Das Deutsche Literaturarchiv Marbach hat kürzlich eine Frankfurter Privatsammlung zu Eduard Mörike erworben. Der Sammler Klaus Berge, verdientes Mitglied der Deutschen Schillergesellschaft und langjähriger Freund des Hauses, hat über mehr als drei Jahrzehnte hinweg sachkundig Handschriften, Erstausgaben, Widmungsexemplare, Grafiken und Gegenständliches von und zu Eduard Mörike sowie seinem Umkreis zusammengetragen.
105 years ago, from 6th to 8th August, 1908, a famous 19th century autograph collection was auctioned by J. A. Stargardt in Berlin. The owner of the collection was Fritz Donebauer, born in 1849 as a son of a Bohemian innkeeper who became a banker and insurance agent in Prague, and most of all: a collector. In his lifetime he owned hundreds of autographs and manuscripts of mostly Bohemian theatre artists and musicians as well as rare documents from the history of Bohemia and the Thirty Years War. Little is known about Fritz Donebauer, whose collection came to auction in Berlin in April 1908, and even less is known about the private collectors, dealers and institutions who bought the documents, manuscripts and handwritten letters. Eberhard Köstler tries to reconstruct Fritz Donebauer's life and the fate of his famous collection.
This (or a variant of it) is probably the most often asked question I hear. What I'm talking about is, of course, whether it is better to buy a book (or get it autographed by the author) with just a signature alone or whether it is better to have it with a personalized inscription.
The British Library has acquired the personal archive of Sir Alec Guinness. The archive includes more than 900 of his letters to family and friends and over 100 volumes of diaries from the late 1930s to his death in the year 2000. The letters and diaries of the award winning British actor enrich the British Library's collection of archives of great 20th century artists along with those of Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud and Ralph Richardson.
How much is it worth? This question is most often asked by book collectors. And most often, there is not a precise answer. Although it is quite common nowadays to discuss rare books "as investments", the value of a book can hardly be counted in Dollars and Euros. It is even more difficult to measure the "worth" of dedication copies. Is the book inscribed by the author? Is this author famous and important, dead or alive? To whom is the book inscribed? Which words did the author choose to express his gratitude or sympathy? Eberhard Köstler, autograph specialist, gives examples of dedications by George Bernard Shaw, George Orwell, Franz Kafka, Thomas Mann and many other authors, and he shows that nothing is binding when it comes to the "real worth" of dedications.
In detective fiction and on the cop shows it's called "chain of evidence." Book collectors call it provenance. Unless you plan to build your private library solely with "hot off the press" titles, you need to understand provenance. The concept is important for all kinds of collectibles, from works of art to books to archaeological artifacts. Basically, it means: "to confirm or gather evidence as to the time, place, and if appropriate, the person responsible, for the creation, production or discovery of [an] object."
Great news: The Guardian and Associated Press report that the Hebrew University of Jerusalem puts online 2,000 documents from the Albert Einstein archives including unseen letters, postcards and research notes.
Discovering a fore-edge painting is always a pleasant surprise. When I first started my bookselling apprenticeship, it was one of the first things I was told to look out for (along with interesting bookplates, and ephemera tucked into the books). If you have not come across fore-edge paintings, let me first explain what they are.
"A valuable comic featuring the debut of Superman has re-surfaced in a storage locker, and police said Monday that it appears to be the same one stolen from Nicolas Cage more than a decade ago", the police reported on April 11, 2011. An article about the comic theft in Ventura County Star.
One of the reasons I love working as a bookseller is how often I get to travel and meet interesting people. Tomorrow I jump on a plane and head for London to promote the International Antiquarian Bookfair in Hong Kong. I will be attending the Olympia Book Fair, one of the world's most prestigious fairs. In the next few weeks I will tell you my experiences. Part 1, introducing Douglas Stewart, Frank Werner, Edmund Brumfitt and James Hallgate.
Although perhaps largely forgotten now, Giambattista Casti (1724–1803), Salieri's favoured librettist in Vienna in the 1780s, was notorious in his day, with a reputation for syphilis - Pushkin later wrote of the 'noseless Casti' in his lyric 'K vel'mozhe' ('To a Grandee', 1830) - and 'for writing witty, salacious satires, as a sort of obscene, Italian Voltaire.
I am a bookseller – a third generation bookseller and brought up on all kinds of old-fashioned ideas of Town and Gown, Gentlemen and Players, Society and Trade. Many years ago when we visited America regularly my father was invited to join that august New York Club, the Grolier. He declined on the grounds that it was not the right place for a tradesman. Consequently I feel that it is my duty tonight to present to you my credentials as a collector.
"May I please give this book back to Stralsund. It is a great day for the German-American friendship, for the cities of New York and Stralsund and a great day for rare and valuable books in archives and in libraries." With these words rare book dealer Jonathan Hill, New York, handed over a unique early edition of Johannes Kepler's works which had once belonged to the archive of Stralsund (Germany). For centuries the worth of the book had been unknown. A year and a half ago Jonathan Hill discovered the book in a catalogue. It had been sold together with the whole Stralsund archives and was now offered by an auction house. Jonathan Hill bought the book and, as he said in a press conference on 15th April 2014, brought it back to where it belongs: to Stralsund.