Rare Book Monthly

Articles - November - 2021 Issue

Fire Claims Another Bookshop

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New Street, Wem, Shrewsbury SY4 5JX, in the United Kingdom.  A fire tore through a building in Shrewsbury at Wem Industrial Estate overnight on 7 October, closing roads and cutting power to the town.  Fire has long been a hazard for the old and rare book trade and a bookshop, Cosmo Books, was located there.

 

The alarm was raised about 12.30am, the firefighters arriving to find flames shooting from the roof.  It started in an adjoining unit to Cosmo Books but spread along the roof space. The fire burned through ceiling panels and onto Mr. Downie's huge collection of books, built up over 25 years.

Old books over time fail, falling apart, their pages detaching but such insults can often be repaired, except when the damage is caused by water or fire as there is little that can be done.  Those sworn enemies of old paper have been culling the printed herd since the first awl made the first marks on papyrus.

 

In the face of the fire, the Book store owners and their operators at Cosmo have no quit in them and Robert Downie, the firm’s owner, fully expects to get past the recent catastrophe.  In response, he has provided his statement and an account:

 

 

On Wednesday 5th October 2021 Cosmo Books was entirely destroyed in a fire, from an arson incident at a neighboring unit behind us, and there is an ongoing criminal investigation into it, though I don’t suppose anything will come of it that does us any good really.

 

Our entire stock of about 170,000 titles has been lost, and almost nothing can be salvaged from the destruction.  T.L. Dallas, our insurers, are of course involved, and with a little luck insurance will prove vital to the speed of our recovery.

 

There’s a saying about life happens to you when you are making other plans.  I can certainly understand that now.

 

Our immediate plans:  we now have some small office space where we can begin the process of rebuilding our stock whilst we look for a suitable large premises, so we might, with a little luck, be able to make progress more quickly than had earlier seemed possible.

 

Samantha, Amanda, and myself are each quite determined this will not defeat us.  If anyone in the UK would like to quote me runs of journals, such as History Today, Archaeologia, The Quarterly Review, The Edinburgh Review, Country Life, and similar material I’d be pleased to hear from them.

 

As to the scale of the loss of inventory, Cosmo Books, did not lose their electronic inventory of 165,000 items that were priced.  For discussions about insurance, the total of the retail prices will provide a very clear starting point.

 

Robert Downie [Cosmo Books] -

View our stock of over 165,000 titles here;

https://www.cosmobooks.co.uk

 

Cosmo Internet Ltd t/a Cosmo Books

9, Wem Business Park, New Street, 

Wem, Shropshire. SY4 5JX

Co. reg. No. 08333546.  Vat No. GB162765101.

 

robert@cosmobooks.co.uk

 

Here are articles about the fire that were published elsewhere:

 

Shopshire Star

https://www.shropshirestar.com/news/local-hubs/north-shropshire/wem/2021/10/08/irreplaceable-antique-books-destroyed-in-business-park-arson/

 

The extent of the devastation at Cosmo Books stunned not only owner, Robert Downie, but also firefighters who managed to stop Wednesday's blaze spreading to other units on the industrial estate.

Mr Downie has vowed to rebuild the business, saying he had received messages of support and offers of help from across the world.

"Cosmo Books was entirely destroyed in a fire, from an incident at a neighbouring unit behind us," he said.

"Our entire stock of about 170,000 titles has been lost, and nothing can be salvaged from the destruction. We are therefore closed for business for the foreseeable future."

He said the knowledge that the fire had been started deliberately


Posted On: 2021-11-01 01:00
User Name: bukowski

Definitely not arson.


Posted On: 2021-11-01 01:07
User Name: bukowski

Police say it WAS arson. So who did it? Perhaps an unscrupulous individual or group of individuals? Time for Willoughby - OF THE YARD!


Rare Book Monthly

  • <b><center>Sotheby’s<br> The Library of Henry Rogers<br>Broughton, 2nd Baron Fairhaven<br>Part I<br>18 May 2022</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, May 18:</b> John James Audubon and James Bachman. <i>The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America.</i> New York: J.J. Audubon, 1845-1848. £150,000 to £250,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, May 18:</b> Thomas and William Daniell. <i>Oriental Scenery,</i> London, 1795-1807 [but 1841], 6 parts in 3 volumes, folio. £150,000 to £200,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, May 18:</b> Mark Catesby. <i>The natural history of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands...</i> London, 1731-1743, 2 volumes. £100,000 to £150,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, May 18:</b> Gould and Lear. <i>A monograph of the Ramphastidae,</i> 1854; <i>Illustrations of the family of Psittacidae,</i> 1832. £60,000 to £90,000.
  • <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>Graphic Design<br>May 19, 2022</b>
    <b>Swann May 19:</b> Adolphe Mouron Cassandre, <i>Triplex,</i> pencil maquette, 1930. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann May 19:</b> Claude Fayette Brandon, <i>The Chap Book,</i> circa 1895. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann May 19:</b> Various Artists, a complete set of <i>Das Plakat,</i> set of 10 hardcover volumes, 1912-21. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann May 19:</b> Javier Gómez Acebo & Máximo Viejo Santamarta, <i>San Sebastian / XI Circuitto Automovilista,</i> 1935. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann May 19:</b> Ephraim Moses Lilien, <i>Berliner Tageblatt,</i> circa 1899. $12,000 to $18,000.
  • <b><center>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper<br>26th May 2022</b>
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> Birds.- Gould (John). <i>The Birds of Great Britain,</i> 5 vol., first edition, [1862-]1873. £40,000 to £60,000.
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> Canadiana.- Cockburn (Maj. Gen. James Pattison, 1779-1847), After. [Six Landscape of Quebec City and Six Views of Niagara Falls], 2 suites in 1 vol., comprising 12 aquatints, 1833. £30,000 to £40,000.
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> Joyce (James). <i>Ulysses,</i> number 218 of 150 copies on verge d'arches, Paris, Shakespeare & Company, 1922. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b><center>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper<br>26th May 2022</b>
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> Rowling (J.K.) <i>Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone,</i> first paperback edition, signed by the author, 1997. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> Du Maurier (Daphne). <i>Rebecca,</i> first edition, signed presentation inscription from the author to her governess, 1938. £12,000 to £18,000.
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> Magna Carta.- An exact copy of King John's Great Charter of 1215, transcribed from the fire damaged but legible manuscript in the Cottonian Library, British Library, J. Pine, 1733. £10,000 to £15,000.
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    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> Woolf (Virginia). <i>Mrs Dalloway,</i> first edition, Hogarth Press, 1925. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> Tudor exiles opposed to the Marian regime.- Mary I (Queen of England) Letter signed "Marye the Quene" to Lord Paget, signed at head, titled at head "By the King and Quene", 1556. £8,000 to £10,000.
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> America.- Newfoundland.- Whitbourne (Sir Richard). <i>A discourse and discouery of Nevv-found-land…,</i> second edition, By Felix Kingston, 1622. £6,000 to £8,000.
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    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> Stubbs (George). <i>The Anatomy of the Horse,</i> first edition, first issue, Printed by J. Purser, for the Author, 1766. £6,000 to £8,000.
    <b>Forum, May 26:</b> Cardiology.- Lower (Richard). <i>Tractatus de Corde item De Motu & Colore Sanguinus et Chyli in cum Transitu,</i> first edition, 1669. £5,000 to £7,000.
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    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, May 30:</b><br>E. Cerillo, <i>Dipinti murali di Pompei,</i> 1886. Est: €2,500
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