Top Sights for Collectors To See Around London
By Carl Burnham
London, land of the ages of time, where Romans conquered, built fortress walls, and eventually departed, and legendary kings and queens held court over all but the weather. The sights and sounds, the smells, the city is alive with activity as a thoroughly modern city. It can be overwhelming when visiting London for the first time, as there is so much history here. For the book collector and historian, when visiting, unless staying for an extended period, careful trip planning is needed if wanting to see some of the truest rarities in the world. From visiting earlier this year, I have compiled a list here of the best places to see rare artifacts and also to find items to add to your collection.
London is where the origins of bookselling began, and one could spend a week just meandering through the area of the city where many rare book shops reside. Many bookshops are centered especially around the Charing Cross Road and Piccadilly Circus areas. Besides these, there are also Oxfam and other charity shops around the city where older books can sometimes be discovered. The major auction houses, Sotheby's and Christie's, originated here. On a visit to Christie's, it should be no surprise that the highest rated auctions in a lot while my wife and I visited were all Beatles memorabilia. Be sure to read my previous Americana Exchange articles which highlighted my visit to Christie's and also Sotheran's, reportedly the oldest bookstore in the world.
The museums are a fascinating treasure unto themselves, with countless original paintings by famous artists such as da Vinci, Renoir, van Gough, Degas, as well as ancient sculptures, and rare artifacts. A good deal of preparation is needed to organize what you want to see and where while you are in London, as it is very easy to get distracted as you walk through the many miles of exhibits. Some prohibit photographs while others encourage them. The amazing thing about the museums here is that all are free!