 60th Street
New York, NY 10022
Phone: 212-838-6690

This title page was sent by Tom Boss .

7/19/2017 Fellow collector  Richard Cady  sent the following message:

 I think both your plates are Robert Hoe's.

Grolier Club members at around the turn of the century often had their leather bookplates printed in varying colored leathers as well as on paper.  And there are some design variants.  I have three Hoe plates - one reddish, one brown, one blue. In my own collection Cortland Bishop had at least three - green, red and blue.  William L. Clements four, Barton Currie two, Ernest Gee two, Frank Hogan five, Pierpont Morgan two, W. Van R. Whitall two, John Camp Williams three (diamond shaped), and assume this is just the tip of the iceberg.  RHC

Hats off to Stephen Fowler, owner of The Monkey Paw Bookshop in Toronto
In this day of diminishing antiquarian book shops Mr. Fowler figured out a way to
get customers from all over the world .


Monday, July 10, 2017

More Recent Arrivals

Jeffrey Price has a new wood block bookplate engraved by Andy English.
I asked him to write something about his new plate and this is his response:

It started with the idea of  referencing M. C. Escher’s artwork and including my own Latin motto. I enjoy the phrase ‘Seek the Extraordinary,’  and the closest Latin translation of that is ‘Quaerite Singulari.’ I used ‘Ex Collectione’ rather than ‘Ex Libris’ for flexibility, thinking that I may put it on the back of a picture from my gallery, a book from my collection, or perhaps exchange it with other collectors..
     Both Andy and I are fans of Escher’s work, especially his 1931 series of  woodcuts titled ‘XXIV Emblemata.’ Emblemata prints have a history going back hundreds of years. Their function was to educate by illustrating a moral lesson or motto with a memorable picture, often created in woodcut. The design Andy created has its roots in an Emblemata print of a sundial, in which the transience of time is shown by a passing shadow. But a fortune-teller’s crystal ball sees the future, and I am indebted to good fortune. 

Andy even crafted a reflection of Artists’ Market in this sphere, and you can even make out the number 163 of our address in the image. The tiles are engraved like Escher’s, and the garden is 100% Andy English. Andy cut his initials into the block in Escher’s style, tying  everything together quite neatly.

Jeffrey Price                                     

Artists' Market Inc.
The Artists' Bookplate Museum
163 Main Street
Norwalk, CT 06851 USA                   

Here are a few recent additions to my collection

By way of explanation I purchase bookplates that fit into themes that have  some weird appeal to me.

                       Severed Heads

For quite some time I have been fascinated by bookplates with severed heads and exposed brain matter. I call it my Donovan's Brain collection.
If you are turned off by this topic do not click onto this memorable link from the movie
  Underwater awakening


If you want similar bookplates from your own collection added to this posting send jpeg scans to

This bookplate was designed by Roberto Buonacconsi
I see no artist's signature on this plate but the previous owner noted that it was done by Pavel Simon
This bookplate shown above is a gift from fellow collector James Keenan.
It was etched by Matthew Collins

Okay, this is not a bookplate. It is a magazine cover which reflects my own fears about our current president - his misguided , and very muddled mindset.
As a nation we survived the civil war , two world wars and the great depression
 Hopefully we will also survive this very sad turn of events .