Showing posts from May, 2010

More bookseller labels from around the world

More bookseller labels, courtesy of Reinhard Öhlberger , of Vienna, Austria. If anyone has duplicates to trade, Mr. Öhlberger would certainly be interested in hearing from you. Of particular interest would be labels from North America and Scandinavia (especially Finland), but anywhere in the world would be considered. Enjoy these little paper gems of bookseller history:

Reinhard Öhlberger's HUGE collection of bookseller labels

As the old saying goes, big things come in small packages. The converse of that idiom might have something to do with small things comprising something much larger. That is something Reinhard Öhlberger knows well. Reinhard Öhlberger, of Vienna, Austria (Wien, Österreich), has what arguably is the largest collection of its kind. He collects bookseller labels--those small stamp-like pieces of paper booksellers used to paste onto the front or rear endpapers of a book to advertise their business. Mr. Öhlberger has, at last count, a little more than 24,000 of these labels ( twenty-four thousand! ), also referred to as tickets. Given that number, there probably isn't any argument as to his collection being the largest of its kind. He chose about a thousand of these labels to feature in his book, Wenn am Buch der Händler klebt (Verlag Löcker, 1999). The image above is from Melzers Antiquarium (Luedenscheid, Germany) listing on Mr. Öhlberger contacted me several days ago t

More cheap books on Nassau St.

In my previous post, I wrote about a bookseller at 124 Nassau St. in New York City-- Nathan Tibbals & Sons --whose trade card advertised cheap books. He made a point of repeating that line a few times to emphasize the low prices. I have evidence now that Tibbals had some competition a few doors down at 130 Nassau St. Thomas O'Kane, a bookseller and publisher, was selling cheap books also, according to his bookseller label, which I just found yesterday and made part of my collection. How's that for a coincidence? Write about one bookseller on Nassau St. in New York and a few days later learn about his neighbor in the same business, also selling cheap books. O'Kane's label and Tibbals' trade card look to be from the late 1800s so I make the assumption that they were in business about the same time. If so, book buyers must have loved that cheap little stretch of Nassau St! (Hint about my next post... this one provides a good segue into a collection from Europe

An agent in the bookseller's basement

N. Tibbals & Sons have an agent in their New York basement at 124 Nassau St. So states the trade card for their publishing and bookselling business. The back of the card states their agent is now in their basement with a bunch of very cheap books. And you need to come and see for yourself. These books have just come in from New York (Isn't Tibbals in New York?). And did they mention how cheap they are? The front of the card has the typical colorful Victorian, flowery decor, this one with butterflies. These images seldom, if ever, have anything to do with the business indicated on the card. But this card reiterates the business pitch on the front also, not the business name. In case you missed the message on the flip side, these guys have a basement full of very cheap books to sell you. There's an agent down there, too. According to Publisher's Weekly, Volume 52 , in an obituary for Nathan Tibbals, N. Tibbals & Son started in 1848 and conducted business for years at

Ephemera, genealogy, and book provenance

If you like exploring a book's provenance, you've probably channeled you inner genealogist at times to mine the clues provided in inscriptions and bookplates, or notes, letters, and other ephemera laid in. I use such clues often when researching a book's previous ownership. This is just a quick post to recommend a link to an enjoyable piece of writing on the subject. Over at the Book Tryst blog, Cokie G. Anderson has written an excellent article with some fine, albeit uncommon, examples of provenance discovery. Check it out for a little inspiration in your own sleuthing activities.

A plate of Belgian lace

I have a chromolithograph plate, for which I am trying to find the book it once illustrated. If I can properly identify the book, I'm sure I can find it. I blogged about this mystery three years ago, pre- Bibliophemera , dusted it off, and thought it appropriate content now for this venue. Close enough anyway. This plate was not created as a piece of ephemera, rather a lasting contribution to a book that should still be around somewhere. But separated from its book, this illustration had recently become thrift shop ephemera, which if not purchased may have wound up in the trash. I found the folio-size plate (12 X 17 inches) hanging in a resale shop several years ago and walked out with it for $7. Bargain? I don't know for sure (the dampstain doesn't help), but I do know that it reminded me of a trip to Belgium with my wife some years ago, walking through the old city of Bruges along the aged cobblestone streets, window shopping for chocolate and lace , which the area is k

Haines and Essick Booksellers, Decatur, Illinois

April 11, 1962--the New York Mets were playing their first ever Major League season game. Rained out the previous day in St. Louis for their opener, their first game was pushed to the next day, April 11th. They lost to the Cardinals 11-4 as Stan Musial went 3 for 3 to help lead the attack against the hapless expansion club. (Side note: A few months later, I got to watch Musial & Co. beat my hometown expansion team, the Houston Colt .45s, for my first big league ball game at age six.) Sometime that same day, about a hundred miles or so up the road in Decatur, Illinois, a lawyer and future judge walked into the book shop, Haines and Essick, to hunt for some interesting treasure and walked out with Charles P. Everitt's The Adventures of a Treasure Hunter: A Rare Bookman in Search of American History . He left the invoice in his book, and years later both the book and its bookseller ephemera found their way into the hands of James Haselden, a Madison, Wisconsin bookseller, collect

Doll & Co. - Books & Typewriters

Book shops through the ages have often peddled more wares than just books. Writing instruments have usually been a popular addition to the book stock and, for at least one turn-of-the-century bookseller, that extended to typewriters. George Doll's company, Doll & Co., Booksellers & Stationers , of Knoxville Tennessee, had a diversified inventory, as evidenced by one of their old billheads from 1905. They were agents for typewriters, bookcases and office supplies. But the Smith Premier No. 2 Typewriter gets the spotlight on this piece of business ephemera. It would also appear from the billhead that the bookseller offered repairs on the typewriters it sold. The transaction recorded indicates a customer from up the road in Jacksboro had his typewriter overhauled and was charged $6.50 for the service. There's more information about the history of Smith Premier typewriters HERE . Related blog posts include one from Bibliophemera from last year that features a billhead for

Bookplates for children-
Lloyd Adams Noble, Publisher

Here is a stapled booklet of bookplates for children, dated 1918. They were sold by Lloyd Adams Noble , Publisher. The booklet contains three different designs to choose from. Each page has three of the same bookplate in perforated panes with an adhesive on the back for moistening and applying to the book. A protective guard between each page prevented the bookplates from sticking to each other. This booklet is missing one bookplate at the back, otherwise it is completely intact with minimal wear despite its age and supposedly having been handled by children. I have seen individual plates for sale from these booklets, but a whole booklet appears to be quite scarce. I'm not sure when this series of bookplates started or ended, but this set is copyrighted 1918 and I know the bookplates were still being published in 1921. A Lloyd Adams Noble title from that year, Pieces for Every Day the Schools Celebrate, by Deming and Bemis , contains ads in the back in which it is stated that three

The Little Bookroom in Australia

The Little Bookroom is Australia's first and, therefore, oldest children's specialist book shop. I learned this while cataloging books this morning and came across a copy of L.H. Evers' The Racketty Street Gang. At the bottom of the front free endpaper was the bookseller's label, plain in design, but an invitation to discover a rich history of children's literature in Australia. Founder Albert Ullin opened the doors to the Melbourne book shop, at the corner of Bourke and Elizabeth Streets, on Friday the 13th, 1960. Apparently not too superstitious about the date, "lucky 13" worked out pretty well, as the book shop has enjoyed 50 years of business. How many speciality book shops of the same vintage are still around to claim the same? Ullin named his shop for the title of an Eleanor Farjeon (of London) collection of short stories. In 1963, the Little Bookroom moved to the Equitable Place address printed on the bookseller label, where they stayed for the ne

Chinese influence on a Charleston bookseller

Here's an old bookseller's billhead from Charleston, South Carolina in 1883, which I find intriguing for its interesting and unexpected design. Edward Perry, Bookseller, Stationer, and Printer, is pretty much lost to history except for a few brief references to pamphlets he printed in Charleston. What is memorable about this billhead is the Chinese design that borders the top portion of the paper. Not quite what I would expect to find in an old colonial city of the American South (my ignorance of Charleston history). Curious about the choice of design, I wondered if it were just the peculiar personal taste of Perry or if a greater influence was at work here. A culturally influential Chinese aesthetic in 19th century Charleston did not come immediately to mind, but began to seep in as I entertained ideas about Perry's taste in Asian-inspired design. I had to make only a few queries online before finding my answer. The Society for Historical Archaeology , Volume 33, Number 3