Anyone Else Collect Antiquarian Or Rare Books?

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mawnansmiff

Preferred Member
Oct 14, 2015
5,936
2,852
Sunny Cornwall, UK.
I've been a casual collector of antique dictionaries for quite some years but more recently I've branched out into other books, the older the better.

That said, I don't just buy any old book, it has to interest me and be of an educational nature. My oldest book thus far was printed in London 1607!

In 1607 we had not long lost Queen Elizabeth the 1st, the great plague & fire of London was yet to happen and Shakespeare was virtually unknown outside his own circle (his first folio wasn't printed until 1623. And this too was well before Samuel Pepys thought about chronicling his life in his famous diary.

Of course1607 was the year that Jamestown, Virginia was first settled.

This is how the book was described by the auctioneer....

Black letter text, title within woodcut border, and numerous woodcut initials and ornaments throughout.

A scarce, early 17th century, black letter edition, of John Stow’s famous Elizabethan Chronicle, packed full of fascinating detail of historic events, such as wars, monarchs, discoveries, voyages, witches, persecutions, earthquakes and storms, etc etc.

And the book is.....

THE

Abridgement

or Summarie of the

English Chronicle,

first collected by master Iohn Stow, and after him augmented with sundry memorable antiquities, and continued with maters forrein and domesticall, vnto this present yeare 1607.



By E.H. Gentleman


LONDON

Printed for the

companie of

Stacioners


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book 17.jpg

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So folks, if you too collect such books then lets hear about them.

Regards,

Jay.



 

mawnansmiff

Preferred Member
Oct 14, 2015
5,936
2,852
Sunny Cornwall, UK.
Here is another book, titled thus..

A

RESTITUTION

Of Decayed Intelligence,

IN

ANTIQUITIES

Concerning the most noble, and renowned

English Nation


By the study, and travel of R. U.


Dedicated unto the Kings most excellent Majesty


LONDON, Printed by T. Newcomb for Joshua Kirton, at the

King's Arms in St. Paul's Church yard

1655

The auction blurb goes.....

"There are number of superb engravings throughout the text.

Richard Rowlands, born Richard Verstegan (c. 1550 – 1640), was an Anglo-Dutch antiquary, publisher, humourist and translator. Verstegan was born in East London the son of a cooper; his grandfather, Theodore Roland Verstegen, was a refugee from Guelders who arrived in England around the year 1500.

A truly fascinating work, providing a history of the early invasions of Britain, how the English language developed, as well as origin of surnames, and folklore
."

I'm really looking forward to reading this one (I do actually read these books) as the subject quite tickles my fancy.


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Regards,

Jay.
 

RonB

Member
Jan 17, 2021
209
785
Southeast Pennsylvania
Beautiful. I love old books. We have thousands of books but none of them particularly valuable. I’m more a reader than a collector but I love fine paper and interesting typeset.
 
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mawnansmiff

Preferred Member
Oct 14, 2015
5,936
2,852
Sunny Cornwall, UK.
"We have thousands of books but none of them particularly valuable."

I personally believe that all books are valuable, if only as a resource. The value of a thing doesn't have to mean monetary value, just how important it is to the owner.

I have read some truly awful books but would never throw them away, the charity shop gets them as someone else might think it is a real gem.

Regards,

Jay.
 
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fireground_piper

Preferred Member
Jan 30, 2020
557
1,752
New Jersey
What kind of dictionaries? A previous place of employment used to have a very nice reference station of old reference material. In particular, I loved looking at the old Lippincott Gazetteers they had.

Traditional reference sources have all but disappeared in many places today. Granted, old sources can become outdated but I find online reference sources as unreliable as you are to encounter an outdated source.
 
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wyfbane

Preferred Member
Apr 26, 2013
4,888
2,763
Tennessee
Holy S***! That is magnificent! Thank you for posting that. I love books. When we moved out of our 3000 sq ft. house in the people's republic of Washington State and into our 1300sq ft home in paradise I had to liquidate some 4000 books my wife and I (both teachers) had accumulated for work and pleasure.

in that purge, we got rid of about 2/3 of our older books ( :cry: ). I still have some decent ones, but nothing prior to the 1780s.

I envy you being in the UK, you likely have much more opportunity to acquire older books.
 

warren

Preferred Member
Sep 13, 2013
9,104
5,524
Yes but, limited to Alaskan history and Yukon gold rush era. I will make a payout, rarely, for American Civil War tomes and the odd biography.
 

anotherbob

Preferred Member
Mar 30, 2019
8,566
15,907
43
In the semi-rural NorthEastern USA
I've had some really old books have some still. Weirdly they always just fell into my hands basically. Though only one of them had any demand and I could have got a few hundred for it. But I instead put it back into circulation. It felt wrong to make money off of a book with such useful information, like there was more value in spreading the information then having some cash that would be gone before too long.
 

RonB

Member
Jan 17, 2021
209
785
Southeast Pennsylvania
I formerly collected sets of the works of authors I read such as R L Stevenson, Dickens, Trollope, Poe, Conrad, etc. I still have some of them but had to pare down my collection when I moved. I still have beautiful sets of Stevenson (Thistle Edition in perfect condition), Trollope (Holland hand-made paper edition) and Conrad (Memorial Edition). I love feeling and smelling the paper and feeling the impact of the type on the paper. Not like today.
 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
35,995
36,757
mawn, those are magnificent, must be even more inspiring in person. The plates, the type, the paper and leather binders. They look like the books in the balconied library at Trinity College Dublin, where they exhibit The Book of Kells. I love books, but I'm pretty down and dirty in my use of them -- write in them, drag them around town reading them, keep them in total disorder. Within sight, I do have a 1987 first edition of James Dickey novel Alnilam, 682 pages of curious offset columns and odd typography, about his years as a bomber navigator in World War Two. This was his next novel after Deliverance, and he was in high form when he signed the book to my late wife and I at our superb local bookstore. His best work was his poetry; I think that would have been his opinion. And Alnilam didn't get much play, though some young scholar might go back to it and explicate and revive the whole 682 page text.
 
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warren

Preferred Member
Sep 13, 2013
9,104
5,524
Original owner notes jotted in an antique book can sometimes increase the value tremendously. Of course if the jotter was a noted personage, the value goes up even more.
 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
35,995
36,757
Two of my favorite books, actually my wives', are my late wife's Norton Anthology of English Literature, with vast highlighting, underlining, marking and remarking, for hundreds of pages, used in conjunction with her being a professor of English at St. Mary's College in Raleigh, N.C., and Classic Home Desserts by Richard Sax, belong to my second wife, a food writer par excellence, restaurant reviewer, and amazing cook and baker. The book is absolutely stuffed with markers, recipe sheets, cover to back, and of course the pages are full of annotations and spots of sauces and cake dough, etc. I need to photograph both of these remarkable volumes, relating to what it means to own a book. Both women are/were vastly read in literature -- novels, poetry, non-fiction.
 

renfield

Preferred Member
Oct 16, 2011
2,274
12,212
Thanks for posting the pictures. It must be Humbling to think what you’re holding.
 

sablebrush52

Preferred Member
Jun 15, 2013
14,119
19,195
SoCal
jrs457.wixsite.com
Hey Jay,

I had no idea. That's some wonderful material you've collected. The oldest books I have are the two volumes of Alexander H. Stephens A Constitutional View of the Late War between The States; Its Causes, Character, Conduct and Results in a first edition.

Any Books Of Hours I have are replicas, though I do have some rare limited edition art books.

I also have a pile of signed and/or limited editions of works of speculative fiction by some of my favortie writers, Heinlein, Bradbury, Niven, Asimov, the usual suspects.

Alas, nothing of the noble nature of your holdings, not since the dog ate my Gutenberg.
 
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jguss

Preferred Member
Jul 7, 2013
1,412
2,442
I feel your pain Jesse. My cat pissed all over my da Vinci codex; my own damn fault for leaving it on the nightstand. I was only halfway through but it smelled so bad my wife made me throw it away. Now I’ll never know how it turned out.
 
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mawnansmiff

Preferred Member
Oct 14, 2015
5,936
2,852
Sunny Cornwall, UK.
I'm currently reading a book from 1665 called "A Legacy Of Husbandry" by English/German polymath Samuel Hartlib. It is basically a treatise on farming methods he has gleaned from his European travels. It has some interesting insights into the thinking of the period. For example he suggests Englishmen shouldn't eat French cheese as it is coloured/flavoured by sheep's dung!

"A scarce early edition of this work by German-British polymath, Samuel Hartlib.

This is the third edition of Hartlib's influential work, and was greatly enlarged: "The Legacie deals with a large variety of subjects, among which are Saint Foine; Ploughs and Carriages; Digging, Setting and Howing; Smut and Mildew; Orchards; Hemp and Flax; Manuring; Bees; Silke-worms... The reference to the cultivation of lucerne in England is stated by Miss Aslin to be the earliest extant" (Fussell).

A fascinating collection of mid 17th C knowledge of husbandry."

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Last night I won 2 more auctions, the first being....

"An early edition (1631) of Sir Francis Bacon's greatest work, Sylva Sylvarum is an anthology of extracts from many books and Bacon's own experiments and observations. At the rear of the work is Bacon's New Atlantis, a short work, which describes a utopian island and its scientific community.

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....and the second being an obscure title from 1761 'Entitled Halifax And It's Gibbet Law'.

"The Halifax Gibbet was an early guillotine used in the town of Halifax, West Yorkshire, England. Estimated to have been installed during the 16th century, it was used as an alternative to beheading by axe or sword...."Halifax was once part of the Manor of Wakefield, where ancient Royal custom and law gave the Lord of the Manor the authority to execute summarily by decapitation any thief caught with stolen goods to the value of 13½d or more, or who confessed to having stolen goods of at least that value. ...The Gibbet Law may have been a last vestige of the Anglo-Saxon custom of infangtheof, which allowed landowners to enforce summary justice on thieves within the boundaries of their estates."

If you look closely at the 3rd image you will see an interesting method of activating the guillotine.

book 6.jpg

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Regards,

Jay.
 
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