Shelf:Life - Links to what's new in the world of old, rare, and collectable books, insights into book collecting, the news stories that matter, and occasional comments by TheBookGuide.  Archived Stories.

June 2011

Rare Marathi-Hebrew text found in Manchester
A rare book used by the Bene Israel community in western India in the 19th century with text in Marathi and Hebrew has been discovered by a Manchester-based historian in a second-hand garage sale in Salford
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'84 Charing Cross Road' revisited
How a New York woman’s correspondence with a London bookshop became a publishing sensation ... more  Add a comment

Old Mafia file sells at NY auction for nearly $11K
It was an unlikely -- and coveted -- find: a thick United States government file discovered on the backseat of a New York City taxi, its pages containing mug shots, criminal associates and favourite hangouts of over 800 Mafia members during the 1950s and early 1960s. Such notorious figures as Carlo "Don Carlo" Gambino, Meyer Lansky and Salvatore "Lucky Luciano" Lucania each had their own entries ... more  Add a comment

First ever issue of The Beano up for auction
The first edition cost just tuppence when it was published by D. C. Thomson & Co Ltd in 1938 — but is expected to fetch between £6000 and £8000 when it goes under the hammer on July 16 at Swan and Turner Auctioneers ... more  Add a comment

'Unique' Gaelic manuscript to go on display in Cork
A major medieval Irish manuscript will go on public display in Cork for the first time next month. The Book of Lismor e or Leabhar Mac Cárthaigh Riabhach was written in the 15th century for Irish nobleman Finghin Mac Cárthaigh Riabhach and his wife Caitilín ... more  Add a comment

Book thief jailed for six months
A thief who stole a rare book then claimed he had sold it to fund cancer treatment has been jailed after being exposed as a liar ... more  Add a comment

Spider-Man death 'changes everything' for Marvel
Not since Arthur Conan Doyle killed off Sherlock Holmes has such a dramatic death hit the pages of fiction. Those with a sensitive disposition should look away now: Spider-Man is set to meet an unpleasant end in a new comic ... more  Add a comment

Victorian cook book's slimming ideas
A 200-year-old cookery book has surfaced in a charity shop, offering such attractions as tongue and udder pie or beggar’s pudding, made from old bits of watery bread ... more  Add a comment

What's sticky and can be found in old books?
Once upon a time, it was likely that on the inside cover of an old book there would be a pasted-in declaration of ownership. Bookplates date back to 16th century Germany, the book "Ex Libris: the Art of Bookplates" tells us, when books were precious and rare ... more  Add a comment

Investors warned off
Experts urged not to believe all of stamp dealer's Stanley Gibbons's marketing spiel ... more  Add a comment

Enid Blyton charity 'to close because of cheque downfall'
A charity established by Enid Blyton's daughter to maintain the British author's generosity is to close after nearly three decades of work because of the phasing out of cheques, it has emerged ... more  Add a comment

Joyce's puzzle solved
"Good puzzle would be cross Dublin without passing a pub," muses Leopold Bloom in James Joyce's classic novel Ulysses. It's a conundrum that has intrigued literary visitors to the city for years and, until now, frustrated them ... more  Add a comment

World fame of Worcester Cathedral library
Worcester Cathedral's library is ranked among the most important in the country for medieval studies ... more  Add a comment

Thomas the Tank writer's centenary
Celebrations marking 100 years since the birth of the creator of the Thomas the Tank Engine books are being held at the Welsh station which inspired him ... more  Add a comment

Be enchanted
An assemblage of rare and unique books and periodicals associated with the English art historian, poet, architect and typographer Herbert P. Horne (1864-1916) is being exhibited on the ground floor of the Bristol University Arts and Social Sciences Library until 25th of July ... more  Add a comment

Firm friends or a marriage of political convenience?
They were Britain’s two great wartime leaders whose friendship helped them overcome bitter political rivalry. Now rare books for sale with inscriptions from Winston Churchill to David Lloyd George seem to bear testimony to their friendship. Or do they? ... more  Add a comment

Public gets rare glimpse of masterpieces
Rarely-seen masterpieces by artists from Michelangelo to Mueck have been put on display at Christie's auction house in London, in a brief public show before they are sold off ... more  Add a comment

Rare book found in Oxfam shop
The book, based on archaeological and geographical exploration in Chinese Turkestan, has been valued at between £300 and £500 and will be auctioned at Bonham’s of Oxford ... more  Add a comment

Wembley visitors book to be auctioned
A visitors book salvaged from the Royal Box at Wembley Stadium will be auctioned in Eastbourne ... more  Add a comment

Early Bob Dylan manuscripts surface
Two scarce and very early Bob Dylan manuscripts of song lyrics have come to market ... more  Add a comment

Celebrating vintage books
First up in a new video series on literary treasures: a look at the beautifully designed World Geo-Graphic Atlas, from 1953 ... more  Add a comment

British Map Engravers
A new publication by Laurence Worms and Ashley Baynton-Williams. "Essential for all serious libraries, all serious map and print collectors, all serious scholars of the printed image in the British Isles, and every map and print dealer" ... more  Add a comment

Patrick Leigh Fermor dies aged 96
The writer Patrick Leigh Fermor, who walked his way into the eternal affection of restless souls with his account of a journey across Europe on foot, has died aged 96 ... more  Add a comment

Siegfried Sassoon postcards found in book
The manager of a charity shop checking through some old books was astonished to find two postcards written by renowned First World War poet Siegfried Sassoon ... more  Add a comment

500-year-old book for sale in Utah for $35K
A partial copy of a 500-year-old book considered one of the earliest and most lavishly illustrated works of the 15th century is now on sale for $35,000 at a rare book shop in Utah ... more  Add a comment

British Library launch book app
A "treasure trove" of more than 60,000 19th Century books is being made available by the British Library in a new iPad application ... more  Add a comment

Woman saves 60 tonnes of books from burning
Shaunna Raycraft couldn't bear to see the books destroyed when her neighbour's collector husband died, so she agreed to take them. But now they're proving to be a burden. For one thing, they're taking up a lot of space ... more  Add a comment

'Jane Austen' portrait album to be auctioned
An album containing a portrait believed to be one of only four surviving of author Jane Austen, is going under the auctioneer's hammer ... more  Add a comment

Mozart music found
When an Oxfam volunteer at the charity's Reading shop opened up a box of donated sheet music, she knew almost immediately there was something special about the tatty score on top ... more  Add a comment

How Much Is an Inscribed Wizard of Oz Worth
Nate D. Sanders Auctions is now offering a first edition copy of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the first volume in the Oz series. The book is in the second state, and in binding variant C. It is in awful condition, grimy, worn, and lacking two plates. On a good day, it's a $2,000 - $2,500 book ... more  Add a comment

Man jailed over rare Harry Potter book theft
Kevin McGirr, 40, had been charged with the theft of the rare copy of Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone. The book, worth about £6,000, went missing from the Creative Art Gallery in Woodstock, Oxfordshire, in October ... more  Add a comment

Napoleon's English lessons sell for 90,000 euros
Napoleon's first English lessons while he was banished to exile on the South Atlantic island of Saint Helena fetched more than 93,000 Euros at an auction in France Sunday, several times more than they had been valued ... more  Add a comment

How I made money out of old books
Encouraging people to buy and sell used books online is at the heart of entrepreneur Barry Crowe's business, but creating a more sustainable future is his passion ... more  Add a comment

University launches degree in comic books
Dundee University said the one-year Masters in Comic Studies would be launched by its English department in September 2011 ... more  Add a comment

Three in 10 UK children 'own no books'
Three in 10 children in the UK do not own a single book of their own, with alarming implications for their future prospects, according to new research. The survey by the National Literacy Trust also shows that boys are less likely to own books than girls ... more  Add a comment

Google has no agreement yet to digitize books
Google Inc has yet to agree with authors and publishers on a legal plan to create the world's largest digital library, and a federal judge who struck down an earlier accord gave it another seven weeks to try ... more  Add a comment

Iconic Travel Bookshop goes up for sale
The iconic Travel Bookshop in Notting Hill, which has been running for just over 30 years, is being sold to new owners ... more  Add a comment

Fans dismiss claim romantic novels 'unbalance' readers
Romance novelists and readers have come together to defend their chosen genre against the accusation that "women can become as dangerously unbalanced by these books' entrancing but distorted messages as men can be by the distorted messages of pornography" ... more  Add a comment

A legendary rarity of American children's literature
The Tales of Peter Parley About America was the most important American children's book issued up to its time of publication, 1827, and a major, highly significant influence upon children's literature in the English-speaking world forever afterward, soon drawing otherwise adult-oriented authors to the field ... more  Add a comment

Once upon a time loving books was easy
It’s no secret that the way we read books is changing. At the recent Meanland ‘Evolution of the Bookstore’ panel discussion , however, I was one of the huge crowd of punters that raised their hands when asked if they still purchased second hand books ... more  Add a comment

Typography that brings the words alive
Electronic books are now outselling all other forms of books on Amazon, but for me it\'s typography that brings the words alive.  Add a comment