Bibliography and Reference from Forest Books of the U.K.

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Bibliography and Reference from Forest Books of the U.K.

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Thomas Frognall Dibdin was as passionate a collector as Phillipps, though not as strange. His paean to book collecting is The Library Companion; or the Young Man's Guide, and the Old Man's Comfort... The notable collector provided recommendations for constructing a library. Everything recommended is quite old, since he published his recommendations in 1824. Item 126 is a two-volume first edition. £175 (US $304). Eight years later, Dibdin would be lamenting the poor state of the book trade, prices having become depressed. Dibdin expected better, and certainly prices have climbed to astronomical levels since his time, but not during Dibdin's lifetime. The book is Bibliomania. Remarks on the Present Languid and Depressed State of Literature and the Book Trade. Dibdin published it under the pseudonym Mercurius Rusticus. Item 128. £495 (US $860). Finally, for Dibdin collectors, there's a copy of his signature, having been taken from an old letter. Item 127 £35 (US $61).

One of the auctions that enjoyed Dibdin's enthusiastic expressions was the 1810 sale of the collection of Benjamin Heath. It certainly must have been a magnificent collection, though the catalogue title sounds like they might have been puffing it a bit: A Catalogue of Books. Containing all of the Rare, Useful, and Valuable Publications, in Every Department of Literature, from the First Invention of Printing to the Present Time... This includes the names of the 107 subscribers to the catalogue, with the prices realized written in by hand. There were 4,786 lots in total. Item 202. £695 (US $1,208).

One of the most famous of book forgers was William Ireland. Ireland started by "finding" some obscure Shakespearean documents. Emboldened by his success in fooling the public, he expanded his creations, culminating in his "discovery" of a previously unknown Shakespeare play. Evidently, it wasn't quite up to Shakespeare's standards, and it led to the collapse of his house of fabrications. Item 234 is his 1805 The Confessions of William Ireland. Much of the motivation of the book was to save the reputation of Ireland's father, whose Shakespearean expertise many believed was required for the son to pull of his fabrications for so long. £165 (US $287).

For those who collect books about, rather than bottles of, wine, here is a bibliography described as "containing information on virtually every wine book ever published in English." James Gabler's 1985 Wine into Words contains over 3,200 entries. Item 160. £35 (US $61).

Forest Books may be found online at www.forestbooks.co.uk or reached by phone at +44 1949 - 842360.