Rare Book Monthly

Articles - June - 2021 Issue

Rare Book & Manuscript Info Plentiful at Exlibris

Remember civil discourse - no snark.

Though we’ve mentioned Exlibris before in this space, it can’t hurt to reiterate that it is one of the most informative and challenging of the many listservs in the world of better books. The membership group is large (3,400), diverse and long running (since 1990). Described as “a news and discussion group for the rare book community, it was established in 1990 at Rutgers University by the late Peter Graham and in November, 1995, moved to the University of California at Berkeley. In December, 2005, because of changes at Berkeley, the list moved to a private ISP and was underwritten financially by the moderator. In November, 2006, it moved to Indiana University under the sponsorship of the Lilly Library.”


According to information posted at the site,“Exlibris provides an environment for discussing matters related to rare book and manuscript librarianship, including special collections and related issues. Membership is open to anyone who wishes to subscribe, although you must be a member to post a message to the group.”


This particular list is international in scope; it is focused primarily on the world of scholarly libraries, archives, special collections and the people who work in and use them. It tilts heavily to academics and has many other members who are affiliated with the world of rare books and manuscripts in other capacities such as rare book dealers. This is a good place to get help with a Latin translation, find obscure citations, let the world know of an important scholarly conference, or post a job opening (which must include a stated salary range.)


Commercial Activity

If you are a dealer, particularly an upmarket dealer, or one who has or hopes to establish contact with libraries or well heeled private buyers, Exlibris makes limited provisions for commercial postings. These are allowed on Tuesdays and no other day.


One recent Tuesday there were more than 30 such posts from dealers around the world. Offerings ranged from Japanese woodblock views of 19th century Tokyo to a large and detailed selection Brazilian imprints, not to mention a photo archive of WWII Bombers, as well as hundreds of other choice items. At the upper reaches of the price spectrum was a signed letter from John Quincy Adams asking $35,000, and also a lovely octavo set of Audubon’s Quadrupeds of North America for $14,000. There were scads of other illustrated listings to scroll through, most priced at a few hundred to a few thousand dollars/Euros. There was also a tiny sprinkling of less costly goods. Whether you’re a buyer or a browser, it’s usually well worth the effort to peruse the Tuesday offerings.


Personally I’ve made a number of very good sales using this list which does not charge a commission. Only a few of the customers I’ve found here were affiliated with a library or similar institution. Most were private individuals and several turned out to be repeat buyers.


Some of the specific provisions applying to Tuesday commercial listings include but are not limited to:


  • All announcements must be preceded, as the first lines by the following text, typed exactly as shown (i.e. in all CAPS): DO NOT USE YOUR EMAIL REPLY FUNCTION TO RESPOND TO THIS ANNOUNCEMENT. MAKE SURE ANY MESSAGE COMES TO ME AND IS NOT SENT TO THE ENTIRE LIST.


  • Individual items may not be sold or solicited on Exlibris. This particular policy also excludes posting references to other venues where individual items may be for sale (e.g., you may not post an announcement that one of your items is for sale on eBay or at an auction.). Lists of individual items for sale may not be listed on Exlibris, even as part of catalogue announcements. Barter arrangements are also not allowed.


  • Any proffered catalogue must be available gratis; i.e., you can't announce a catalogue that must be purchased or is available only at a site for which a charge is made to access the site.


  • Booksellers may not add Exlibris members to their mailing lists without their consent.


It is strongly suggested that those who join Exlibris with an eye to doing business there read the rules all the way through before subscribing, with particular attention to Section V-Commercial Activity.


Code of Conduct

That said, this group tends to put a fine (dare I say “very fine”) point on almost everything, so it is good to lurk for a while to get the feel for it before participating. Specifically this list has its own Code of Conduct” which states: “We seek to make this a space open to all, where all members can post questions and discuss topics without fear of uncivil, flippant, and dismissive remarks - one where we share our knowledge rather than mock those who do not know what we might already know or mockthose who hold differing opinions and views than we do.” 


According to the moderators the following types of posts are strongly discouraged

  • · Unnecessary replies such as “I agree!”

  • · Personal conversations

  • · Posts unrelated to rare books and manuscripts

  • · Snarky or negative comments that do not add to the conversation

  • · Complaints about list policies (which should be sent to the moderators)

  •    The moderators announced at the end of May that changes to the commercial post rules are expected with a goal of "simplification."


For example, a recent announcement continuing an earlier discussion on Integrating Critical Race Theory and Teaching with Primary Sources” drew a slew of reactions. A few of them were submitted by posters who obviously hadn’t read the rules on “negative comments” and elicited a rebuke from the mods, i.e. “We've determined that this message violates the Exlibris Code of Conduct, specifically list members should strive to engage with these difficult topics and materials in a respectful and careful manner that provides appropriate context for their historical interpretation. This is a formal warning, any further violations of the list rules or code of conduct will result in a 30 day suspension of your posting privileges.”


Personally, I scroll through most of Exlibris every day, and I usually get around to viewing most of the booksellers’ Tuesday offerings, though it might take a few days to browse them all.


If you find any of this confusing or have trouble signing up, the email contact for listserv moderators is exlibrismods@gmail.com


And remember, however tempting, no snark.



Reach Rare Book Hub writer Susan Halas at wailukusue@gmail.com

Posted On: 2021-06-02 03:47
User Name: mairin

Good work, Susan, many thanks for this.
Just posted a notice on this piece on ExLibris-L.
Many of us are in its debt.
- Maureen E. Mulvihill, Collector.

Rare Book Monthly

  • Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    30th May 2024
    Forum, May 30: Potter (Beatrix). Complete set of four original illustrations for the nursery rhyme, 'This pig went to market', 1890s. £60,000 to £80,000.
    Forum, May 30: Dante Alighieri.- Lactantius (Lucius Coelius Firmianus). Opera, second edition, Rome, 1468. £40,000 to £60,000.
    Forum, May 30: Distilling.- Brunschwig (Hieronymus). Liber de arte Distillandi de Compositis, first edition of the so-called 'Grosses Destillierbuch', Strassburg, 1512. £22,000 to £28,000.
    Forum, May 30: Eliot (T.S.), W. H. Auden, Ted Hughes, Philip Larkin, Robert Lowell, Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes, & others. A Personal Anthology for Eric Walter White, 60 autograph poems. £20,000 to £30,000.
    Forum, May 30: Cornerstone of French Enlightenment Philosophy.- Helvetius (Claude Adrien). De l'Esprit, true first issue "A" of the suppressed first edition, Paris, 1758. £20,000 to £30,000.
    Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    30th May 2024
    Forum, May 30: Szyk (Arthur). The Haggadah, one of 125 copies, this out-of-series, Beaconsfield Press, 1940. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, May 30: Fleming (Ian). Casino Royale, first edition, first impression, 1953. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, May 30: Japan.- Ryusui (Katsuma). Umi no Sachi [Wealth of the Sea], 2 vol., Tokyo, 1762. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, May 30: Computing.- Operating and maintenance manual for the BINAC binary automatic computer built for Northrop Aircraft Corporation 1949, Philadelphia, 1949. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, May 30: Burmese School (probably circa 1870s). Folding manuscript, or parabaik, from the Court Workshop at the Royal Court at Manadaly, Burma, [c.1870s]. £8,000 to £12,000.
  • Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    K. Marx, Das Kapital,1867. Dedication copy. Est: € 120,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Latin and French Book of Hours, around 1380. Est: € 25,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Theodor de Bry, Indiae Orientalis, 1598-1625. Est: € 80,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Breviary, Latin manuscript, around 1450-75. Est: € 10,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    G. B. Piranesi, Vedute di Roma, 1748-69. Est: € 60,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    K. Schmidt-Rottluff, Arbeiter, 1921. Orig. watercolour on postcard. Est: € 18,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Breviarium Romanum, Latin manuscript, 1474. Est: € 20,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    C. J. Trew, Plantae selectae, 1750-73. Est: € 28,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    M. Beckmann, Apokalypse, 1943. Est: € 50,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Ulrich von Richenthal, Das Concilium, 1536. Est: € 9,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    I. Kant, Critik der reinen Vernunft, 1781. Est: €12,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Arbeiter-Illustrierte Zeitung (AIZ) / Die Volks-Illustrierte (VI), 1932-38. Est: €8,000
  • ALDE, May 28: KIPLING (RUDYARD). Le Livre de la Jungle. – Le IIe livre de la Jungle. Paris, Sagittaire, Simon Kra, 1924-1925. €3,000 to €4,000.
    ALDE, May 28: NOAILLES (ANNA DE). Les Climats. Paris, Société du Livre contemporain, 1924. €50,000 to €60,000.
    ALDE, May 28: MILTON (JOHN). Paradis perdu. Quatrième chant. S.l., Les Bibliophiles de l'Automobile-Club de France, 1974. €2,000 to €3,000.
    ALDE, May 28: LEBEDEV (VLADIMIR). Russian Placards - Placard Russe 1917-1922. Saint-Petersbourg, Sterletz, 1923. €1,000 to €1,200.
    ALDE, May 28: MARDRUS (JOSEPH-CHARLES). Histoire charmante de l'adolescente sucre d'amour. Paris, F.-L. Schmied, 1927. €1,500 to €2,000.
    ALDE, May 28: TABLEAUX DE PARIS. Paris, Émile-Paul Frères, 1927. €2,000 to €3,000.
    ALDE, May 28: LA FONTAINE (JEAN DE). Les Fables illustrées par Paul Jouve. S.l. [Lausanne], Gonin & Cie, 1929. €4,000 to €5,000.
    ALDE, May 28: SARTRE (JEAN-PAUL). Vingt-deux dessins sur le thème du désir. Paris, Fernand Mourlot, 1961. €1,500 to €2,000.
    ALDE, May 28: [BRAQUE (GEORGES)]. 13 mai 1962. Alès, PAB, 1962. €3,000 to €4,000.
    ALDE, May 28: MIRÓ (JOAN). Je travaille comme un jardinier. Avant-propos d'Yvon Taillandier. Paris, Société intenationale d'art XXe siècle, 1963. €1,000 to €2,000.
    ALDE, May 28: MAGNAN (JEAN-MARIE). Taureaux. Paris, Michèle Trinckvel, 1965. €3,000 to €4,000.
    ALDE, May 28: PICASSO (PABLO). Dans l'atelier de Picasso. 1960. €15,000 to €20,000.
  • Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Winston Churchill. The Second World War. Set of First-Edition Volumes. 6,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: A.A. Milne, Ernest H. Shepard. A Collection of The Pooh Books. Set of First-Editions. 18,600 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Salvador Dalí, Lewis Carroll. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Finely Bound and Signed Limited Edition. 15,000 USD
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ian Fleming. Live and Let Die. First Edition. 9,500 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter Series. Finely Bound First Printing Set of Complete Series. 5,650 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ernest Hemingway. A Farewell to Arms. First Edition, First Printing. 4,200 USD

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