Rare Book Monthly

Articles - July - 2014 Issue

Book Repair for Booksellers

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Book Repair For Booksellers.

Veteran Massachusetts bookseller Joyce Godsey has written a short and useful guide to basic book repairs. Her advice is:If the book is worth more than $250, send it to a professional or sell it AS IS.”

 

But, she observes, most dealers encounter many books of lesser value, not worthy of professional conservation and restoration. In that situation skillfully correcting minor imperfections can often make them salable and significantly raise their value.

 

To that end she offers “Book Repair for Booksellers - A handy guide for booksellers and book collectors offering practical advice on how to improve the quality and look of your books and ephemera.” This is useful, well organized information presented in a clear and simple format.

 

The title published under her own SicPress.com imprint first appeared in 2009. Since then it has steadily gained an underground following. Even if you’ve been in the trade for a long time and already know how to do most of these standard fixes, at $1.99 for an 86 page pdf you can’t go wrong. The volume is also available as a trade paperback for $16.

 

“In my life as a bookseller,” Godsey writes in her preface, “I have seen books repaired with book tape, duct tape, electrical tape, and masking tape. I have seen rubber cement, white glue, airplane glue, superglue, and hot glue. I have seen them priced with stickers, ink, crayon, marker, and lipstick.

 

“And I have been asked to remove every bit of it. Some of these mutilations were done by people I know and respect in the field. I have even done a few myself (I did library-type repairs on books in high school and have been paying penance ever since).

 

“I know a bookbinder who sells bottles of furniture polish and neatsfoot oil and calls it ‘book crème.’ I know another who buys saddle polish and re-labels it as a ‘leather book treatment.’ And I know a bookstore that uses electrical tape to re-back reading copies.”

 

As she is quick to point out, “There are better and less dangerous methods of repair.”

 

It’s amazing just how much of that basic information she provides including tools and supplies, dealing with dirt, wrinkles, bubbles, stickers, library marks, book plates, tears, missing and damaged endpapers, loose and broken hinges, bumped corners, attaching pages, cocked spines, warping, mold, de-acidification, the list goes on and on.

What’s good about her advice is she gives multiple ways to approach each situation and she knows when to stop. As in STOP.

 

• If you don’t know the book’s true value, STOP.

 

• If you think you may harm it, STOP.

 

• If you aren’t sure what it’s going to look like later, STOP.

 

• If you can’t afford to throw it away after you have ruined it, STOP.

 

“When in doubt: DO NOTHING,” is her all purpose basic guidance. “Give it a once over for 10 minutes then sell it AS IS. Doing nothing is the safest course of action.” But she adds, “Doing repairs that keep small injuries from becoming big ones is even better.”

 

Here, for example, is a portion of her advice on replacing endpapers:

 

“The endpaper is the final piece the binder applies to cover up all the unattractive parts of the fine work he or she has just done. It also tightens the bond between the text block and the binding and prevents the boards from warping.

 

“Replacing an endpaper or even all the endpapers is not a crime. Endpapers have always been replaceable.

 

“Saving endpapers from damaged and discarded books is a helpful trick of many booksellers. Blank and nearly blank pages from textbooks and other reference books can be used. Even if a page has two or three lines on it, the page can be cut down to fit a smaller book (you can experiment with bleaching the ink off a page, but you will never be happy with the result. By the time you remove the ink you will also be removing any patina and foxing the paper has in it and it will never really match.)

 

“Keep loose endpapers in a file drawer sorted into folders by height; you can put colored, patterned and clay pages in other folders by hue. Use a light source such as a window to match the paper’s age, watermarks and fiber content to a page from the book itself.”

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Christie’s Paris, 20 Feb:</b> BELON. <i>L’Histoire de la nature des oyseaux.</i> Paris : Corrozet, 1555. $17,000 to $23,000
    <b>Christie’s Paris, 20 Feb:</b> MIOMANDRE – BARBIER. <i>Dessins sur les danses de Vaslav Nijinsky.</i> Paris. 1913. $23,000 to $34,000
    <b>Christie’s Paris, 20 Feb:</b> HOKUSAI. <i>Fugaku Hyakkei, Edo : Nishimura Yûzô.</i> 1834-1875. $58,000 to $80,000
    <b>Christie’s Paris, 20 Feb:</b> EDWARDS. <i> <br>A Natural History of Uncommon Birds…</i> London : Printed for the Author. 1743-1764. $35,000 to $46,000
    <b>Christie’s Paris, 20 Feb:</b> VESALIUS. <i><br> De Humane Corporis Fabrica libri septem...</i> Basle : J. Oporinus. 1555. $58,000 to $80,000
  • <b>Morton Subastas on Bidsquare:</b><br>Die Französische Expedition gegen Mexico /Beilagen zum Beiheft des Militair - Wochenblattes
    <b>Morton Subastas on Bidsquare:</b><br>The Architecture Of M. Vitruvius Pollio. London, 1791.
    <b>Morton Subastas on Bidsquare:</b> Estatuto Provisional del Imperio Mexicano. México: Imprenta de Andrade y Escalante, 1865.
    <b>Morton Subastas on Bidsquare:</b> Historia de Méjico... México, 1849 - 1852.
    <b>Morton Subastas on Bidsquare:</b> Juárez, Benito - Ogazón, Pedro. Legajos de Bandos del Estado de Guadalajara, 1860-1863.
    <b>Morton Subastas on Bidsquare:</b> Sigüenza y Góngora, Carlos. Mapa de las Aguas que por el Círculo de 90 Leguas Vienen a la Laguna de Tescuco... Méx, 1748.
    <b>Morton Subastas on Bidsquare:</b> Cruces y Campa / Aubert / Valleto. Pareja Imperial, Fusilamiento de Maximiliano, Tipos Mexicanos... ca,1875.
  • <b>Bonhams: Treasures from the Eric C. Caren Collection: How History Unfolds on Paper, Part VII (Online). March 6-14, 2019
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Albert Einstein A remarkable letter on God in English, one of his most eloquent and quoted, 1 p, July 2, 1945. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Benjamin Lincoln's commission as Major General in the Continental Army, February 19th, 1777. $60,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Broadside. A Poem Upon the Bloody Engagement That Was Fought on Bunker's-Hill. 1775. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Early, full printing of the Star-Spangled Banner in The Yankee, October 7, 1814. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 6-14:</b> Paul Revere. Engraving, “The Boston Massacre Perpetrated on March 5, 1770," in <i>Massachusett's Calendar 1772.</i> $8,000 to $12,000.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Feb 21:</b> NASA archive with 351 photographs, silver & chromogenic prints, 1960-2002. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Feb 21:</b> Edward S. Curtis, suite of 18 cyanotypes, 1910-14. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Feb 21:</b> Edward S. Curtis, <i>Horse Capture, Atsina,</i> unique copper plate for <i>The North American Indian,</i> 1908. $60,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Feb 21:</b> John Whipple, <i>Harriet Beecher Stowe,</i> salted print from a calotype negative, 1853. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Feb 21:</b> Lewis Carroll, <i>Xie Kitchen,</i> albumen print, circa 1872. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Feb 21:</b> Ansel Adams, <i>Taos Pueblo,</i> limited, signed first edition of the artist's first book, 12 silver bromide prints, 1930. $30,000 to $45,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Feb 21:</b><br>JFK in his motorcade about 2 mins before his assassination, chromogenic print, 1963. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Feb 21:</b> Anton Guilio Bragaglia, 6 photomechanical postcards with facsimile signatures, 1911-13, printed 1932. $30,000 to $45,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, Feb 21:</b> Société Anonyme, Inc, group of 9 postcards, including 8 real photo postcards, 1920-30. $25,000 to $35,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, Mar 12:</b> Walt Whitman. <i>Leaves of Grass.</i> First edition, first issue, SIGNED in block letters by Whitman. 1855. $200,000 to $300,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 12:</b> Isaac Newton's copy of John Greave's <i>Pyramidographia,</i> London, 1646. $50,000 to $70,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 12:</b> Colonel John Mosby. Robert E. Lee's autograph letter to Samuel Cooper reporting on Mosby's exploits, with Cooper's autograph note ordering his appointment to Major.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 12:</b> Gyula Halasz Brassai. Large archive of autograph and typed letters, over 260, to his family including his wife Gilberte, 1947-1978. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 12:</b> Archive of drawings and letters from Harper Lee to Charles Carruth, including an inscribed first edition of <i>To Kill a Mockingbird.</i> $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 11:</b> VESALIUS, ANDREAS. 1514-1564. <i>De humani corporis fabrica libri septem.</i> Basel: Johannes Oporinus, June 1543. $300,000 to $500,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 11:</b> HARVEY, WILLIAM. 1578-1657. <i>De motu cordis & sanguinis in animalibus Anatomica Exercitatio.</i> Leiden: Joannis Maire, 1639. $25,000 to $35,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar 11:</b> BERENGARIO DA CARPI, GIACOMO. 1460-1530. <i>Isagogae breves perlucide ac uberrimae in Anatomiam humani corporis.</i> Bologna: Benedictus Hectoris, 15 July 1523. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams NY, Mar 11:</b> FRANKLIN, BENJAMIN. 1706-1790. <i>Experiments and Observations on Electricity, made at Philadelphia in America…</i> London, 1769. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams NY, Mar 11:</b> BENIVIENI, ANTONIO. 1443-1502. <i>De abditis nonnullis ac mirandis morborum et sanationum causis.</i>Florence: Filippo Giunta, 1507. $8,000 to $12,000

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