Friday, November 30, 2012

Old Antique Books

A few years ago, I was browsing in an Antique store with a friend of mine. Like you do when you're visiting a new place and exploring the township to see whats on offer. The only thing I liked wasn't for sale. It was a set of books that looked old. I thought they would make a nice companion to my vintage cameras on my bookshelf.  I asked, but the guy said, no they're not for sale. Just before I left, I asked again, said they were the only thing I liked out of the whole shop. He rang the owner, who came back with a price which wasn't out of my reach.  

So I made a decision and bought them right there and then. They were packed away in a box and I asked my friend to store them until I moved to Blenheim once my house was finished.  

Not long after I got here, I put the bookshelf together and painted it up. Added my cameras then contacted my friend who brought the box of books up to me. I unpacked them and just as I thought, they looked great on my shelf with the vintage cameras. I had no information about the books at all.  I did look for a 'date of printing' but couldn't find one so just simply admired them.

A few months later a fellow photography friend came round. She pointed out that they were old. "Naaaah"  I said and told her there was no date. She opened it one of the books up and pointed out the roman numeral at the first page and told me that was the date.  Told me to google it.  (Shows you what I know about old books!)

So I did. Seems the books are OLD. Very OLD. 1771 to be exact. That is 242 years old. I did some googling and found that Edinburgh was in fact London, so they were printed in 1771, in London, for an A. Donaldson. I wonder why the 'According to the Act of Parliament' is printed there. I haven't been able to find that one out yet...



The following image shows you what condition they are in. They're not in BAD BAD condition, but they're not pristine either. Someone at sometime put sellotape over the spine of the books, yet there's no sellotape inside.



I don't have the complete set. The complete set would have been 12 books. I have 11. That's okay - Remember I wasn't buying the books for worth - I was looking for something to go with my vintage cameras!! Their possible worth only came later. More to the point, I'm intrigued with the history of them.  242 years old - that's probably a lot of people who have handled them!


I've taken a photo of the text. Notice that where an 's' should be, the 'f' shows instead. Apparently this is the way s was written back then. The only time an 's' was used was at the beginning or end of the word. It looks very strange to us though.


Here is the book looking at the pages. Still in good condition, nothing ripped or bent or broken. Which is pretty amazing for 242 years old. I doubt I'll look in that condition after all those years!!


And the books lined up in a row on my bookshelf...  Told you they looked good!! However, I'm very interested to learn more, so if anyone can point me in the right direction, please do. I'm keen to know anything about them whatsoever. I may even be tempted to part with them if someone gives me a good reason to do that!



The one thing I do notice is they have a lovely feel to them. Smooth, delicate and that old smell which of times past which I love so much.

8 comments:

PBScott said...

I enjoyed the post, and wonder if there might be some value to those books.

They look pretty good for their age, the paper looks practically like new, maybe it is hemp?

You may want to take them for an appraisal at a book collectors. I remember some movie about a guy that used to appraise books for just pennies on the dollar and then buy them for huge profits on the resale, so it might be best to sell with great caution.

PBScott said...

I enjoyed the post, and wonder if there might be some value to those books.

They look pretty good for their age, the paper looks practically like new, maybe it is hemp?

You may want to take them for an appraisal at a book collectors. I remember some movie about a guy that used to appraise books for just pennies on the dollar and then buy them for huge profits on the resale, so it might be best to sell with great caution.

Robyn said...

Thank you. Glad you enjoyed the post. I'm of the same mind as you, but on top of that - who do I trust?

Robyn said...

Thank you. Glad you enjoyed the post. I'm of the same mind as you, but on top of that - who do I trust?

Morgan said...

I know what it is like owning old stuff like this and wondering who has previously handled it. My violin is roughly the same age having been made some time in the late 1700s.

Gosh, how amazing they only used "s" at the end of the "world". And look, here we still are today!

Robyn said...

LOL morgan, you crack me up. I fixed it after puzzling what you could have meant! Didn't realise I had typed World instead of word. I must have had the Mayan calendar on my mind at the time :)

PBScott said...

Hi Robyn,

When looking to find someone to trust, first make sure they are an expert, and second of all make sure they are in no position to make money from you, you can never trust anyone with money unfortunately.

You may be able to find out more about the book at the local library, I remember they used to keep large documents on the value of old coins, I can imaging books would be the same way.

Peters154 said...

My wife and I love old books like this. We sometimes go to a bookstore in Boston that sells them very inexpensively. I think they get them from estates. They get so many that they have a time limit as to how long they keep them, if they don't sell, they throw them out! When my wife pointed that out to me it was as if we had to go and save those old books from the dumpster. So every time we go there we end up with a big box of old books!