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Re: Bookplates

        Well, as an antiquarian bookseller,  I have several practical suggestions
that you may not welcome.  Fine books can outlive you by many years and can be
enjoyed by your friends, offspring, grand children, and many new generations
in turn. You can be remembered best if you can pass these artifacts on with
greater value than they had in your own lifetime.

First of all, if you are collecting fine or rare  books, first editions etc.,
no book plate at all would be best. You may wish to sell or give away your
collection some day, or pass it on as part of your estate, and unless you are
famous or infamous, or have some compelling need to brand your goods,
permanent bookplates can detract from the value of the books. You could have
some nice book marks printed instead, perhaps with an elegant silk marker
ribbon. Another alternative is a tiny tab label, often seen used unobtrusively
by booksellers. If you absolutely must use a bookplate,  ordinary boiled flour
library paste that can be soaked off with ordinary water should be considered.
Your books will have much more value if you keep them as new.  A bookplate
does not help. Keep a logbook in your library of who you lend your books too,
instead of reliance on a bookplate.

Second, buy clear Brodart or Gaylord dust jacket covers, and cover your book
dust jackets as soon as you acquire them. In many cases, a small peel off
bookplate can be affixed to this clear jacket cover on the inside of the flap
without marring the book or jacket.  If the book is valuable but has no
jacket, clear mylar sleeves [bags] are useful to prevent shelf rubbing. Leave
them open at the top so the books can air.  In the case of a scarce first
edition, a pristine jacket can be worth 80% of the value of the book.

Third, avoid writing anything in pen or ink on the flyleaves. Avoid annotating
the text with magic markers, unless it is a textbook which will soon be
obsolete and a throwaway. Why dog ear the pages when sticky notes or a book
mark is better?. Why put drinks on coffee table books when a coaster works
better.  If you must write a name or dedication, do it lightly in very soft
pencil, like a 4b or 6b. These soft leads erase with art gum with hardly a
trace. It may be useful to lightly inscribe the date of purchase and
approximate price paid in the flyleaf with soft pencil.  Then you will always
know the original cost value of your collection, for insurance or resale
purposes. You can devise a code for the price. Pick any group of easy to
remember words containing 10 characters total, without duplication, assign a
numeric value to each letter. Presto, you have a simple code.  Example "
Simple Toad" S=1, i=2, m=3 etc. So a $12 book purchased today would be

Fourth, if it has a fine leather binding, invest a few bucks in a good oil
based leather dressing like Renaissance or Backus or British Museum leather
dressing [not shoe polish]. Give the binding a few swipes from time to time
when you read the book. It will keep the leather from drying out to powder and
add maybe 50 years to its life. One tin will last most people many years.
Finally, keep the spines out of direct exposure to the sun, elevate your
bottom shelves a few inches to keep the books away from the mop, water or
moisture or sources of mildew.

Figure it this way. Many of us easily spend $100 a month on good books.  In a
life time, you can happily accumulate a $40,000 library. You might need that
cash when you are 65. Why not make it an asset you can use instead of a throw
away expense?

Well, this is more than you asked for, but there you have it. Simple but
useful. You can enjoy your library without defacing it....................

An old fuddy duddy who loves books.
Art Rubino

Art Rubino & Co.
Antiquarian Booksellers
Numismatic & Philatelic Arts of Santa Fe
P.O. Box 9712
Santa Fe, NM 87504 USA

From:   The Book Arts: binding, typography, collecting on behalf of Joe
Sent:   Wednesday, September 03, 1997 19:47 PM
To:     BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject:        Bookplates

To the List:

      I would like an opinion from the various listmembers. I am in the
process of having a bookplate designed, for my own library. The printer
suggested pregumed bookplates, with the "peel off" paper backing, instead of
the traditional gummed backs( that one would have to moisten with water
first) or glue. I have been guaranteed that all marerials are archival.  I am
only concerned that the adhering quality should last, if I use these.

Does anyone have any advise for ? Thanks so much.


Joe Freilich

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