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Re: Use of Bookplates and Inscriptions

Joe Freilich, 3 Sept 19:59, has initiated a thread on Bookplates in relation to
fixing them.  Their importance, if any, to books has also been queried.

As an addition to the present thread on bookplates I have a number of books
published in the 1700-1800s with heraldic bookplates.   These vary from about 1
square to 2" x 3" In many cases there are also owner's signatures and notes.
These all add to the bibliographic interest of the book's history (for me at
any rate!).  For me they do not diminish the value, nor do they seem affect
auction prices.  Whether the same can be said for modern bookplates in
modern editions I leave to future generations!  During past visits to 'Art in
Action' held each year near Oxford there have been one or two engravers willing
to provide bespoke bookplates.

Those plates I have all appear to be pasted, not glued,on the front paste-down.
 In one case a plate was pasted on top of another, for obvious reasons if it
had been incorporated into later library.  However, I wanted to know the
previous owner and careful soaking has lifted the plate off; I will in due
course re-paste it to one side so both may be seen.

Typical of the annotations are:

Drake's book on the City of York, 1788, "To John Croft Esq of York from his
Humble Servant Mr Ballantyne of London"

Mason's Cure of Cares, 1630,  is inscribed Thomas Jones plus what appear to be
some references for sermons.

Bailey's English Dictionary 1726, has two inscriptions 'John Rhodes's Book the
Gift of Isabella Pyke' and 'Henry Shaw his Book'.  Was this John's future wife,
a sister or an aunt?  Was Henry related?  A genealogist would be interested in
such inscriptions.

Copies of various astronomical books from 1740 and 1770s have various marginal
calculations and comments in spare spaces and names of owners on the title
page.  Again these are all of interest.

On the other hand I have some volumes of 'Gentleman's Magazine' with a 'Colwyn
Bay Library' ink stamp, which I dislike and will discard when I rebind them.

Virtually all the inscriptions were done in old iron gall ink  and have
usually stained or affected the paper in some way.  Those that I have rebound
have always included the old fly leaf, or paste down, containing the
inscriptions to show the bibliographic history.

Rodney Fry
Crowthorne, UK

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