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Book Collecting

A slightly revised version of Chapter Two from Jonathan Wantrup, Australian Rare Books 1788 – 1900, (Sydney, Hordern House, 1986).


The importance collectors attach to condition and completeness and to acquiring the most desirable copy of a book inevitably involves the new collector in the technicalities of book production and distribution. The level of technical expertise acquired and practised by each collector will be determined by his enthusiasm and the level of connoisseurship he sets for himself. Even though few collectors aim to become experts in the field of bibliography they all find that a modicum of knowledge is required for success. This chapter provides a very rudimentary account of how books are made up and how they may be altered. But no few pages can replace a collector’s own gradually acquired experience...