As I had the Old Book Expert in the shop with me – checking the value of the £700 book ( see previous blog if you are interested) – he said we could together go through the teetering pile of books that I could not value.
Of course, most were nowhere near as valuable or exciting as I had thought, but one was really interesting.
Another thing you may not know about books, is that sometimes it is the binding that matters – not the book.
There are very famous binders and they leave a very tiny mark on the book – so small you can easily miss it.
It is one of the many interesting things I have learned from the Old Book Expert and here was a lovely little book.
It was something you wanted to hold in your hand. It was soft and smooth and it had a binder’s mark.
The book, he said, was of no interest but that didn’t mean much. Often bookbinders will just take a book and bind it for the sake of having a nice bound book.
The mark looks like it is Arts and Crafts style and the date is right but is it the work of an amateur who has created something very nice indeed, or is it the work of someone well known in that period and worth a lot?
We don’t know.
So, I have contacted The Society of Bookbinders in the hope they can enlighten me but it seems they are not people who feel the need to read or reply to emails with any great speed. That, no doubt is because they practice a craft which is slow, carefully done, craftsmanship – and they don’t feel the need to respond to some woman from an Oxfam shop.
We will have to wait and one day I shall find out if this delightful, gorgeous little book is worth a lot or a little.
If it is a little, it will be bought by me and stroked of an evening.
Finally, of this bumper week of Oxfam excitement a signed copy.
I am not sure I really understand the interest in signed copies of books if they are not dedicated to you or someone really famous like Dickens, but they do sell so I have one of my many boxes dotted around the upstairs rooms of the shop assigned to signed copies.
I found The Gate of Angels by Penelope Fitzgerald which was signed. I am a huge Fitzgerald fan and she didn’t write a lot of books – but each one is a jewel as far as I am concerned.
So, for the first time, I was interested in a signed book even though I had never met her and she had certainly not signed it for me.
I was going to push the boat out and pay the £10 I thought it might be worth.
There is currently only one for sale on the internet – hardback and first edition – and it is nearly £700.
Now, before we all get too excited, it is from an American seller and they always inflate the prices and I think s/he may also have inflated the price because s/he has the only one for sale.
Even so, it won’t be coming home with me anytime soon.
So, if you know the bookbinder with the mark in the picture, please let me know and if you want to buy
The Gate of Angels for, let’s be generous, £500, do let me know.