An interview with Angus Robb as part of our Books not Border series, wherein we're breaking down the barriers to the rare book world and introducing you to the team at Shapero Rare Books and the fascinating world they inhabit here on Bond Street.
With a diverse background in rare books, antique furniture and luxury retail, Angus shares responsibility for the Literature department, with particular emphasis on literary and children's classics, as well as arts and sports. He also manages our Gift department, helping customers find the ideal present for every occasion.
How did you get in to rare books?
As an extremely impoverished student I used to scour the charity and junk shops for books and then share a table in Portobello Road on a Saturday morning; also occasionally in Farringdon.
What is your favourite rare book?
Eeeek! This is a tough one. As a tot I adored ‘The Velveteen Rabbit’ by Margery Williams. A first edition would have been rare to find then and now ever rarer.
What's the most expensive book you've ever sold
A complete set of Jane Austen First editions!
The rare book world is global, where has this job taken you?
One of the most memorable was a trip to the Isle of Mull...
Any advice for budding young collectors?
Buy the best copy you can afford; better to have one decent book than two mediocre ones.
If you had to choose one book currently on the shelves at Shapero to add to your own collection, what would that be?
'A Century of Birds from the Himalaya Mountains' by John Gould.
Last but not least, what does a book specialist read - desert island book choice?
I have always been surprised at the number of very good dealers who rarely read a book and yet are so knowledgeable. Personally, I am a voracious reader, everything from Shakespeare to Zadie Smith.