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.

November 2011

Bonhams gets approval
Bonhams, the auction house founded in 1793, has won approval for the 30 million-pound ($47 million) conversion of its headquarters on London's New Bond Street. Bonhams will retain the existing store fronts and add three salesrooms, preview galleries, a cafe and space for employees ... more  Add a comment

Early Disney works up for auction
Early works by Walt Disney, including an autographed drawing and a cartoon that predates Mickey Mouse, will go up for auction in the U.S ... more  Add a comment

Tintin auction in Paris fetches 1.8 mn euros
A Paris auction of items related to Herge's comic book reporter Tintin, whose adventures have been adapted for the big screen by Steven Spielberg, fetched more than 1.8 million euros on Saturday ... more  Add a comment

Apple contract could fetch $150,000
On April 1, 1976, Steve Jobs got together with Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne to draft a three- page contract that established Apple Computer Co. Next month, the contract, with the three founding partners' signatures, hits the auction block in New York. Estimated to bring $100,000 to $150,000, the agreement is one of the highlights of Sotheby's Dec. 13 books and manuscripts sale ... more  Add a comment

Lost in the Hundred Acre Wood
Pat McInally, the first Harvard graduate to play in the Super Bowl, tells Jonathan Liew how he built up a £2 million Winnie-the-Pooh memorabilia collection  - and why he's coming to London to sell it ... more  Add a comment

Bookseller sued for invasion of privacy
A Nebraska woman who served on John F. Kennedy's presidential campaign claims that bookseller Ken Lopez unlawfully used her name to advertise a rare, autographed copy of Richard Yates' acclaimed first novel, 'Revolutionary Road' ... more  Add a comment

Banned book had 'no dirty bits'
A 40-year-old book on the adventures of an American gang matriarch has been seized from a Wellington second-hand bookshop by authorities who claim it's indecent ... more  Add a comment

Anne McCaffrey: a magician of Newtonian logic
McCaffrey was one of my first serious author addictions, and her rigorously thought-through stories of dragons were a great introduction to SF ... more  Add a comment

The Open Country of Woman's Heart
A 19th century map of women's emotions provides an interesting glimpse inside American conceptions of femininity in the 1800s, thanks to an online exhibit by the American Antiquarian Society ... more  Add a comment

Charlie Chaplin's scrip for Monsieur Verdoux up for sale
A duplicated typescript with autograph manuscript corrections, and manuscript notes and additions by legendary silent screen comedian, Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977), of his screenplay, A Comedy of Murders, which would be released as Monsieur Verdoux, Chaplin's dark comedy of 1947 and favorite of all his films, has surfaced and is being offered by Bloomsbury - London (now Dreweatt's) Auctions in their Important Books and Manuscript sale, November 29, 2011 ... more  Add a comment

Before she became a blonde bombshell
Before Marilyn Monroe became famed for her platinum blonde locks, she set off to find stardom with her natural honey-hued hair. And these are the photographs from Marilyn Monroe's first professional shoot that show off her natural beauty that consequently led her to celebrity status. The photographs, of the then 19-year-old, are now to be sold  and could fetch nearly a million dollars in the U.S. when they are sold ... more  Add a comment

The vibrant joy of Robert Crumb's album covers
The cult cartoonist's artwork for various artists has a vividness and oomph that is almost like music in itself ... more  Add a comment

The penny drops
Pound shops are outstripping book shops for the first time as the number of discount retailers across the UK tops 3,000, it was revealed today ... more  Add a comment

Casanova manuscript on display
The main attraction of an exhibition at the National Library in Paris and the first opportunity for the general public to have a look at the legendary manuscript. The library acquired it last year from the family of the German publisher Brockhaus for a cool 7.25 million euros  ... more  Add a comment

Rare Tagore notebook to be sold
A previously unknown manuscript by Bengali poet and Nobel Literature Prize winner Rabindranath Tagore is expected to fetch up to $250,000 when it is auctioned next month in New York ... more  Add a comment

Stealing Shakespeare
One of the world's pre-eminent Shakespeare scholars, Professor Eric Rasmussen will be talking about stolen folios and collaboration at the Shakespeare Centre in Stratford on November 25th ... more  Add a comment

'Arthashastra' in poor shape at Mysore library
After ensuring that one of the oldest global treatises on statecraft and economic policy was reinstated for posterity, the Oriental Research Institute (ORI), Mysore, is on the verge of losing one of the earliest available manuscripts of Kautilya's Arthashastra. It's falling victim to maladministration and the vagaries of time ... more  Add a comment

Bookdealer by any other name
Readers who lament the loss of Bookdealer under the editorship of Michael Berry, will be pleased to hear that it has returned in the guise of The Bookman. Michael hopes that it will become an annual publication and this edition contains contributions by many of the familiar Bookdealer contributors including Sheila Markham, Nick Smith, Ian McKay, and Christopher Ondaatje. Published by Rare Books & Berry at £9.95 including postage, you can find more details here.  Add a comment

Charity retailers deny damaging indies
The Charity Retail Association has denied it is responsible for damaging high street booksellers but said independent retailers need "greater help" in the current climate ... more  Add a comment

Beatles drummer invitation letter sold
A letter written by Sir Paul McCartney asking an unknown drummer to audition for The Beatles has sold at auction in London for £35,000. Dated 12 August, 1960, it was discovered inside a book bought at a car boot sale in Liverpool by a coin collector ... more  Add a comment

Was Jane Austen Murdered?
Almost 200 years after she died, Jane Austen's early death at the age of just 41 has been attributed to many things, from cancer to Addison's disease. Now sleuthing from a crime novelist has uncovered a new possibility: arsenic poisoning ... more  Add a comment

Sir Douglas Bader's crash log book sells for 23,500
A log book by World War II pilot Sir Douglas Bader which records the crash in which he lost his legs has sold for £23,500 at auction. Bader nearly died in the crash at Woodley Airfield, near Reading, Berkshire, in 1931 but he learned to walk again using artificial legs ... more  Add a comment

Medieval monarchs' books showcased
For more than 600 years England's medieval monarchs - many of them better known for their belligerence than their scholarship - collected illuminated manuscripts, which were among their most treasured possessions. The signs are that they read them, too, and gazed at their pictures. And now those pages, glowing gold, vermilion and lapis lazuli blue as vividly as when the kings first set eyes on them, are going on display in an exhibition at the British Library in London ... more  Add a comment

Over 5,000 manuscripts decaying
Sounds incredible, but more than 5,000 rare and invaluable manuscripts in different languages are decaying in Patna University (PU) Central Library for want of proper upkeep and preservation. The manuscript section of the library, once considered to be a repository of rich cultural heritage, has been lying locked for the last several years ... more  Add a comment

Bonhams opening office in Washington DC
Bonhams decided to open in Washington because there was too much potential business to be serviced from its New York offices. Mr. Gammon - a manuscript specialist - said his main purpose was to establish closer contact with both buyers and sellers; but while most objects would be shipped back to the Manhattan salesroom, Bonhams also would hold occasional sales in Washington ... more  Add a comment

Old books, and what to do with them
Is mining old books for their pictures or turning them into sculptures a kinder fate than the pulping mill? ... more  Add a comment

Cambridge to study ancient Sanskrit texts
A major exercise in 'linguistic archaeology' has set out to complete a comprehensive survey of Cambridge University South Asian manuscript collection, which includes the oldest dated and illustrated Sanskrit manuscript known worldwide ... more  Add a comment

Library usage falls as branches close
With the axe still hanging over 600 of England's libraries, 33 branches have already closed over the last year, according to official figures. Visits to libraries have also dropped, as have the number of books issued to users and the number of new books bought by libraries, according to new statistics from the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy ... more  Add a comment

Talks under way to save music and drama lending library
Campaigners and councillors agree that Yorkshire's treasure chest of scripts and scores should not be lost or dispersed if a new organiser can be found ... more  Add a comment

Legal fight over Armenian Bible pages
Armenian Orthodox Church seeks eight pages of the Zeyt'un Gospels that the Getty Museum bought in 1994. The Getty asked the motion to be dismissed, but judge orders mediation ... more  Add a comment

Library of Congress acquires rchitectural collection
The Library of Congress announced the acquisition of the American Institute of Architects and American Architectural Foundation Collection, consisting of rare and significant architectural drawings, photographs and illustrated publications. The materials will be housed in the Library's Prints and Photographs Division ... more  Add a comment

Tintin banned from children's shelves
Tintin, the comic book hero, is embroiled in a row about political correctness - just as he is about to make the switch to celluloid superstar ... more  Add a comment

Golden Age comics collection surfaces in Ohio
One of the great debates in vintage comic book collecting circles is over just how many comics from the 1930s-1960s are left out there in the world, undiscovered.  I read one theory recently - actually a pretty compelling one - which postulated, for example, that all the copies of Action Comics #1 that still exist will have been found and surfaced in the collecting community in some manner by 2050, and that copies which have not been found by that point are for practical purposes gone forever ... more  Add a comment

Rare 16th century book stolen at Frankfurt fair
Thieves stole a rare 16th-century Portuguese book estimated to be worth 18,500 euros ($25,500) at the world's biggest book fair here last month, police said Wednesday ... more  Add a comment

UK's biggest music and drama lending library faces closure
The biggest music and drama lending library in the UK faces closure because of government spending cuts, prompting a wave of protest from arts organisations. Expert librarians whose skill has been treasured for decades by choirs, dramatic societies and researchers face the loss of a centralised system in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, which makes loans from an unrivalled lending collection of 500,000 music scores and 90,000 playscripts ... more  Add a comment