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Rare Book Collecting

A beginner's guide
Rare Book Collecting Shapero Rare Books

Are you thinking about delving into the world of rare book collecting? We have created a beginner’s guide to give you an overview of what you should know before you embark on your journey of becoming a rare book collector.

Rare Book Collecting Shapero Rare Books
What makes a book rare?
To start collecting, you need to know how to identify features that make a book rare. Some features rare book collectors look out for include:
  • EDITION - First editions are generally the most sought-after.
  • CONDITION - The better the condition, the more valuable the book.
  • COMPLETENESS - The completeness of the book.
  • SCARCITY – How often is it seen in the marketplace?
  • PROVENANCE - The history of a book contributes to its value.
    • SIGNED – by the author, illustrator, or another notable person linked to the book.
    • ASSOCIATION COPIES – has the book been owned by a notable person?
This is not an exhaustive list. Follow our blog for more information in the coming months.
Start with Passion.
Begin by thinking about the rare books you are passionate about. If you love the books you acquire, that will be reflected in your collection.
Find your Subject.
There are books on every imaginable subject.  Finding your Subject Area will allow you to craft your collection meaningfully. There are many ways to approach finding your particularly subject: whether that be collecting around a theme, an author, a historical event, or geographical region. Narrowing it down is the best approach as you can always branch out later.
Buy from the best.
Shapero Rare Books is a member of the ABA and ILAB.  Always ensure that you buy from reputable sources, members of one of the trade associations, which include:
  • The Antiquarian Bookseller’s Association (ABA)
  • The Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America (ABAA)
  • The International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB).
Work with experts.
One of the pleasures of collecting rare books is the opportunity to build lasting relationships with experts in your field. Specialists can advise you and help you to curate your collection, building as your budget grows.  At Shapero Rare Books our specialists have over 250 years of experience between them, with expertise in:
  • Fine illustrated books from the 15th to the 20th century
  • Travel & voyages
  • Natural history
  • Modern firsts
  • Rare children’s books
  • Guidebooks
  • Hebraica & Judaica
  • Works of Russian interest
  • Islamica
Do your research.
There are many books that you can read to start off your book collecting journey. We recommend the ABC for Book Collectors, which is regarded as the Bible for book collectors. It also suggests sources for further reading. If you feel ready to take your expertise to the next level, there are paid courses available both online and offline.

Enjoy collecting!

Now you are ready to start crafting your own rare book collection. Click here to start collecting!

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