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.

June 2016

Literature of the English Country House
The University of Sheffield are offering a free online course investigating and discussing the role and representation of the English country house in literature, and learn how to build your own authoritative interpretation of these texts ... more  Add a comment

Audrey Hepburn letters sell at auction for £11,000
A collection of letters written by Audrey Hepburn has sold for £11,250 - more than twice its estimate. They reveal details of a dramatic decade of the actress's life as she rose from an unknown ballerina to Hollywood fame ... more  Add a comment

Miniature bookbindings showcase Shakespeare on a different scale
Miniature editions of works by William Shakespeare or influenced by the literary giant are on view in the Yale Center for British Art's newest exhibition ... more  Add a comment

Michael Robbins: In defense of book collecting
As of this writing there are 1,790 books in my apartment, some couple hundred in my campus office, and an unknown number floating about on loan to various friends and students. This represents a decrease of probably 20 percent from the height of my mania. Over the past few years, I have embarked on culling operations, boxing up hundreds of books and carting them to used bookstores. Spilling off shelves, piled in tottering stacks on every flat surface and a few angular ones, the books are snowing me under ... more  Add a comment

Blyton illustrators
Enid Blyton book illustrations through the ages - in pictures ... more  Add a comment

Keep calm and carry on ... bidding for rare poster
Today the wartime slogan "Keep Calm and Carry On" adorns mugs, cushions and tea towels. It is a familiar phrase, spawning hundreds of parodies, yet authentic copies of the original government poster are very rare indeed. Even the Imperial War Museum does not own an example ... more  Add a comment

Why is Japan secretly selling a Bach manuscript?
The sale is said to 'benefit a renowned musical institution'. That institution is Tokyo's Ueno Gakuen conservatory, which appears to have fallen on hard times ... more  Add a comment

Bright Young Collectors: James Freemantle
James is a contributor to The Private Library, the journal of the Private Libraries Association, as well as Parenthesis and Matrix (Whittington Press), as well as being a member of the Oxford Guild of Printers and Double Crown Club, and proprietor of the recently established St James Park Press. He is a collector of Private Press books ... more  Add a comment

From bedroom wall to auction hall
The illustration, the original artwork for the cover of the December 1968 issue of The Mighty Thor, was designed by Jack Kirby, the creator known as the "King" of comics for helping to invent characters from Captain America to the Fantastic Four, as well as Thor. It shows the Norse god and son of Odin in his winged helmet battling a giant, and will go up for auction on 24 June for an estimated price of £5,000 to £8,000 ... more  Add a comment

Londonderry 'Domesday book' set for prestigious Unesco honour
The Great Parchment Book of The Honourable The Irish Society has been likened to the Domesday Book, a great land survey of England from 1086 ... more  Add a comment

'Outstanding' Old English poetry book granted Unesco status
A poetry book written in Old English has been granted Unesco status for its "outstanding significance" to British history. The Exeter Book, kept at Exeter Cathedral's library, is an anthology of poetry and riddles written in 970 AD ... more  Add a comment

It's a bargain!
The NZ national museum has paid $230,000 to a Sydney book dealer for Les Sauvages de la Mer Pacifique, a rare panoramic wallpaper known as the Dufour wallpaper, depicting Captain James Cook's Pacific voyages ... more  Add a comment

Amateur antique dealer jailed
An amateur antique dealer has been jailed after he was caught with 57 stolen antique books, including one of just six editions of the King James Bible from 1660 ... more  Add a comment

Wordsworth's 'irreplaceable' prayer book stolen from Cumbria church
The book, which dates from 1835, was on display in a glass cabinet at St Oswald's Church in Grasmere, and was taken between 17:30 BST on Tuesday and 10:30 on Wednesday ... more  Add a comment

Charlotte Bronte's dress gaffe ruled out
He was a mere mortal who ate too many potatoes, and she was a plain little woman with no social graces, but 165 years after a mutually disappointing encounter between William Makepeace Thackeray and Charlotte Bronte, she has at least been cleared of the mortifying gaffe of wearing a completely unsuitable dress to a grand London dinner party ... more  Add a comment

X-rated medieval doodles reveal our ancestors had a sense of humor
Rabbits: cute, fluffy creatures; big ears, big teeth. Harmless? Wrong. In the medieval period they were fierce, sword-wielding Leporids, happy to take on the rest of the animal kingdom -- including humans. ... more  Add a comment

Yves Saint Laurent co-founder to sell off remainder of rare books
Fashion mogul Pierre Bergé has announced that he will put the second part of his famous library - one of the most valuable in private hands - up for auction in November ... more  Add a comment

Unseen Audrey Hepburn letters up for auction
The 10 letters were penned between 1951 and 1960 to her mentor and lifelong friend Sir Felix Aylmer. They reveal details of a dramatic decade of the screen siren's life as she rose from an unknown ballerina to Hollywood fame ... more  Add a comment

Darwin manuscript page sells for $250,000
A handwritten manuscript page from one of the most famous books on evolution was sold in New York on Tuesday for $250,000. Page 270 from Charles Darwin's manuscript of On the Origin of Species from 1858 hit the auction block at Sotheby's ... more  Add a comment

1,000 year old Silk Road manuscripts found in Afghanistan
Nearly 100 mysterious manuscripts thought to be 1,000 years old and written by a Jewish family that lived along the ancient Silk Road have been discovered in an Afghan cave. Scholars and historians are excited about this new cache of documents, which was purchased by Israeli antiquities dealer Lenny Wolfe six months ago ... more  Add a comment

Schoolboy's 16th-century scribbles offer rare insight
The scribbles of a 16th-century Welsh schoolboy have given researchers an intriguing insight into the history of a medieval book in the collection of the National Library of Australia ... more  Add a comment

'Badass Librarians' Foil al Qaeda, Save Ancient Manuscripts
Speaking from his home in Berlin, Joshua Hammer, a former Newsweek bureau chief in Africa, recounts the tale of The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu: And Their Race to Save the World's Most Precious Manuscripts - and explains how the Timbuktu manuscripts disprove the myth that Africa had no literary or historical culture, why Henry Louis Gates had an epiphany when he saw them, and why the jihadists found them so threatening ... more  Add a comment

Muhammad Ali autograph set to go under the hammer
The Champ's autograph dates to his prime boxing years in 1976 when he signed a Savoy Hotel notepaper for Clare Stein, from Summertown who was employed as the personal assistant to the banqueting manager at the London hotel ... more  Add a comment

Salvaged historical ship books up for auction
Two handwritten books containing the details of ships built by Swan Hunter between the 1960s and 1980s salvaged from a skip when the receivers were called into the yard are to be sold at auction ... more  Add a comment

John Gaustad, bookseller - obituary
John Gaustad, who has died aged 68, founded the Sportspages book shop in Caxton Walk, off the Charing Cross Road, the first shop in Britain devoted solely to sports books, and co-founded the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award, helping to transform the quality of sports writing and publishing ... more  Add a comment

What if you had no family photographs?
Her childhood photographic record was lost, so Suzanne Joinson filled the void by collecting strangers' albums from junk shops ... more  Add a comment

X-rays reveal 1,300-year-old writings inside later bookbindings
The words of the 8th-century Saint Bede are among those that have been found by detecting iron, copper and zinc - constituents of medieval ink ... more  Add a comment

Wearable books
In medieval times, they took old manuscripts and turned them into clothes ... more  Add a comment

The men addicted to collecting football stickers
I've been speaking to a number of grown men, most in their thirties, who are addicted to collecting football stickers. In remarkably candid interviews, they told me about how deep their habits go, why they feel the compulsion to collect and what they've done to feed the addiction ... more  Add a comment

Shapero Rare Books offers first edition of first 'Footeball' book
On the eve of the Euro 2016 tournament, Shapero Rare Books offers a first edition of the work that gave the sport its name - 'Footeball' - in 1581 ... more  Add a comment

From the Monastery to the auction salesroom
Collecting fields don't get much more rarefied than illuminated manuscripts. Once prized by the likes of the Rothschilds and America's robber barons, these exquisite products of medieval monastic life now sell for fractions of the telephone-number prices paid for contemporary art stars like Twombly and Basquiat ... more  Add a comment

All is ephemera
Now that so much campaign literature and political debate is produced and takes place online, libraries face different challenges in capturing and archiving it. Daniel Payne explains how the LSE Library is collecting ephemera relating to the June 23 referendum ... more  Add a comment

Three antiquarian map dealers join forces for special auction
Jonathan Potter of Jonathan Potter Ltd., Steve Luck of Tooley Adams & Co., and Luke Vavra formerly of Cartographic Arts have partnered with Old World Auctions to present a special auction June 15-22, 2016.  The sale will include over 450 antique maps and books from all geographies around the world culled from the stock of these dealers ... more  Add a comment

Books by the bicycle-load
Yvonne and Jared Epp have turned their bicycle into a tiny business on wheels, selling and trading a small selection of used books to customers on the street

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