Rare Book Monthly

Articles - December - 2004 Issue

Biblio, Bibliopoly, Bibliophile: Just Who Are These B's?

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Bibliopoly provides an uncluttered search for high-end material


Bibliopoly. This is another listing site, but it's like none of the others we have mentioned so far. This is not a site for quantity. It is not a site for used books. This is a site for rare and collectible books, and for collectors whose means allow them to focus more on the best than the best price. In speaking of what type of books their customers may collect, Bibliopoly says, "They might, for example, be interested in incunables (i.e. date-range 1455-1500), they might want books printed in Toulouse or by Aldus, or early seventeenth century books on social reform, or books written in Greek or Swedish...." Does that sound like the typical Amazon shopper? I think not. And the average Amazon shopper might not even appreciate the fact that this site is available in five languages.

Bibliopoly was developed by Bernard Quaritch, Ltd., of London, one of the world's oldest and most prestigious booksellers. If Biblio is at a disadvantage for having only 2,100 booksellers, then how about Bibliopoly with just 108? The answer is no. As stated, Bibliopoly is not trying to compete for the most listings. It just wants the best, or highest end ones. A quick perusal of its dealer list, and any perusal of this dealer list will be quick, reveals many of the best-known names from around the world. You may not find Fred's Bookshop from East Oshkosh here, but you will see names like Librairie Chamonal, Antiquariaat Forum, Hordern House, William Reese, Martayan Lan, Maggs Bros., 19th Century Shop, and Bernard Shapero here. These dealers don't sell used books, and they don't sell much that's cheap, but they do sell some of the finest and most collectible books in the world.

We try our search for Innocents Abroad, but we don't come up with 572 matches, nor even 186. No, we get two. The "cheap" one is a recent limited edition printing with new drawings and high quality paper and bindings for $1,250. The other is a first edition, first issue for $5,000. This site isn't for everyone, but if you want the best and can afford it, it is for you.

The link to Bibliopoly is: www.bibliopoly.com

Bibliophile.net Next up is Bibliophile. This is still another listing site, but again, very different from anything we've seen before. It's downright eclectic. This site has the feel of something designed more by techies than typical booksellers. How many book sites start off by telling you that you can adjust the font size displayed by clicking "view" on your browser menu? Not many. Priorities are different here.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>View Our Record Breaking Results</b>
    <b>Swann:</b> Scott Joplin, <i>Treemonisha: Opera in Three Acts,</i> New York, 1911. Sold March 24 — $40,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> Louisa May Alcott, autograph letter signed, 1868. Sold June 2 — $23,750.
    <b>Swann:</b> Anne Bradstreet, <i>Several Poems Compiled with Great Variety of Wit and Learning, full of Delight,</i> Boston, 1758. Sold June 2 — $21,250.
    <b>Swann:</b> William Shakespeare, <i>Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. Published according to the true Originall Copies. The Second Impression,</i> London, 1632. Sold May 5 — $161,000.
    <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>View Our Record Breaking Results</b>
    <b>Swann:</b> John Bachmann, <i>Panorama of the Seat of War,</i> New York, 1861-62. Sold June 23 — $35,000.
    <b>Swann:</b> Charlotte Bronte, <i>Jane Eyre,</i> first edition, London, 1847. Sold June 16 — $23,750.
    <b>Swann:</b> Elihu Vedder, <i>Simple Simon, His Book,</i> 1913. Sold June 9 — $12,350.
    <b>Swann:</b> Frederick Catherwood, <i>Views of Ancient Monuments in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan,</i> London, 1844. Sold April 7 — $37,500.
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