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.

August 2012

Hogwarts tree houses for author's children
J.K. Rowling has won permission to build two Hogwarts-style tree houses in the garden of her home, despite complaints from neighbours ... more  Add a comment

Manchster makes 12k selling off old library books on eBay
Old stock from Manchester libraries has been passed on to a firm to be re-sold on websites such as Amazon and eBay. In the last two years, thousands of old books have been sold by the city council. They include stock currently being cleared out of the landmark Central Library in St Peter's Square ... more  Add a comment

Gibbon's 'earliest use of irony' revealed by manuscript
A newly-discovered manuscript may represent Edward Gibbon's earliest experiment in the irony for which he would become famous, an Oxford University English academic has found ... more  Add a comment

Pensioner 'swindled over 170,000 first editions'
An antiques dealer sold a pensioner's collection of rare first-edition books after borrowing them and pretending they had been water damaged, a court heard ... more  Add a comment

The garden of decaying books
Books were piled up to create walls, rooms and seats which are slowly rotting to become part of the forestDecaying Books ... more  Add a comment

Timothy Leary original unpublished manuscript for sale
An unpublished and virtually unknown manuscript from psychologist, writer, countercultural guru and provocateur,Timothy Leary, will be sold by Bonhams in San Francisco on October 10th for an estimated $30,000 to $50,000 ... more  Add a comment

What the Dickens is your child reading?
Charles Dickens's classic novel A Christmas Carol is the book that parents want their children to read more than any other ... more  Add a comment

Collectible books: not just for reading
Certain types of manuscripts and texts are commanding top dollar as nostalgia and electronic books gain influence with buyers ... more  Add a comment

Larger than life
Early 1900s postcards show off primitive 'Photoshopping' skillschickens ... more  Add a comment

Elvis Presley's bible to be auctioned
A copy of the Good Book which once belonged to Elvis Presley is up for auction and is expected to fetch more than £20,000 when it goes under the hammer in Manchester next month ... more  Add a comment

Manson and Kray letters sell for 600
Letters from London gangster Reggie Kray and US cult leader Charles Manson have sold for £600 at auction in Glasgow ... more  Add a comment

Two thousand thefts - Girolamini Library
Details of a massive book theft from a very old Italian library have emerged over the past two months. It's a case that must be leaving scholars, and police, with their heads shaking. How could this happen? ... more  Add a comment

The Great Book Sale of Texas
The volumes from Booked Up would leave by the armful and by cartloads and in many cases by the carload. Some buyers brought U-hauls, some sent professional book scouts, and others brought only their curiosity and a feeling that the event dubbed "The Last Book Sale" was something they couldn't miss ... more  Add a comment

Mendham Collection auction plan sparks campaign
 More than 3,000 people have signed a petition to stop the break-up of a rare collection of manuscripts and books ... more  Add a comment

Sci-fi author Harry Harrison dies
American science fiction author Harry Harrison, who also created the Stainless Steel Rat comic space opera series, has died aged 87 ... more  Add a comment

Elvis Presley's library card fetches $7,500
A library card bearing the signature of a 13-year-old Elvis Presley was sold at auction for $7500, doubling estimates. The autograph is believed to be the earliest signature of the King of Rock and Roll ... more  Add a comment

Edinburgh book sculptures set to tour
They sit as old friends do, having a laugh, a drink, a smoke listening as a record spins on an old record player. The tiny, intricately detailed skeletons, wrought from the torn pages of an old book, are the final work of the mysterious artist who last year had Edinburgh's literary world agog as she left her miniature works on library bookshelves, in museums and even on a table at the city's book festival ... more  Add a comment

Olympians rewarded by bookshop owner
David Mitchell, who owns Scarthin Books, in Cromford, has used his own money to create fourth place pewter medals for Olympic contestants who missed out on bronze ... more  Add a comment

2km-long Bible on display
Hundreds of visitors converged at the fifth International Christian Book Fair in Chennai to see a two-kilometer- long Bible that was on display ... more  Add a comment

Forgotten Elvis library card expected to fetch over 2,500
It could have been one of his very first signatures - but it was made out years before Elvis Presley took to the stage as the King of Pop. Instead it was on the 13-year-old singer's library card, which is expected to fetch thousands when it goes up for auction next week ... more  Add a comment

'Cash mob' descends on bookshop
A Hackney bookshop on Thursday became the venue for London's first 'cash mob', a social phenomenon that uses Twitter and Facebook to provide a shot in the arm for small, independent retailers ... more  Add a comment

Agatha Christie memorial to be erected
Queen of crime fiction's contribution to the stage to be celebrated with statue in London's theatreland ... more  Add a comment

How science is unlocking the secrets of Dickens
Previously unseen passages from Charles Dickens's manuscripts are being revealed for the first time, thanks to digital technology which removes his crossings-out and corrections ... more  Add a comment

Mapping the price of atlases
Maps and atlases lie at the junction between rare books and fine art, and are natural collectors' items and potential tangible investments. But there are nuances in the market that take them beyond the normal considerations that might apply to books, stamps and other paper items ... more  Add a comment

E-reader generation gets a kick out of unusual volumes
"Oceans of people, not just a few little quirky people here and there," said Bob Topp, owner of The Hermitage Bookshop in Cherry Creek, a member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America for 30 years. "We are getting much higher rates of new people coming in the store, and much higher rates of younger people" ... more  Add a comment

37 century-old baseball cards sell for $566,000
An auction of 37 century-old baseball cards from a box of 700 discovered in an Ohio family's attic last February has fetched $566,132 following one of experts' claimed most excited finds in the history of sports card collecting ... more  Add a comment

Marilyn's memorabilia
As the 50th anniversary of the death of one of the most famous icons Hollywood has ever produced approaches (5th August), Vintage Seekers are offering collectors authentic vintage pieces related to the actress, from signed pictures to film posters and rare books ... more  Add a comment

Battered Shakespeare First Folio to be put on internet
Before they laid a finger on the battered, brown-leather book, the conservators at the Bodleian library in Oxford just sat and stared at it, working out how to do as little as possible ... more  Add a comment

Protecting priceless manuscripts from senseless destruction
In northern Mali, Islamist extremists are on a rampage, destroying Sufi Muslim shrines and historical treasures. In a Timbuktu library, a man has vowed to protect his precious manuscripts from the fundamentalist wrath that has taken over the city ... more  Add a comment

Guardians of Nanjing Library's old books
To Nanjing Library's veteran ancient book restorer, Yang Laijing, mending ancient books is like doing a jigsaw puzzle ... more  Add a comment

Rare and revealing movable book from 1846
It's as rare a book as you will find, if you can find a copy. There are no auction records. There are no copies found in institutional libraries worldwide. It is not found in any of the usual and unusual bibliographies of erotica, nor in any of the major and minor dealer or auction house catalogs devoted to erotica that I know of.  I've reached out to other scholars in the field. Though they are charmed by it nobody has ever seen this delightful piece ... more  Add a comment

Hunting for gold at the Games
Those lucky spectators who streamed into the Olympic Park for Friday's opening ceremony were wise to keep their ticket stubs and any other ephemera related to the occasion, if only for their great-grandchildren's sake ... more  Add a comment

Bookstore owners compile catalog for disaster victims
To encourage victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake, Hideharu Nakagawa, along with 22 secondhand bookstores, has compiled a catalog of 5,000 used books that will be available to replace publications lost in the disaster ... more  Add a comment

First of 56 books stolen in 2004 finally located
Eight years ago, a request to see an old map of the Mississippi River from a patron at the Royal Library of Sweden led to the unraveling of one of the greatest book and map thefts of recent memory. The map wasn't there. So weren't a lot of other books. It set off an internal investigation, with evidence pointing to an inside job. It would not be long before the head of the Royal Library's manuscript department, Anders Burius, confessed. He had taken 56 old and valuable books from the library between the time he was hired in 1995, and what was then the present, 2004. Evidence discovered at his home indicated he had been stealing books from other sources for ten years prior to his appointment to the Royal Library ... more  Add a comment