ABC for Book Collectors

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ABC for Book Collectors

This eighth edition has been revised by Nicolas Barker, editor of The Book Collector and incorporates additional words created by the introduction of web-based collecting. ABC for Book Collectors retains its humorous character as the one indispensable guide to book collecting while also keeping us up-to-date with modern terminology. Add to Cart Ask a Question. Yellow edges p. All 16th-century books cannot, in the nature of things, be at Cambridge, and other catalogues, off- and online, may supplement the record, but that would spoil the story.

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Such copies are normally either final proofs or the first sheets to be gathered of the main run. They are often put up in plain or printed wrappers. But they may be bound; and if so the binding may occasionally retain a feature discarded in the published edition, or lack some final detail, or even be of a different colour or material see trial binding. Such advance copies as show variations from the published edition, whether of text or binding, are naturally of interest to the keen collector.

Even where no variations have yet been noticed, they are by their nature examples of an early state of the printed text see issues and states , and they may on occasion be useful to the bibliographer confronted with a doubtful point in the published edition. But they do not as is sometimes suggested represent a first or early issue in the proper sense of the word; nor can the existence of fifty advance copies of a book prejudice in any way the firstness of the first edition as issued on the day of publication. The former date from the 16th century and were common in English books of the 17th and 18th.

Their absence discarded in binding or torn out later incommodes the reader no more than the absence of a blank leaf or a half-title; for the text is not affected. But they may be bibliographically significant, and since, even if they are not, they are an integral part of the book, as intended by its publisher and executed by its printer, a copy cannot be considered as technically complete without them. Being wholesale appendages, they belong to the age of edition-binding, whether in boards, wrappers or cloth.

The normal practice would be for a publisher or before the s the wholesale distributor, who might not be the publisher to provide his binder with a supply of some current list, with instructions to insert it either in specified books or in all his books as they came forward for binding. If the binder had no supply when he was ready to start, he would probably go ahead without; if the supply ran out, he would not wait for more, but would simply continue without the catalogue; or if he had a pile of an earlier list from the same publisher, he might use these up without regard to their being out of date.

The hazards and permutations were as numerous as their results are often unaccountable. Moreover, others besides the publisher whose name is on the title-page may in certain cases have been responsible for the wholesale binding, whether in boards, half cloth or less often cloth, of a part of the edition. But it is evidence which must be used with great caution; and the classification of one copy of a book as preceding another because, though otherwise identical, its inserted catalogue is dated a month earlier than that found in the other, is no more valid, without strong support from other arguments, than the proposition that a third copy is incomplete without any advertisements at all.

Books issued in parts present a special problem. For, casual as edition-binders will often have been about inserting catalogues in cloth books, the assembly line for a popular midth century part-issue must have been a nightmare, which experience suggests was only made sufferable to its operatives by an attitude so easy-going as to have amounted sometimes to levity. But how is the norm to be arrived at? The specialists have not always realised that the rarer the slip the less reason to suppose it a genuinely requisite component — and parts are made-up more freely, and with wider approval, than any other class of book.

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Which slips were, and which were not, included in the earliest, or even the large majority of the copies of some particular part, and with what degree of whose authority? Part-issue collecting has its own special fascination, and its own rules more of them made by enthusiasts than by rationalists.

They certainly had nothing to do with the author and, unlike the advertisements in cloth-bound books, they had very little to do even with the publisher, except as a source of revenue. It has to be admitted, however, that many of them are uncommonly entertaining. These bands, sewn deep into the quires of the book, are an important part of its structure, in which sewing bands, if present, do not carry the weight of the covers.

The clasps are usually of plaited strands of leather, ending in a ring fitting over a pin protruding from the edge of the opposite board. This distinctive style, employed in Greece during the Middle Ages and after, usually in monastic or religious foundations, was also imitated, generally for fine bindings for identifiable collectors, on Greek printed books, during the 16th century. Books thus bound sit uneasily on shelves: they were originally designed to be kept in chests see bookshelves , fore-edge down, and lifted out by the head- and tailbands.

ABC for Book Collectors, by John Carter et al. | The Online Books Page

His device of a dolphin and anchor was widely imitated, not least by William Pickering in the 19th century, together with the title Aldine Classics for his similar series of the major authors of English literature. Now divided into two sections: 1 printed books, maps, charts and broadsides, 2 autograph letters and manuscripts. Each volume published in January every year — ABPC is the most punctual, as well as accurate, of such records contains an entry for every lot in all recorded sales. Since ABPC, as it is commonly called, has included without feeling the need, as yet, to change its title the record of printed books and, unlike its British competitor, of MSS sold in the principal London and European auction houses as well as those of the United States and has recently added Australia to its coverage.

It is now, since the demise of book auction records, the only record of sales, and a very good one at that. See also auctions 3.

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The Columbus Letter is a piece of Americana, as describing the discovery of the continent; the Bay Psalm Book, as the first known book printed in what is now U. A currently fashionable sub-category should be mentioned: Western Americana. More local enthusiasms are reflected in other neologisms, such as Texana or Californiana. This catholic view has been enhanced by the publication, begun under the editorship of the late Mr John Alden, of European Americana, a catalogue of generous comprehension, as applied in the collection of the John Carter Brown Library, Providence, R.

ANA A collective noun meaning a compilation of sayings, table talk, anecdotes, etc. Its most familiar use is, however, the original one from which the noun was made in the form of a Latin suffix meaning material related to as distinct from material by; e. Boswelliana, Railroadiana, Etoniana. Like other such suffixes it is not always easily attachable to English names, even assisted, as commonly, by a medial i. Shaviana, Harveiana and Dickensiana are well enough; but Hardyana is repugnant to latinity, Cloughiana and Fieldingiana are awkward on the tongue, and should one write Wiseiana, Wiseana or Wisiana?

These would often contain, and sometimes consist entirely of, a short novel by a contemporary best-seller or a promising dark horse. For the cataloguing of these and similar pseudonymous books e. Alice in Wonderland or Jane Eyre , some booksellers use, and others dispense with, the conventional square or equally common round brackets. And once in a while the cataloguer has to admit defeat. Since a book by an unidentified author is harder to sell other things being equal than one of known paternity, it may reasonably be assumed that he has consulted halkett and laing and the other obvious reference books.

Yet Anon. In the U. Calf antique is also sometimes used to denote divinity or oxford calf. Genuinely antique binding, if not precisely datable, will be described as original, contemporary, early, or simply old. As a noun, used colloquially for an armorially decorated book. When used of a covering material, e.

See advance copy. A S S O C I AT I O N C O P Y This term, often scoffed at by laymen, is applied to a copy which once belonged to, or was annotated by, the author; which once belonged to someone connected with the author or someone of interest in his own right; or again, and perhaps most interestingly, belonged to someone peculiarly associated with its contents. Its extension to mean any book owned by a famous person can only be excused by establishing some point of real contact, other than the simple fact of possession. But only a cataloguer who despaired of selling a first edition of Norman Gale or F.

A thoroughly bogus use of association copy, and one which should be actively resisted by collectors, is its application to a book of no importance in which there has been inserted by an unknown hand a letter by a person of some importance. Its proceedings are published in separate volumes, some in the Bulletin du Bibliophile, which is supported by the Association.

AU C T I O N S Sales of books by auction go back to the middle ages, although their enhancement by printed catalogues dates from the second half of the 17th century. Traditionally, auctioneers undertake to conduct the sale, charging consigners a percentage of the prices realised for their pains. In the s British and American houses began to follow European practice by levying a premium a percentage of the prices realised from the purchaser, as well as the consigner. Auctions conducted on the internet, notably on eBay, have their own conventions and risks.

The subject may conveniently be divided into four sections; 1 Catalogues, 2 Bidding, 3 Prices, 4 Terminology. It was once the case that the dressiest catalogues, unquestionably, were those of the Continental houses, with Paris perhaps the most lavish. By contrast, the catalogues of most but not now all provincial auctioneers, who are normally selling books as part of a mixed property, are often notably uninformative, especially as to the contents of lots in bundles; and although legal warranty for the accuracy of descriptions of the lots offered is carefully restricted throughout the auction business as a whole, it is naturally a livelier issue in sales for which the catalogue makes no pretence to expertness.

Despite occasional lapses, their cataloguers do their best to keep abreast of bibliographical research.

Abc for Book Collectors by John Carter

And the annotation of important lots is often of a thorough and scholarly character. Indeed, catalogues of famous libraries sold at auction have taken their place as indispensable reference books on the shelves, not only of booksellers and collectors, but also of scholars and librarians. There is the psychological risk: that one may be carried away by competitive fever. There is the economic fallacy: that any book bought at auction must be a bargain — a fallacy based on the supposition that all prices at auction sales are as it were wholesale, and that by buying in the rooms one cuts out the middleman i.

There is the risk of failure to realise that, while a bookseller guarantees his offerings, the rule in the auction room is caveat emptor. They have examined their lots with care, they know what each book is worth and also what they may have to pay, which is often not at all the same thing , and they are ready to pit their knowledge and sale-room tactics against those of the booksellers. Perhaps they simply enjoy an exhilarating session in the rooms. But they are still in a small minority; for most experienced collectors have concluded that they are more likely to get the lots they want, and get them at reasonable prices, if they entrust their bids to a chosen bookseller.

Many collectors and institutional librarians employ a regular agent for their auction business in each city.

The normal commission charged by booksellers for executing bids at auction is ten per cent, which may seem expensive for a well-known and bibliographically uncomplicated book of high but stable market value — one, that is, which does not involve much expert examination or much expert estimation of price. This of course is payable only on successful bids; yet for the lots on which he is outbid he will have provided equally full service — in advice as to the probable price, in collation and appraisal of the material, in attendance often with wearisome waiting between lots at the sale and in the highly skilled business of the actual bidding.

If he is a man of spirit, he may relish the encounter, hoping to beat the professionals at their own game and prepared to take a few knocks in the process. Yet if he is also a man of sense, he will only do so after careful reconnaissance, and then with his eyes wide open. For rarer books the occasional entries will, of course, provide some idea of the ruling price; but the more infrequent they are, the greater the need to consider the usually invisible factors — condition as always , but also, was this an important sale, when prices tend to be high?

Or did the copy come up at the fag end of a miscellaneous one, when even booksellers tend to he weary and uninterested? Were there perhaps two keen collectors after the same lot, and therefore two exceptionally high commissions given? Or was this, by contrast, the purchase of a prudent bookseller buying for stock?

ABC for Book Collectors ABC for Book Collectors
ABC for Book Collectors ABC for Book Collectors
ABC for Book Collectors ABC for Book Collectors
ABC for Book Collectors ABC for Book Collectors
ABC for Book Collectors ABC for Book Collectors
ABC for Book Collectors ABC for Book Collectors
ABC for Book Collectors ABC for Book Collectors
ABC for Book Collectors ABC for Book Collectors

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