Category Archives: Catalogues

The Collective Returns, Catalogue for the 2013 California Antiquarian Book Fairs

CollectiveFinal (2) (dragged)

The Collective Returns: A Catalogue for the 2013 California Antiquarian Book Fairs

Last year at this time, a group of bookselling friends who span the coasts of the country decided to jointly produce a catalogue of books for sale at the California book fairs in February. It was such a success that we decided to do it again. I am happy to present The Collective Returns: A Catalogue for the 2013 California Antiquarian Book Fairs. Click on the link (not the image) to download a PDF or come visit us at the book fairs and get your very own print copy. This year I featured some original Dante art by California artist Sandow Birk. Click on the PDF link and you can see it for yourself.

Here are a few other books that I hope to have time to preview here at the blog in the week prior to San Francisco’s California International Antiquarian Book Fair (February 15-17, 2013):

* A lovely, small collection of fine press books.

* Beautiful books with hand-painted bindings or handwritten content.

* Ephemera and photography printed in San Francisco prior to the 1906 earthquake and fire.

* A few books and menus of interest to cocktail and mixology afficionados.

* A photo album with many original photos of San Francisco in the days immediately after the 1906 earthquake and fire, taken by a professional photographer.

* A set, complete in 13 volumes, of Campaigns of the Civil War (published in 1881 by Charles Scribner’s Sons and written by some of the major military, political, and historical figures who were part of the Civil War.)

* And of course, some new Dante items, new items written by or about American women, and new Western Americana.

See you at the fair!


Filed under Book Fairs, Catalogues, Uncategorized

Chapter 690 The Collective, A Catalogue for the February, 2012 California Book Fairs

I have an announcement to make — a catalogue announcement!

Announcing:  The Collective!

No, it’s not my Catalogue #2, but it is a catalogue that features a few of the many books I’ll be offering for sale at the San Francisco and Los Angeles (Pasadena) Antiquarian Book Fairs next month. I like to think of this new catalogue as a nice bridge between Catalogue #1:  Dante Alighieri and Catalogue #2:  Subject As Yet Unannounced. It’s Catalogue #1.5 🙂

This catalogue, the collaborative effort of seven ABAA booksellers including yours truly was the brilliant idea of my colleagues and friends Brad and Jen Johnson of The Book Shop in Covina, California.  Each bookseller is exhibiting at both fairs and each was given two pages on which to show off some of his or her best books to be offered for sale at the February fairs. Brad and Jennifer designed the cover (image of front and back above) and did all of the graphic design and layout, a couple of others wrote the Terms of Sale and Introduction pages, and we each contributed two pages of books for sale, featuring some of the treasures we plan to bring to the February fairs. We divided the costs of printing.

The catalogue is available as a downloadable PDF. You can click here or on the image above or on the image in the far right sidebar of this blog (top right corner).  If you’d like a print copy, most of those will be distributed at the fair, but I do have some available for mailing. Just let me know by leaving a comment or sending an email to chris AT bookhuntersholiday DOT com.

See you in the stacks!

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Chapter 682 Thank Goodness The Weekend Is Here

Both Tom and Huck are playing on basketball teams from now until the end of February.  It’s lots of fun, but, combined with their other activities (Boy Scouts and guitar for Tom, Cub Scouts and bass guitar for Huck), it makes for hectic afternoons. Here is a sample schedule from one day last week:

3:00 p.m. Pick up boys at school, which is not in walking distance of our home, unfortunately. Return home for quick snack and change of clothes for boys.

4:00 p.m. Take Tom to guitar, here in our hometown.

4:30 p.m. Take Huck to basketball practice — two towns away because our school gym is too small to accommodate the teams from every grade, so we rent gym space where we can find it.

5:00 p.m. Return to our town to pick up Tom from guitar.

5:30 p.m. Drive back to Huck’s basketball practice to pick him up.

6:00 p.m. Drive home on Highway 101 during notorious Silicon Valley rush hour traffic. (This is the part I really can’t stand.)

6:40 p.m. Home. Time to make dinner and make sure boys do homework. Did I mention that Huck has a book report due tomorrow?

Despite what the crazy schedule above may indicate, I try not to overschedule the boys (or myself, for that matter). I believe that some of the best learning and growth for kids happens when they have free time. I also believe that if they want to participate in these activities, it’s my job to help them do that, within reasonable limits. I limit them to one sport each per season (i.e. no playing basketball and baseball during the same season). Each takes music lessons, but only once a week for an hour. Each is involved in Scouts, but that’s only once every other week. Each kid participates in activities of his own choosing (meaning that I do not force them to play sports or music or to be Scouts — they’ve chosen these things). Even though we try make rational decisions about what activities the kids participate in, every couple of weeks, all of these activities converge during the same week and sometimes the same day. By the end of a week where everything seems to be happening at once,  I am very grateful for the weekend (except when the basketball game starts at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday.)

This past week was one such extra busy week when activities converged. I was so glad when Friday came and I had some time to sit down and think about books for a couple of hours while the boys were at school. I decided that, in order to really savor the moment of time I had to just be at home, I would make it extra special. Maybe it’s just me, but when I take time to be present to the things that really matter (home life and books), I enjoy it more and don’t get driven crazy by the busy family schedule. With basketball season here, I have to fit in these moments whenever I can. It keeps me calm and energized.  Here are a few photos of my Friday bliss:

Comfort and Joy Tea from one of my book-themed teapots and my Rare Book School mug. Maple Oatmeal scone served on a piece from a Wedgwood Queensware dessert set I found at an estate sale in September:

New acquisitions and bookseller catalogues that arrived in the mail this week, waiting to be opened:

Books. Catalogues. Tea. Scones. Perfect. TGIF! (Thank God It’s Friday!)

See you in the stacks!

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Filed under A Family Business, Book Finds, Catalogues, Organization

Chapter 653 Down for the Count

Over the weekend, I pulled out every book and bit of ephemera I plan to feature in Catalogue #2. It was my hope that I had, in the past year or so, acquired 100 items for the catalogue. When I purchased an item I intended to save for the catalogue, I took it home and put it on a special shelf, segregated from my general inventory so I wouldn’t accidentally offer the book for sale before I print my catalogue. I haven’t done much else to record my 100 items yet. I know. I know. I should catalogue every item as it comes in, but as a one-woman business and the mother in a very busy household, cataloguing usually only happens when I decide to sell a book. You should come over sometime and see how much cataloguing takes place in the weeks preceding a large book fair. There’s nothing like a book fair to make a bookseller catalogue a lot of  books.

After I’ve acquired a book or piece of ephemera for a catalogue, I have a special file where I keep the receipt for each purchase and I note the date acquired, the source of acquisition, and the price paid in pencil on each item. It’s not a perfect system, but it gives me enough information to begin cataloguing the book when I pull it off the shelf at some point in the future.

So, as I started to say above, I took out every item, whether book or ephemera, I intend to include in Catalogue #2. I looked at the group of items as a whole. They will make a nice collection, but each of the items is intrinsically interesting on its own.  I wrote a numbered list of each item I have.

The final tally:  67 items. Out of a hoped-for 100 items.

[Bangs head on desk in frustration.]

While I’m going to start cataloguing the items I have over the summer, it looks like I will remain in book-buying mode for this catalogue for a while to come.

See you in the stacks!

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Chapter 652 Catalogue #2, First Steps

Those of you who are longtime readers of this blog know that Catalogue #1 (aka the Dante Catalgoue) took me [wince] three years to complete. It is now almost 1 1/2 years since I released Catalogue #1.  You’ll note that until now I’ve been smart enough not to announce Catalogue #2. I worry that if I announced Catalogue #2, I might attract questions, questions for which I have few answers. Questions like, “What’s the topic of Catalogue #2?” or “When will Catalogue #2 be issued?” or “Will Catalogue #2 do as well as the Dante Catalogue?”  The last thing I want to do is to run into other booksellers at book fairs and have to explain why I am still not finished with a catalogue on which I started to work a long time ago. I generally stay away from the topic of catalogues unless someone else brings it up first. Or I just carelessly and irrationally blurt it out due to being in a situation where I feel shy and socially awkward. (See link above.)

Fear and avoidance and buying books have allowed me to put off actually writing Catalogue #2 for a while now. However, the recent realization that the relaxed schedule of summer gives me the extra time needed to write an entire catalogue made me reach the conclusion that if I don’t discuss Catalogue #2 with someone (that would be you, dear reader, my captive audience), I may not ever begin to work on it.  Not discussing the catalogue allows me to keep putting off writing it. Telling others about the catalogue makes me accountable. I’ve had a subject for Catalogue #2 for over a year now, and I’ve been in the acquisition phase during that time, researching, buying, and holding items that I think would be a good fit for this catalogue.  Without saying much about the topic just yet, I’ll let you know where I am in the process. It’s my goal to have 100 items for Catalogue #2. I think I have acquired or am close to acquiring that many items. I haven’t kept count on what I’ve bought. Once I buy a book for the catalogue, it gets unpacked and stored on a special bookcase, where I forget all about it while I do other things like plan to attend book fairs, quote and sell books to existing customers, and cook dinners and drive carpools — pretty much anything but sit down and write the catalogue. I’ve decided that the time is finally right.  I need to do several things to get started on making this collection into a curated catalogue.

Step 1:  Go back and re-read what Rostenberg and Stern had to say about bookseller catalogues.

Step 2:  Go back and re-read what I had to say about why booksellers should issue print catalogues and on what I think makes a good bookseller catalogue.

Step 3:  Clear off the dining-room table in my “office” (read: dining room) and lay out each item I have collected. Count to see how many items I have.

Step 4:  Look at and evaluate the collection as a whole. Is it really worthy of the time and money spent on creating a print catalogue? This part can be difficult. Undoubtedly, there will be a few items that end up being culled from the collection, things that seemed right when I bought them that no longer seem to fit the parameters of the project.  The up-side to this is that when I have everything laid out in front of me, I can determine pretty quickly which items will be the “high spots” of the catalogue.

The subject of Catalogue #2 will be revealed in due time.  I’ll be back after I complete steps 1-4, above, to let you  know how many items I have.

See you in the stacks!

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Chapter 610 Pasadena Book Fair Preview, Part 3

UPDATE: This item has sold.

Click on the links to see Part 1 and Part 2 of the preview of some of the items I’ll be bringing to the Pasadena International Antiquarian Book Fair this weekend. I’ll be leaving Thursday morning for the fair, so this post will be my last preview. To see the rest of the items, you’ll have to come to the fair!

Since the release of my Dante catalogue last year, I’ve acquired several other illustrated or unusual Dante-related books. Here’s one set — a group of small (just over the official size for miniature) books of the works of Dante. In its own handmade wooden treasure chest.

This is how the chest looked when I bought it:

After I gave it a thorough dusting, I took a picture of the top:

And the front:

Both the top and front of the chest open to reveal a set of small books by Dante inside: (sorry for the blurry images)

Here’s the view with the top open:

A lovely treasure indeed! I’m still writing the description for it tonight, so I don’t have more specifics at this time, though I will tomorrow. Of course, if you can’t make it out to Pasadena and you want more information about a particular book, please send me an email:

See you at the fair!


Filed under Book Fairs, Book Finds, Catalogues

Chapter 609 Pasadena Book Fair Preview, Part 2: 1898 Spanish American War Scrapbook of the Navigator of the Flagship of the Great White Fleet

UPDATE: This item has sold.

Here’s a preview of another interesting item I’ll be offering for sale at the Pasadena Book Fair this coming weekend. Unfortunately, I unthinkingly wrapped and packed it for the fair before writing this post, so it now sits ensconced among other books and a nest of bubble wrap that I don’t dare disturb and re-pack before I leave. In short, I don’t have photos of this item at this time. If you have queries about this item, please leave a comment or contact me directly at chris AT bookhuntersholiday DOT com.


9” x 13”. 54 pages, without numbers. Quarter leather, marbled green boards. Most of leather missing from spine, but spine still present and item still bound. Rubbed through at corners, boards a bit warped. Still, a significant compilation of historical records.

Every page filled with clippings of maps, charts, newspaper articles and editorials, and poems written by authors such as Ambrose Bierce (p. 4) and Rudyard Kipling (p.5). This scrapbook is filled with clippings from newspapers all over the world: The San Francisco Examiner, The American Soldier, El Comercio (in Spanish), The Hong Kong Telegraph, The Japan Weekly Gazette, and The China Mail. The diversity of articles and illustrations along with the variety of perspectives offered by the many different newspapers provide a fascinating picture of the part of the Spanish American War that ultimately led to Philippine independence.

Carlos Calkins, the man who assembled the scrapbook, was the Navigator on one of the most famous ships in the U.S. Navy when it was known as The Great White Fleet – the U.S.S. Olympia. Captained by Captain (later Admiral) Charles Gridley, the Olympia led the United States’ Asiatic Squadron in an attack on the Spanish fleet in Manila Bay on May 1, 1898. At 5:40 a.m., the Commander of the Squadron, Commodore George Dewey, who watched from atop the Olympia’s flying bridge, hailed Gridley with the now famous words, “You may fire when ready, Gridley.”

The ensuing Battle of Manila Bay ended with the destruction of the Spanish fleet and the surrender of the Philippine capital of Manila. It signaled to the word that the United States was a major naval power.

Tipped-in to the center of the scrapbook are five official documents, many bearing numerous signatures on the verso, written in Spanish. Some of the documents are on the letterhead of the Spanish Chief of the Philippine State. The documents mention a Mass to be said on the eve of a court trial of two Spanish sailors being tried for desertion and for smuggling weapons. Another document, giving an order to transfer a cannon from ship to land is boldly signed by the Spanish Admiral Patricio Montojo. Yet another document, which, judging from the handwriting, was likely written in a hurry, orders the ships in the Spanish Navy to immediately paint their hulls, masts, and smokestacks like a “wet tarpaulin” (greenish/gray – the color of the sea) in order to camouflage themselves. This order is signed on the verso by the commanders of some of the Spanish ships. Also included is a formal Proclamation of the Governor of the Philippines, Polavieja, dated January of 1897. The proclamation decrees that criminals shall be given amnesty as long as they remain loyal to Spain. Criminals not loyal to Spain would be punished by death. Finally, there are three Proclamations from Emilio Aguinaldo, the first president of the Philippines, two of which bear official seals of the “Gobierno Dictatorial Filipinos”.

A very unusual and very interesting artifact of the Spanish-American War, compiled by a person with a bird’s-eye view of the events of the Battle of Manila Bay.


See you at the fair!


Filed under Book Fairs, Book Finds, Catalogues, Uncategorized

Chapter 595 Happy Thanksgiving 2010

When I look back at the year in bookselling, I find I am grateful for many things. A few things in particular stand out for me this year:

1) First and foremost, I am thankful for my health. Having Whooping Cough for nearly three months kept me from achieving some of the bookselling goals I had set for myself this year. Between taking time off and then (still) trying to catch up, it was, at times, frustrating to be ill for such a prolonged amount of time. I have learned not to take good health for granted and to be grateful that the Whooping Cough wasn’t any worse than it was.

2) I am thankful that, after three years of buying, researching, and learning, I finally reached a bookselling milestone that I promised myself I would reach no matter what: I issued my first print catalogue.

3) I am thankful that I was asked to participate in and that the Dante collection made a cameo appearance in a short, documentary film that appears on a video game disc for Electronic Arts video game, Dante’s Inferno. I learned a lot about video games that I hadn’t known before and I like to think that perhaps my small contribution introduced the idea of book collecting to a few potential book collectors.

4) I am thankful that I became a member of the Independent Online Booksellers Association (IOBA) this year. This is a great organization with many resources for booksellers and customers alike.

5) I am thankful that Fine Books & Collections Magazine is back in its traditional print format. I savor the day when each new issue arrives and I can sit with a pot of hot tea and a big bar of chocolate and read it cover to cover.

6) I am thankful to make occasional contributions again to BookThink and the Fine Books and Collections blog. Thankful, too, for joint posts with The Private Library (here and here).

7) I am thankful for my customers, especially this year a couple of librarians who had never heard of me but who took a chance on some of the books from my Dante catalogue.

8) I am thankful for you, the reader(s) of this blog. Thanks for reading and thanks to those of you who’ve corresponded with me. It’s nice to know that someone in addition to my mom reads my blog, and it’s been fun to read about some of your own book collecting and book selling adventures.

9) I am thankful for the wonderful colleagues I have met and who have encouraged me, helped me, mentored me, and shared their love of books with me. The antiquarian book business is a terrific business, but it is made even more wonderful by the people I have encountered along the way.

10) Last but not least, I am so thankful for Thoughtful Husband, Tom and Huck, and my own parents. They have all supported me unconditionally in my quest to become a bona fide antiquarian bookseller. One of my favorite memories of this year was the day that my son, Tom, came with me to help set up for the San Francisco Antiquarian Book Fair last February. I have no idea whether this day is memorable to him other than for all the boxes he had to unload from the Bookmobile. Still, I was really happy to show him that an antiquarian bookseller does lots more than sit in front of a computer screen in the dining room. It was also the day when I distributed the Dante catalogue to the other booksellers at the fair, something I’d been waiting to do for three long years. Tom’s presence made that day extra special for me.

There are other things I had hoped to accomplish this year, but I’ll try for 2011, and there’s plenty more for which to be grateful, but the above are the highlights of 2010 to date. Wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

See you in the stacks!

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Filed under A Bookseller's Education, A Family Business, Catalogues

Chapter 589 What Makes A Good Antiquarian Book Catalogue?

I was recently asked to write on the topic of “What Makes a Good Antiquarian Book Catalogue?” as Part 2 in a series for BookThink. As I only have one print catalogue under my belt to date, I do not claim to have a definitive answer to this question. I wrote about the things that were important to me as I completed Catalogue #1. No doubt, more experienced booksellers and book buyers have their own ideas about the traits of a good print catalogue. You can read Part 1 of the series, which I also posted on this blog, by clicking here.

Click on the link here to read the latest article in the series and see what you think. I’d love to know what you like to see in a print catalogue when you read one. What makes a good catalogue for you?

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Chapter 582 Molto Dante

In the eight months since my Dante catalogue was inflicted on the general public, I have continued to acquire more Dante items. I have not listed them for sale yet, as I am unsure whether I’d like to save them for a future Dante catalogue or whether I should just list them on my website and sell them. (And, no, Dante is not the subject of Catalogue #2, which is in the works, but is still mostly in the acquisition phase.) What do you think? Would you like to see another Dante catalogue or do you think it’s better for me to add these other Dante books to the collection I’ve already offered for sale by listing them on my website?

Here’s a picture of one of my favorite Dante covers. It’s from one of the many and varied editions of Dante translated by Henry Francis Cary and illustrated by Gustave Dore. I just love decorative bindings.

See you in the stacks!

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