Oak Knoll Offers The Inventory Of Questor Rare Books
By Michael Stillman
Oak Knoll Books has issued its catalogue number 266, but in a way, this is someone else's catalogue. You see, Oak Knoll has purchased the inventory and reference books of its quirky English counterpart, Questor Rare Books. Oak Knoll reports that Questor's owner, John Walwyn-Jones, has decided to move to the auction world at Bonham's, and therefore has discontinued his bookselling business after 25-plus years. Catalogue 266 is the first of three catalogues which will be based on the inventory from Questor's.
Questor, like Oak Knoll, specialized in the field of "books about books." This covers anything from the commonly collected field of bibliography, to books about book history, collecting, printing, binding, and papermaking. It also includes more obscure topics like type specimens, watermarks, marbling, bookplates, and even forgeries. This latest Oak Knoll catalogue will be a trove of interesting material for those who collect within the field of the book arts, and particularly those with an interest in British and European texts within this area.
It is impossible to provide representative samples of what is in the typical Oak Knoll catalogue. A typical Oak Knoll item is in a very targeted niche, but there are many such niches when it comes to the book arts. Nevertheless, we will describe a few items in the hope it provides a little of the flavor of this catalogue. However, the examples will be small, as there are 882 items offered herein.
Here is an example of a niche bibliography from Mark Holstein. With a name like that, you're probably expecting a bovine bibliography, but no, this is entitled Some Famous Prison Books. It is one of only 149 copies privately printed on handmade paper in 1930. It is taken from a speech the author presented to the Quarto Club about famous literature which was written while its author was in prison. Today, you might expect prison literature to be written by some horrific criminal trying to reap financial rewards from his crime. However, if you go back to 1930 and earlier, the author-prisoner was more likely some voice for a cause, imprisoned for being a threat to the establishment rather than a threat to the people. Item 371. Priced at $45.