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.

October 2012

Finest single-owner collection of original book illustrations
The finest single-owner collection of original book illustrations ever to appear at auction will be fielded at Sotheby's London on December 12, 2012. The unprecedented collection of over 100 ink and watercolour drawings, featuring illustrations by the finest artists and from the most loved books, comes from the private collection of the renowned film director Michael Winner. Alongside E.H. Shepard's first depiction of Winnie-the-Pooh with Christopher Robin (from Winnie-the-Pooh), the sale will include illustrations by Edmund Dulac, Kay Nielsen, Beatrix Potter, Arthur Rackham, William Heath Robinson and John Tenniel. In total, the sale will comprise over 150 lots of illustrations and books, and is estimated to realise in excess of £1 million ... more  Add a comment

Daniel Day-Lewis donates his father's archive
Archive papers belonging to former Poet Laureate Cecil Day-Lewis have been donated to Oxford's Bodleian Library by his children, film star son Daniel Day-Lewis and daughter Tamasin Day-Lewis ... more  Add a comment

See the past through photographic books
Until 25 years ago or so, photographs weren't seen as a distinct collectible. Today, dealers specialize in photography collectibles, many of which are of interest to book collectors as well ... more  Add a comment

eBay faked signatures seller guilty
An antiques dealer accused of selling books signed with fake signatures of famous figures on eBay has been found guilty of some of the charges he faced. Allan Formhals, 66, of Milford on Sea in Hampshire, was found guilty of eight counts of fraud and two of possessing articles for the use in fraud ... more  Add a comment

Big demand for rare books
Whyte's mamnoth auction of the stock of the late antiquarian book dealer James Fenning last weekend raised €230,000 ... more  Add a comment

Robert S. McNamara's archive sells for $1 million
The personal archive of former Secretary of Defence Robert S. McNamara, who served under President John F. Kennedy during the Cuban missile crisis 50 years ago, sold for over $1 million (£626,000) at auction, far exceeding a pre-sale estimate, Sotheby's said on Tuesday ... more  Add a comment

Byron treasure found in gift to used bookshop
A donation to the second-hand bookshop at Harewood House, in Yorkshire, has provided a unique insight into the Leigh family history and Augusta's place in one of the biggest scandals to rock Georgian society ... more  Add a comment

British Museum to buy 50ft Japanese handscroll
The British Museum has pipped buyers at the Haughton Fine Art & Antique Dealers Show in New York to the purchase of a rare, 50ft Japanese handscroll, writes Colin Gleadell ... more  Add a comment

Servite Priory in lottery bid to save rare book
A religious library in County Tyrone could be in line for nearly £773,000 in lottery funding to help restore a huge collection of rare and valuable books ... more  Add a comment

'Organised gang' desecrate Bronte family church
Up to 30 metres of stone worth £500, including three grave stones, was stolen from the cemetery and Grade Two-listed Bronte Bell Chapel in the village of Thornton, near Bradford, West Yorkshire last week ... more  Add a comment

National Geographic to auction famous photos
National Geographic Society has chronicled scientific expeditions, explorations, archaeology, wildlife and world cultures for more than 100 years, amassing a collection of 11.5 million photos and original illustrations. A small selection of that massive archive -- 240 pieces spanning from the late 1800s to the present -- will be sold at Christie's in December at an auction expected to bring about $3 million, the first time any of the institution's collection has been sold ... more  Add a comment

Turkish book on Darwin sparks outrage
A series of books for primary schoolchildren, describing Charles Darwin as a Jew with a big nose who kept the company of monkeys and other historical figures in anti-Semitic terms, has caused outrage in Turkey amid fears of rising religious intolerance ... more  Add a comment

Two Doves Press books to drool over
Two Doves Press books bound at the Doves Bindery recently passed through my hands. In a swoon, I almost passed out ... more  Add a comment

Young Henry VIII revealed at National Library of Wales
A long lost "royal treasure" with one of the earliest paintings of Henry VIII has been discovered at the National Library of Wales. The manuscript was donated to the Aberystwyth library in 1921, but officials say they have only just realised its true significance ... more  Add a comment

Beethoven score fetches 250,000 at Paris auction
An unpublished manuscript by Ludwig van Beethoven sold for €252,750 at an auction in Paris on Wednesday while a string quartet score by Austrian composer Arnold Schoenberg fetched €240,750 ... more  Add a comment

On the Map by Simon Garfield
Rachel Hewitt on a rollicking journey through the history of cartograph ... more  Add a comment

Confessions of a bibliomaniac
Books, and their acquisition, have obsessed readers across the ages. Can this paper-borne addiction last into the digital age? ... more  Add a comment

International book theft gets a new chapter
Any American book collector who recently bought an Italian book from the 15th to the 17th centuries should take another look at the purchase. If it bears a red library stamp with a Madonna in the center, the collector may get a visit from U.S. Customs agents assigned to recover stolen artworks ... more  Add a comment

Keep Calm and Carry On
Barter Books is one of the largest second hand and antiquarian bookshops in Britian. It is home to, among other things, a very special poster. This is a short film about the history of the "Keep Calm and Carry On" poster.  Add a comment

The New Wonderful Museum and Extraordinary Magazine
A 200-year-old book illustrating 'freaks, swindlers, murderers and eccentrics' of the 19th century, such as an Irish Giant and a Hairy Girl, has been discovered. The book is a complete listing of all the 'wonders, curiosities and rarities of nature' known to man in 1808 in this Georgian-type freak show display ... more  Add a comment

Moomins' first adventure reaches UK
Written in 1945, The Moomins and the Great Flood is to be published in Britain this November ... more  Add a comment

Verdict in the trial of Kafka's legacy
A legal wrangle for ownership of the Czech master's unseen works has finally ended ... more  Add a comment

The gospel of Jesus's wife: a very modern fake
A typo shows the Jesus's wife text can only be as old as the online document from which it seems to have been copied ... more  Add a comment

Dame Margaret Drabble archive goes to Cambridge
Dame Margaret Drabble has deposited 90 boxes of papers, including original drafts of her novels and letters to fellow writers including Ted Hughes and Harold Pinter, at the Cambridge University Library ... more  Add a comment

Sweeping landscapes and sepia stares
It is widely considered the most lavish and elegantly produced series of photography books ever made - and now Edward S. Curtis' masterpiece, the North American Indian, has become one of the highest selling works at auction ... more  Add a comment

Science illuminating art
Technology used in science labs is unlocking the secrets at the heart of illuminated manuscripts, through a project spearheaded by Cambridge University ... more  Add a comment

Italian library director accused
Italian prosecutors are investigating the director of a historic library on suspicion of stealing more than 4,000 rare antiquarian books worth millions of pounds from the collection that he was in charge of ... more  Add a comment

eBay antique dealer 'faked famous signatures'
An antiques dealer has gone on trial accused of selling books on eBay signed with fake autographs of public figures including Winston Churchill, Robert Louis Stevenson and Pablo Picasso ... more  Add a comment

Humans 'replace' books at library in Barnsley
People who have faced discrimination or prejudice in Barnsley because of their disability, race or sexual orientation have become "living, breathing books" ... more  Add a comment

6 recipes found in old books
As a buyer, seller, sorter, and cleaner of used books, I've had the chance to think a lot about old things. Not just the books, but the trail of history they leave behind; odd bits of forgotten paper, unsent letters, lost photographs, even old recipes tucked away in a cookbook for safe keeping. I come across all these things on a day-to-day basis, and it's become a second job collecting and cataloging these items on my two blogs, Forgotten Bookmarks and Handwritten Recipes ... more  Add a comment

The Lyminge Map stolen?
The following map is missing from the parish of St Mary and St Ethelburga in Lyminge, Kent. "A mapp and description of a farme with 12 parcells of land thereunto belonging in the parish of Liminge in the county of Kent belonging to Capt. Timothy BEDINGFEILD gent and by his order measured and herein described being now in the tenure or occupation of Tho: HOGBEN. Each peece is distinguished by colours with all the wast thereunto belonging is found to conteine the same therein mentioned in acres, roods and perches and all being added together (including 70 perches for wast of high wayes) the summ is 33 acres 1 rood 1 perches. Also shewing the persons names whose lands bound therunto measured and mapt by Tho: HILL sworne survey 1685." Please contact Duncan Harrington 01303 862368 ... more  Add a comment

Rare brcke woodcuts picked up at flea market
Sit back and relax, it’s time for another tale of flea market discovery! This one takes place in Germany, where an Odenwald native picked up a thin brochure inscribed with the name "Brücke" for €5 at a flea market earlier this year. Next month, that book is expected to sell for at least €18,000 ($23,400) when it hits the block at German auction house Ketterer Kunst. ... more  Add a comment

Tales from a rare bookstore
The book immediately caught my eye. It was small, about the size of a deck of cards, but twice the thickness, and there was no question it was very old. It sat in a pile of other aged publications that had just arrived at MacLeod's Books in downtown Vancouver. It looked fragile as I picked it up and opened to the title page. "Wow!", I said (via Shaun Kenaelly)photographer Andy Clark visits  MacLeods Books in Vancouver ... more  Add a comment

Einstein's 'God Letter' expected to make 2m at auction
A letter handwritten by physicist Albert Einstein a year before his death, expressing his views on religion, will be sold on eBay this month with an opening bid of $3 million (£1.9m), an auction agency said ... more  Add a comment

Destruction of Manchester library books halted
A campaign by the poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy and a number of other literary names to stop the destruction of hundreds of thousands of books at the UK's largest municipal library appeared to have succeeded ... more  Add a comment

Kansas sues over "In Cold Blood" files
The state of Kansas is suing the family of a deceased Kansas Bureau of Investigation agent who worked on the 1959 murder case that became the subject of Truman Capote's novel "In Cold Blood," arguing that his relatives don't own the case files ... more  Add a comment

Wigtown Book Festival 2012
Wandering the streets of the tiny Scottish town of Wigtown, the air is never just filled with Scottish accents. You'll also hear, among others, Lancastrian, Northumbrian and Cumbrian. Despite being on the edge of a south-western Scottish peninsula, this town, with the closest train station miles away, still manages to attract people from all over the UK ... more  Add a comment

RIP Richard Sawyer
Richard Sawyer, who traded as Chas J. Sawyer, passed away in hospital last Friday night. He will be remembered by many readers as the last editor of the much missed Bookdealer magazine, which finally ceased publication in 2010.  Add a comment

Women's Library: rescued or abducted?
LSE may think it has stepped in to rescue the Women's Library (Report, 29 September), but more than 12,000 people who have signed the petition consider it to be more of an abduction ... more  Add a comment

Premiere of film on 'Jesus's wife' manuscript delayed
The premiere of a Smithsonian Channel documentary on a papyrus fragment purporting to show Jesus referring to his wife has been axed amid doubts over its authenticity ... more  Add a comment

Database planned for Robert Burns manuscripts
An 18-month project is being launched to produce the first ever extensive database of Robert Burns manuscripts. The repository will be produced by Glasgow University in collaboration with the National Burns Collection ... more  Add a comment

Historic books under hammer
Cash-strapped Wigan Council was accused of jeopardising national treasures today as five precious tomes from its library collection went under the hammer. Katie Flanagan, chairman of the Historic Libraries Forum, said: "These are incunabula (books printed before 1500), other early printed books, some of which are the only known copy in the UK" ... more  Add a comment