Timothy Taylor has a great piece in the December issue of The Walrus titled Unlimited Editions: a collector’s obsession of award winning books. Taylor profiles John Meier of Vancouver, B.C. whose collection of the Governors General Award winners trumps that of the Canadian government. A fascinating read, sprinkled with bibliomania, espionage and Howard Hughes .
Upon first seeing the collection Taylor says:
And then I saw them, looming in the grainy half-light. Custom-built glass-front bookcases from floor to ceiling along every available wall, every shelf full, the colours of a thousand spines seeming to rustle in the darkness. And in the same instant that I understood the lights were low to protect the volumes from fading, I understood further that these were not merely books, but collected books.
The article is a good reminder of how private collections are an essential part of preserving our literary and cultural heritage.
On the other end of the collecting bell curve we have Toby Walne’s piece in the Telegraph How to make a killing from first editions which caters more to the beginner book investor-collector. It emanates from the recent news of a first edition of the Emily Brontë novel Wuthering Heights which sold at auction in London for £114,000, more than twice the presale estimate. The piece appears in the money section of the paper which usually means that if they are doing pieces on books as investments other investments aren’t doing so well.
One place to head after reading the above piece and deciding that books are for you would be to David Brass Rare Books who justed posted their latest catalog which features a spectacular copy of the first edition, second state of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz and then this:
An inscription by John Lennon to Eric Clapton on the dedication page of Arthur Janov’s book The Primal Scream. Primal Therapy: The Cure for Neurosis
“By 1970, the Beatles had broken up. Lennon traveled to California for several months of Janov’s therapy, which inspired the Plastic Ono Band LP signaling Lennon’s definitive break from his past with the Beatles. Much of the material in that album was drawn directly from Lennon’s primal therapy sessions”