Monday, October 20, 2014

Long Island Book Collectors

In September, veteran collector and long-time LIBC member Roz Grand presented advice on acquiring a cohesive book collection.   As a novice, she sought the help of dealers, books, and Internet resources in order to learn the market value of material within her areas of interest: The Holocaust and Zionism. At fairs and auctions, she slowly began buying Holocaust and Zionist books, pamphlets, and related newspapers; many published during the rise of Hitler and World War II before the Allied Invasion. Today, her formidable library contains a wealth of scholarly information.

Ms. Grand shared some of the books that continue to serve her well—both independent of and in conjunction with, the Internet. Her selection includes: Collecting Books for Fun and Profit by Arthur H. Minters and How to Buy Rare Books: A Practical Guide to the Antiquarian Book Market published by Christie’s Collectors Library. Touching upon the fickle marketplace’s criteria for “rarity”, Ms. Grand alluded to John Carter’s diminutive jewel of a book, ABC for Book Collectors. The book remains a valuable resource for novices and seasoned dealers alike. [Thanks to the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers it is now available for download as a PDF.  The entry for “rarity” is well worth reading and re-reading.]  

Here are a few of Ms. Grand’s tips:
Collect the things you love; choose the books most important to your collection; decide what you want your collection to be and what you want your collection to say. Confirm how much a book is worth and how much your collection is worth. What are the highlights of your collection?  What should you have in your collection that will make it a true vehicle for your message and increase its value?
Learn how to negotiate.  Learn how to say “no” to a dealer who is not offering you the price you want.
Balance buying a bargain with buying a high-end book.  Buy the most representative book in the best condition when it is necessary to your objective.
Rather than relying solely on Internet sources, seek out a reputable dealer for information on price and source. Build a relationship of trust with a dealer or dealers. 
Above all, do not buy for profit, buy for love.  In this way, you will be assured of continued pride and pleasure in your collection—for the whole of your life.  

In October, witches, goblins, and ghosts were the topic—a nod to All Hallows Eve or Halloween.  Julie Marrell presented some of her favorite children’s picture books including The Witch Who was Afraid of Witches by Alice Low. From her collection of 19th century Central American magazines, Ms. Marrell shared a Halloween issue documenting the Guatemalan tradition of taking a photograph with the dead before burying the body as a lasting memento. Titles presented by Marjorie Rosenthal included two Maurice Sendak titles-Outside Over There and Mommy?,  a pop-up book, reflecting the author’s own obsession with goblins, changelings and monsters. Member selections included a photoplay edition of The Murders in the Rue Morgue containing movie stills;  a rare volume of the first true horror story published in America—a 1796 edition of The Monk, one of the most important Gothic novels of its time; Japanese Ghosts & Demons: Art of the Supernatural by Stephen Addiss containing the work of many of Japan’s most brilliant artists; Priscilla magazine, 1926 and Modern Home Making magazine 1927 featuring menus for entertaining on Halloween; The Gashlycrumb Tinies by Edward Gore; a 1910 edition of The Devil’s Motor-still smelling of the burnt- oil-scent that enhanced the book’s message a century ago.  This oversized anti-motoring book by Marie Corelli defended the preservation of our natural world by advocating for the continued use of the horse & buggy.

Join us in the Hunt Room of Winnick House on Long island University’s bucolic campus every second Saturday of the month from September through June, or RSVP to attend our luncheon on November 16th at the famed  Milleridge Inn in Jericho, Long Island. This year’s speaker will be the historian from the Walt Whitman Birthplace in Huntington Station. Read more about us at:

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