Rare Book Monthly

Articles - December - 2012 Issue

ALDE: A Book Auction Sale at Rossini’s in Paris



I left the auction before it reached the books of the 19th century. According to Mr. Delcamp, I am not the only one not to be that interested in this period. He was nevertheless quite satisfied with the sale on a whole although some items did not show up, including an interesting – but quite complicated – copy of Thucydide’s Histoire de la guerre qui fut entre les Péloponnesiens et les Atheniens... (Paris, 1527). A lot of ordinary books were sold at some reasonable prices, including a copy of the works of Boileau, in 2 in-4° volumes, bound in full contemporary morocco - 400 euros only. “It was a Dutch binding,” says Mr. Delcamp, “They're are less sought-after.” Dutch bindings, less sophisticated, tend to be disregarded by bibliophilists. Binding has always been a crucial point in old books. Some people, I’m told, even buy books for their covers only (but how could they judge a book by its cover ?). It is even more true nowadays, as a certain anxiety, due to the crisis but also to the uncertainties about the future of old books, hangs over the mighty but threatened kingdom of bibliophilism.

Thibault Ehrengardt


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