Bibliography, Bookbinding and Reference from Forest Books


Bibliography, Bookbinding and Reference from Forest Books

Across the sea, another huge sale would take place in 1911-1912: Catalogue of the Library of Robert Hoe... Hoe was a manufacturer of printing presses, using his wealth to build a collection beyond compare. When the auction was completed, two years after he died, it had taken in almost $2 million, several times the amount of any previous book auction in history. Item 212, £375 (US $616).

Now for one more auction, one which demonstrates that timing can be everything: The Library of Jerome Kern. Kern was a notable popular songwriter of the 1920s, famous for such songs as Ol' Man River, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, and The Way You Look Tonight. Kern was also a bibliophile, and invested some of his earnings building an outstanding collection. Unlike the previous collectors, Kern decided to put his library up for sale during his lifetime. The sale was a spectacular success. It took in $1.7 million, almost as much as the Hoe sale for one-tenth the number of books. Timing was everything. The sale took place in 1929, at the height of the Roaring Twenties, just before the stock market crash and the beginning of the Great Depression. It took many decades for most of his books to regain their 1929 values, and some have never returned to those lofty heights. Item 239. £65 (US $106).

Item 90 is an unrecorded item: Catalogue of the Circulating Library. No. 7 Exchange Buildings. At the Book Store and Book Bindery of Childs & March. This library was run from a now obscure bookshop in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. At the time, there were few public libraries, most being cooperative or commercial ventures. This library possessed 500-600 titles and for $6 per year, you could borrow up to two octavo size or four smaller books at one time. £575 (US $944).

Forest Books may be reached at +44 1949-842360 or Their website is

You will find many of Forest Books's, books listed in "Books For Sale" on this site. Click here.