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.

July 2012

British Armorial Bindings
The British Armorial Binding database brings to fruition almost half a century of endeavour.  Its purpose is to create a comprehensive catalogue of all the coats of arms, crests, and other heraldic devices that have been stamped by British owners on the outer covers of their books ... more  Add a comment

Mysterious book sculptures on tour
A series of intricate sculptures made from books and mysteriously left around Edinburgh are going on display ... more  Add a comment

Revealed: the full cost of the cull of public libraries
More than 150 libraries have been closed or put into the hands of volunteers in the past year owing to the Government spending squeeze, with a further 225 at risk as councils look for ways of finding savings, according to research released last night ... more  Add a comment

Batman comic delayed after Aurora shootings
DC Comics is delaying the release of a new Batman comic following the Aurora shootings because it "contains content that may be perceived as insensitive in light of recent events" ... more  Add a comment

Library installs privacy screens
The San Francisco Public Library has installed 18 privacy screens on its public computers so patrons continuing looking at online porn in the library without disturbing the people around them ... more  Add a comment

Missing Hebrew manuscript
The saga of a 15th-century Bible that has vanished from a Jerusalem institute is pitting a New York family against official arms of the Israeli government ... more  Add a comment

The Laws of Hywel Dda goes on display
One of the first medieval manuscripts to be written in Welsh will go on display for the first time in more than 200 years. The 14th Century pocket book, The Laws of Hywel Dda, was bought at auction by the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, for £541,250 earlier this month ... more  Add a comment

Books from the 1530s found in old cupboard at library
A 1538 edition of letters by the Roman philosopher and statesman Marcus Cicero is among a cache of rare books discovered in Greenock's Watt Library ... more  Add a comment

India Office files to go online
Half a million pages of India Office records that shed detailed light on 200 years of British activities in the Gulf are to be digitised and made freely available online ... more  Add a comment

Why a typewriter is the ultimate hipster accessory
The fashion for celebrating old-fashioned ways of writing and reading is not healthy, argues En Khong ... more  Add a comment

In Cold Blood: Original 1959 Case Files Up for Auction
Vintage Memorabilia of Seattle to auction cache of never-before-published crime scene investigation notes, photos, confessions, and documents, along with rare letters from Truman Capote while he was researching the Clutter murder case for his bestselling book, In Cold Blood ... more  Add a comment

Beautiful marbled papers
The art of paper marbling is not lost to Jemma Lewis, a young professional marbler based in rural Wiltshire ... more  Add a comment

You can judge a book by its cover
An old adage says, "You can't judge a book by its cover", but actually, there are those who specifically seek books with certain covers and sometimes pay top price because of what's on the outside of the book, not the inside or who wrote it ... more  Add a comment

Vivaldi's lost masterpiece is found
Orlando Furioso, the 1727 opera, is one of the great composer's masterworks, but a wholly different score from 1714 has been found among Vivaldi's personal papers ... more  Add a comment

World's largest atlas on display at British library
Weighing 24 stone and with every page measuring 1.8 metres high and 1.4 metres wide, this is the world's largest atlas. The amazing giant book is on display at the British Library in London and was confirmed as a record-breaker by Guinness World Records adjudicator Raymond Marshall yesterday ... more  Add a comment

McMurtry Sets Auction of 300,000 Books
Author Larry McMurtry has been gathering books around him for more than five decades. Along the way, he has filled his four-building bookshop with 450,000 titles and turned his hometown of Archer City, Texas, into a destination "book town." Now, at age 76, he's finally letting some of his collection go. "I think it's time they enter back into the great river of books," he said ... more  Add a comment

In The Library
This scent is for those who can't walk past a second-hand bookstore without coming away with at least one additional volume

Scent bottle

... more  Add a comment

What's in the Kallenbach Papers?
The Indian government's $1.1 million purchase of a trove of documents and mementos from the family of a close friend of Mohandas K. Gandhi has raised widespread speculation about their contents and the motive behind the purchase ... more  Add a comment

Artist's work rises from Baghdad's ashes
As Baghdad burned, Iraqi artist Qasim Sabti headed for one of the places he loved the most - the Academy of Fine Arts - only to find thousands of its books and archives on fire ... more  Add a comment

Are manuscripts Malian rebels' next target?
Cultural heritage in West Africa has suffered a major blow with the destruction of sacred tombs by salafist rebels in Mali. But there's more than tombs at stake in the ancient city of Timbuktu ... more  Add a comment

Sheffield Central Library's bronze handrails stolen
The rails were ripped from their casings at the Central Library on Surrey Street in Sheffield, the council said. The two handrails have elaborate curved ends and are thought to be originals from the 1930s building ... more  Add a comment

Turquoise Jane Austen ring sells for 150,000 at auction
A gold and turquoise ring belonging to Jane Austen has sold for more than £150,000 at an auction in London – more than five times its estimate ... more  Add a comment

Extraordinarily rare baseball cards might fetch millions
Karl Kissner picked up a soot-covered cardboard box that had been under a wooden dollhouse in his grandfather's attic. Taking a look inside, he saw baseball cards bundled with twine. They were smaller than the ones he was used to seeing ... more  Add a comment

India buys Mahatma Gandhi letter archive
India has bought thousands of documents relating to Mahatma Gandhi in a private transaction ahead of a planned auction, said Sotheby's auctioneers. The government paid £700,000 ($1.1m), Sanjiv Mittal at the Ministry of Culture told Agence France-Presse ... more  Add a comment

How Justin's amazing talent unfolded
When Justin Rowe made three sculptures for his bookshop's Christmas window display, he never imagined that his work was destined for an altogether larger audience. Ahead of an exhibition this weekend, Emma Higgenbotham takes a closer look at his intricate artwork ... more  Add a comment

The Laws of Hywel Dda saved for the nation
One of the first medieval manuscripts to be written in Welsh has been saved for the nation after being sold at auction for £541,250. ... more  Add a comment

World's Most Sought after Photography Book sold
A rare copy of one of the largest and most sought after books of photographs ever published was sold at Bonhams Book, Maps, Manuscripts and Historical Photographs sale in London. It had been estimated at £50,000-70,000 ... more  Add a comment

Games Week: A celebration of games in London
The History and Heritage Adult Learning London network, convened by the Raphael Samuel History Centre, will be holding a week-long celebration of games in history from 7th-15 July 2012, with events planned at leading museums and archives across London ... more  Add a comment

Jane Austen's gold ring goes up for auction
A turquoise ring which once belonged to Jane Austen is up for auction at Sotheby's next week. But fans of the romantic novelist will need deep pockets if they are to win the rare piece of jewellery, which has a guide price of £20,000 to £30,000 ... more  Add a comment

Art market "miracle" masks a more mixed picture
One art publication has likened the record-breaking summer sales just ended in London to walking on water, yet auction houses say there is no miracle behind the headline soaring prices that have defied broader economic gloom ... more  Add a comment

The Author of the Civil War
At the height of the holiday shopping season of 1860, a bookseller in Richmond, Va., placed a telling advertisement in The Daily Dispatch promoting a selection of "Elegant Books for Christmas and New Year's Presents." Notably, the list of two dozen "choice books, suitable for Holiday Gifts" included five works by the late Scottish novelist and poet Sir Walter Scott in "various beautiful bindings" ... more  Add a comment

Collecting the best comic books for profit
Comic books are not only one of the most profitable items to collect, they're also one of the most fun. For many people collecting comics can be a nostalgic experience, allowing them to relive stories from their childhood. For others it can be a fun look into the pop-culture of decades past. And in the end, if done right, a comic collection can increase in value and sell for quite a large profit ... more  Add a comment

Children's books reflect harsh reality
Abandonment, alienation and homelessness are increasingly the themes covered in modern literature for children ... more  Add a comment

Children's bookshops 'buck UK High Street decline'
Children's bookshops are bucking a UK-wide decline, according to a new report by the Booksellers Association (BA). Not a single children's bookshop closed in 2011, said the report, despite a steady drop in the number of independent stores, with 73 closing their doors for good ... more  Add a comment

Agatha Christie book sells for more than 40,000
A rare early dust-jacket drawing of Agatha Christie's fictional detective Hercule Poirot has driven the price of a book that originally sold for 37p to a record £40,630 ... more  Add a comment

Spanish police recover lost Codex Calixtinus manuscript
A priceless 12th-century manuscript stolen from a church last year was recovered yesterday ... more  Add a comment

Lindisfarne Gospels exhibition will bring 'wonder and awe'
After years of campaigning, the manuscript, along with the seventh-century St Cuthbert's Gospel, will go on display at Durham University's Palace Green Library next July, after an agreement with the British Library, in London ... more  Add a comment

Waldseemueller's early America map found in Germany
The map, by the famous cartographer Martin Waldseemueller, is credited with being the first to document and name the newly-discovered land of America ... more  Add a comment