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.

March 2013

John Lennon letter to Paul McCartney could reach 40,000
A draft letter by John Lennon showing animosity towards Paul McCartney is set to reach £40,000 in an online auction ... more  Add a comment

Shakespeare scholars unite to see off 'Bard deniers'
A group of 22 of the world's leading Shakespeare scholars have come together to produce a book that details what they consider to be definitive evidence that the Bard really did write his own plays ... more  Add a comment

Richard III signed letter valued at 82,500
The document dates back to the 1470s when Richard was still Duke of Gloucester and shows the future king intervening in a land dispute between the 2nd Earl of Westmorland and his tenants. It will be auctioned by Los Angeles firm Nate D. Sanders on Tuesday and is expected to sell for between $75,000 and $125,000 (£49,500 and £82,500) ... more  Add a comment

Largest ever William Faulkner archive to appear at auction
Sotheby's will offer the largest and most important group of William Faulkner material ever to appear at auction on 11 June 2013. Estimated to fetch over $2 million, Property from the Descendants of William Faulkner contains a highly personal selection of letters, manuscript drafts, and drawings, providing a remarkable window into key moments of the celebrated author's life, including his time in Paris in the 1920s as well as receipt of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1950 ... more  Add a comment

DH Lawrence's poetry saved from censor's pen
DH Lawrence was an infamous victim of the censor as his sexually explicit novel Lady Chatterley's Lover was banned in Britain until 1960. Now a new edition of Lawrence's poems, many rendered unreadable by the censor's pen, will reveal him as a brilliant war poet whose work attacking British imperialism during the first world war was barred from publication ... more  Add a comment

Former library boss confesses to multiple book thefts
Investigators now following up on alleged robberies at national libraries in Florence and Rome ... more  Add a comment

F. Scott Fitzgerald autograph material up for sale
A cache of never before seen original and revealing F. Scott Fitzgerald autograph material has surfaced and is being introduced into the marketplace by Nate D. Sanders Auctions today, March 26, 2013 through Tuesday, April 2, 2013 via online auction. It is estimated to sell for $75,000-$100,000 ... more  Add a comment

A brief history of book vending machines
The first book-dispensing vending machine was built by Richard Carlile in England in 1822. Carlile was a bookseller who wanted to sell seditious works like Paine's Age of Reason without being thrown in jail ... more  Add a comment

Auction of air and space artifacts
The auction includes two black and white photographs showing Glenn Curtiss flying his Curtiss No. 2 and Louis Bleriot in hot pursuit in his Bleriot XII during the first Gordon Bennett Trophy race in Reims, France, in August 1909. Estimate: $1,500-2,500 ... more  Add a comment

Rare beatles photos sell for 30,000
The photos were taken of the band in concert at Shea Stadium in 1965 by Marc Weinstein, an amateur photographer who bluffed his way backstage using a press pass which he had made himself ... more  Add a comment

Museum of neglect imperils rare manuscripts
India's heritage is under threat. Priceless treasures are at risk of irreparable damage at Delhi's premier National Museum because of poor upkeep and official apathy ... more  Add a comment

Bookish humour
My secret addiction ... more  Add a comment

My space: John Hart, rare books dealer
Books dealer John Hart opens the door to his study, a converted brick and flint barn in North Norfolk ... more  Add a comment

Roger the Taurus and other tales from the bookshop
I spent the first 10 years of my working life in bookstores in England and Canada. While the pay was lousy (on both sides of the pond), I don't think I ever had as much fun in any job as I did in those shops ... more  Add a comment

Lindisfarne Gospels: Why is this book so special?
For the first time in 12 years, an extraordinary book is heading back to its home in north-east England. The Lindisfarne Gospels, a 1,300-year old manuscript, will be the centrepiece of a much awaited exhibition in Durham starting in July. But why is this book so special? ... more  Add a comment

Collectors gather to trade rare finds
Going to an antiquarian book fair with a university's special collections librarian is similar to walking around Central Park with a leaky bag of bread crumbs. Or if you prefer a local metaphor, like a chum brick floating in Government Cut, with sharks coming for miles bumping their noses against the boat to test the edibility of the situation. Watching the dealers shout down a respected and well-known book buyer is a sight to be seen ... more  Add a comment

Rare glimpse of Lichfield Cathedral's historic library
Visitors to Lichfield Cathedral will be able to get a behind the scenes look at the historic building with a tour of the main library. A number of bound treasures are housed on the site, including Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (c1420) and Henry VIII's Great Bible (first edition - 1539) ... more  Add a comment

An illiterate bookseller thrives
Here name is Mary and she has been selling books for over 30 years. She is known as the bookseller who cannot read! ... more  Add a comment

Cartographies of Life and Death
One of Britain's great scientific pioneers is being celebrated in an exhibition featuring street lectures, artworks mapping the scents of London and a pop-up water bar ... more  Add a comment

Is this the world's smallest book?
Japanese book of flowers called Shiki no Kusabana, with pages only 0.75 millimetres, is hoping for title of the world's smallest printed book ... more  Add a comment

Rare first editions saved from Nazi book burnings returned
George Newman (formerly Hans Neumann) was 14 when he fled Vienna, fearing Nazi persecution, for England in 1938. Now, 75 years later, he has returned to Austria for a ceremony at the National Library, where he has donated hundreds of books and documents back to the Austrian nation which would otherwise have been burned by the Nazi regime ... more  Add a comment

Centuries Ago, a Cat Walked Across This Medieval Manuscript
While pawing through a stack of medieval manuscripts from Dubrovnik, Croatia, University of Sarajevo doctoral student Emir O. Filipovic stumbled upon a familiar set of splotches marring the centuries-old pages. Years ago, a mischievous kitty had left her ink-covered prints on the book ... more  Add a comment

An oddly modern antiquarian bookshop
A tiny shop in Toronto, specializing in the arcane and the absurd, may just be publishing's great new hope ... more  Add a comment

Things you don't want to hear #378
Customer this morning: "Do you have this book (bound C19th building journal) on the web so I can read it online?"  Add a comment

First edition, signed 'Gatsby' was stolen
A book dealer is asking $750,000 for a signed first edition of "The Great Gatsby," which was stolen from a man's home, and whose character Tom Buchanan was "loosely modelled" on the man's father, the son claims in court. ... more  Add a comment

Library book returned 50 years late
Despite potentially facing more than £2700 in late fees, a local arts writer has managed to get off scot-free - thanks to an amnesty that saw more than 4000 overdue books returned ... more  Add a comment

Rare scientific books on display in York
A treasure trove of books containing centuries of British scientific history has gone on public display at a York library. Some of Britain's pioneer scientists gave their personal editions of their acclaimed work to the Yorkshire Philosophical Society's collection ... more  Add a comment

Luxe for books
Any booklover knows the pleasure of handling a cherished volume, whether it's a first edition from a favorite novelist or the Shakespeare sonnets your spouse used to woo you. But some bibliophiles are going a step further, commissioning craftsmen to create bespoke bindings for their beloved books ... more  Add a comment

Bronte manuscript may sell for 45,000
The manuscript for I've Been Wandering In The Greenwoods, written when she was just 13, is to be sold on April 10 at Bonhams, New Bond Street, London. It is estimated at £40,000 to £45,000 ... more  Add a comment