Joys of Book and Map Collecting

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Some odds and ends for collectors, or just lovers of, old books and maps.

If there is a link, if you RIGHT-click on it, and select "Open in new window" (or tab), and you can check out the link without losing the page you are reading at the moment. Close the new window, and this will re-appear from underneath the page you visited. With a little digital dexterity, you can achieve the same thing by clicking on a link with the wheel of many mice…. you must not rotate the wheel as you click it, though. For other tips on brilliant browsing, there are some ideas at….

(When you use the "new tab" trick, your browser may do that… open the page in a new tab… but not automatically take you to the tab you just opened. You can make it take you to the tab automatically with the browser's settings. At least in Firefox you can, and the others usually eventually copy things Firefox introduces.)

[Sticky]- Glossary

As in any specialty, there is a lexicon used by collectors and dealers. If you don't know your association copy from your errata slips, there's a very good guide at online glossary from Peter Harrington, London.

[Sticky]- Like maps?

If you like maps, give Brilliant a try.

Curious coincidence in Kipling's Just So Stories

In the Just So Stories, on the second page, we find….

‘One at a time is enough,’ said the ‘Stute Fish. ‘If you swim to latitude Fifty North, longitude Forty West (that is magic), you will find, sitting on a raft, in the middle of the sea, with nothing on but a pair of blue canvas breeches, a pair of suspenders (you must not forget the suspenders, Best Beloved), and a jack-knife, one ship-wrecked Mariner, who, it is only fair to tell you, is a man of infinite-resource-and-sagacity…’

… and, me being me, I "had" to look. Where is 50N/40W?

It's just a rather boring, unremarkable bit of the North Atlantic, just East of Newfoundland.

Or so I thought at first.

Then I thought: "Titanic??"

And, yes! It sank…

THREE MILES East of there, 120 miles north. Out of a 3000 mile journey.

But then I realized that the edition I was reading was published in the year the Titanic sank. Had the text been tweaked? Just recently a first became available, and I went for it… sorry! And Kipling had "picked" where the Titanic sank long before the event. I wonder if anyone there on the day noticed the coincidence?

I read on the internet that "50N/40W" was, long before Kipling, a sailor's saying meaning a bleak and nasty bit of the oceans… though I can't find that again now.

Kipling added "(which is magic)" after the coordinates, which added to my urge to go and see where 50N/40W is. Was he was making a joke, and leading us to it with the "magic"? Maybe he was just helping the flow of the sentence… cadence is important in a book you might read to children, after all.

People scare me


I like books. No secret there. But why do some books become "valuable" and others not? Carroll's Alice's Adventures is always going to attract attention. And there is a breed of "collector" that wants what no one else has. Besides something being "first edition", you want "the first first"… which can mean several things. There's the first published in the US or UK… but one of those came before the other. There's the first-with-illustrations-by-Tenniel. (That would probably be described as "first thus"… watch out for those four letters. No one is trying to deceive you, but you have to know the way things are done.)

But have you heard of "states"? With the Alice, there were some copies of the first (published, anywhere) with pale blue endpapers, and some with dark green endpapers. It has been decided that the pale blue came first. So that's "first edition/ first state".

And then there's condition. The book that set me off this morning is first/ first/ first… nice enough, but nothing remarkable to look at. Nice scarlet covers… with a substantial smudge of black ink on the front board! And the tops and bottom of the spine (cloth) quite bumped.

And what does an experienced bookseller as for such a book? They aren't being "greedy"… they get caught doing that once, and they lose customers.

I.e. What will at least some people pay to own such a thing.

Here's what led me to call this "People scare me". That book was on offer June 2020 for $50,000. Who knew pale blue paper was so valuable?

Kipling, Rudyard- The Brushwood Boy

Something? Nothing? It is easy to get over-excited by such things.

However, for what it is worth, an oddity I saw in a copy of a 1907 MacMillan edition illustrated by FW Townsend. Opposite page 43, the plate is captioned "A sick thuig lay in bed"… but on page 43 is the text "… a sick thing lay in bed.." So… a typo in the caption? "Interesting"? Have you seen a 1907 with "thing" spelt properly? There's no "copyright" page as we would know it today. At the bottom of the page numbered "5" is a gothic "E". Throughout, only the right hand page is printed on. (PS- re-readoing this long after writing it, and with the book no longer to hand, I have to question that last sentence. I think I mean that only the right hand page has a number on it.) Numbering leaves out the left hand pages. At the bottom of the page which would be 92, if it were numbered, is "Printed by R & R Clark, Limited, Edinburgh"

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