Rare Book Monthly

Articles - March - 2003 Issue

An Old Fashioned Book Seller: An Interview with Harold Nestler

none


Mr. Nestler guides me through the shelves, pointing out New York State reference collections, current inventory, customer and inventory files, etc. Seeing the customer files prompts me to ask another question.

AT: Is it your sense that there are still customers out there for you?

HN: Good question. I have been having trouble getting new names for my mailing list. Part of this is because a lot of my customers are elderly, and are sadly passing away, succumbing to Alzheimer’s and like diseases, and/or just reappraising and taking stock of their finances and tightening the belt. In the past I have sold a lot to libraries, but sometimes when librarians and library administrations change, you lose business. This happened to me recently at a local library which had always been a steady customer. Until now.

Things change. Collectors pass away, and new ones come on the scene. They may, however, do their buying mainly from the internet.

AT: Do you have any plans to commemorate this 50th anniversary of your book business?

HN: No, I don’t. At my age I’m slowly phasing out of the business. I’m not pushing for new customers, though I won’t push them away if they come to me.

On the way out I notice a printed sign, with some typescript above, taped to the end of one of the basement bookshelves. It says, in typescript, “Harold Nestler has a terminal illness.” Below that, in print, the sign reads: “”Bookselling is a disease…once it is in the blood, you never lose it. Thomas Joy.”

Harold Nestler’s memoir, Where Did You Find That?: Adventures of An Antiquarian Bookman, is self published in a signed limited edition and is available directly from Harold Nestler. It costs $20.00, plus $2.00 for shipping and handling. His Bibliography of the New York State Communities has been republished by Heritage Press and is available from them (Heritage Press, 1540E Pointer Ridge Place, Bowie, MD, 20716, (301) 390-7709). (Pricing information was not available at press time.) Some 40 to 50 of Mr. Nestler’s New York State catalogues are available on CD-ROM as Encyclopedia of New York State Ephemera and Americana from Hope Farm Press, 252 Main Street, Saugerties, NY, 12477, (800)-883-5778,www.hopefarm.com. They cost $35.00, plus shipping.

Harold Nestler, no fan of the internet, can be reached by regular mail at: Harold Nestler, 13 Pennington Road, Waldwick, N.J., 07463 or by phone at (201) 444-7413. He cautions that he has no answering machine, so that if readers get no answer they should keep on trying him. Eventually they’ll get through.

Rare Book Monthly

  • 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
    Sotheby’s
    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
  • Gonnelli:
    Auction 50
    Books, Autographs & Manuscripts
    March 6th-7th 2024
    Gonnelli: Cramer, [Picasso, Chagall , Miró], Trente ans d'activité. Starting price 4800€
    Gonnelli: Futurism
    Gonnelli: Avienus, Opera. 1488. Starting price 1200€
    Gonnelli: Vimont, Relation de ce qui s'est passé en la Nouvelle France, en l'année 1642. Starting price 5000€
    Gonnelli: Goedart, Metamorphosis et historia naturalis insectorum. 1662.
    Gonnelli: Il Petrarcha con la spositione di M. Giovanni Andrea Gesualdo.
    Gonnelli: Poblacion, De usu astrolabi compendium.
  • Toronto Book Auctions
    ART-PHOTO-SIGNED-BOOKS-MILITARY(NON)FICTION
    March 6, 2024
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: [ART BOOK MONOGRAPH] DAVID BURLIUK WITH ORIGINAL DRAWING and Signed twice. David Burliuk Rare ACA Gallery exhibition catalogue, undated. CA$400 – 800
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: [ART BOOK MONOGRAPH] KAWS: COMPANIONSHIP IN THE AGE OF LONELINESS. Text by Margaret Atwood. National Gallery of Victoria, Australia, 2019. $CA400 - 800
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: [ART BOOK MONOGRAPH] LAWRENCE WEINER: POSTERS. Nova Scotia College of Art, Canada,1987. CA$800 – 1,200
    Toronto Book Auctions
    ART-PHOTO-SIGNED-BOOKS-MILITARY(NON)FICTION
    March 6, 2024
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: WILBUR SMITH: THE DARK OF THE SUN. Heinemann, UK, 1965. Signed First edition. CA$800 – 1,200
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: ROBERTSON DAVIES: LEAVEN OF MALICE. SIGNED Clark, Irwin, & Co., Canada. 1954. 1st edition. CA$400 – 600
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: [THE NOTABLE TRAILS LIBRARY]. 8 VOLUMES SOLD TOGETHER. INCLUDING: THE TRIAL OF DR. X; ROE V. WADE; THE GALILEO AFFAIR; THE TRIAL OF BERNHARD GOETZ… CA$300 – 500
    Toronto Book Auctions
    ART-PHOTO-SIGNED-BOOKS-MILITARY(NON)FICTION
    March 6, 2024
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: [MILITARY FICTION]. 8 VOLUMES SOLD TOGETHER. INCLUDING: Canada's Royal Military College. REVIEW, THE STONE FRIGATE, A HISTORY OF THE RMC… CA$300 – 400
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: [WW1] CANADIAN (C.S.E.F.) SIBERIA 1918-1919 PHOTO ALBUM. With approximately 303 original official war photographs, postcards, and personal photographs. CA$8,000 – 10,000.
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: HANS BELLMER: THE DOLL. 1995, 1st Ed. CA$150 – 300.
    Toronto Book Auctions
    ART-PHOTO-SIGNED-BOOKS-MILITARY(NON)FICTION
    March 6, 2024
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: FAN HO; HONG KONG YESTERDAY. ModernBooks edition, 2006. First edition. 4to. CA$300 – 600.
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: TARYN SIMON: AN AMERICAN INDEX OF THE HIDDEN AND UNFAMILIAR. Hatje Cantz, Germany, 2012. Third edition. CA$600 – 1,000.
    Toronto Book Auctions, Mar. 6: BARBARA KRUGER PICTURE/READINGS. [Self-Published], 1978 First edition. CA$800 – 1,200.

Article Search

Archived Articles

Ask Questions