The Next Best Book Club discussion

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Revive a Dead Thread > Old/Antique Books

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message 1: by Fiona (new)

Fiona (bookcoop) I love old books and I've picked up a few. Oldest probably come from the very late 19th C and none of them could really be called antiques, just old discarded volumes none at all very valuable.

But they fascinate me. I have a book of German poetry and there is a book plate inside with the name of the owner and the date - 1939 which is interesting. He's also scribbled something unintelligible (could be german or english I wouldn't know) inside too.

I have some old 1930's copies of Lourna Doone and Ivanhoe and some more old copies of Dickens. All rather dirty but but fascinating. I like to think who owned them last.

Books back then seemed to be made so much nicer looking as well.


message 2: by Heather (new)

Heather (hsditto) I have two older books which I love...

Gone with the Wind - from 1964. This was given to me by my best friend as a graduation present in 1990.

Jane Eyre - I have no idea how old this book is! The only date I can find is at the end of the Author's Preface and is dated 1847, but I don't know if that is the actual date of this edition or not. There was also a bookmark left in the book by its previous owner. They noted two bible versus on the back of the bookmark and the date 1946. Of course, I keep the bookmark in the book and use it whenever I read it!

There is definitely something special about older books...They feel different when you are holding them and reading out of them. For me, it really adds to the "atmosphere" of the book when I'm reading it.


Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner) (perpetualpageturner) | 636 comments mine aren't ridiculously old..but i have some very old Nancy Drew books that were my moms and she said they were her grandmothers i guess. I think they are first edition. i love them so much. mostly because they remind me of my mother.


message 4: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 9861 comments Mod
From all the library sales I have been going to, I have been picking up some very old copies of novels.... Dickens Christmas Carol is from '36, I cant remember titles and authors but i have quite a few that are from 1910's, 1930's and a whole bunch from the 60's....


message 5: by Kandice (new)

Kandice I have a super old leather bound Poe, and a couple of really old books of poetry. From the 1800's. I am at work, so I will look when I get home. I agree that books from that period are beautiful! They are generally leather bound, gold leafed, and the pages are so rich! I love the way there is a piece of tissue opposite an illustration. I would guess they were expensive, so it just shows how much someone must have loved to read to invest in them. I always buy them when I see them at garage sales, thrift stores, church bazaars, whatever.
They smell lovely too!


message 6: by Carrie (new)

Carrie (missfryer) | 454 comments I have an old Huckleberry Finn


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 1736 comments I love a copy of The Arabian Nights that was my great-grandmother's - it's inscribed "From the Savannah cousins, Merry Christmas 1882." Cool cover, blue leather with gold on it, and cool stories inside it, too.

I also love the copy of Daddy Long-Legs I grew up with, which was my grandmother's. It was released for the Mary Pickford movie version, and has still photos from the movie in it, which are a hoot.

I also have her copy of Gone With the Wind - a 1938 edition, I think.


message 8: by Kandice (new)

Kandice My copy of Daddy Long Legs is pretty old too! I adored that book as a girl and have let countless little girls who run through my house borrow it. I treasure that book. Not only for the story inside, but it's oldness, and the memories of discussions with my daughter and her friends after reading it. I write their names and date they returned it in ink in the inside flap. I hope my granddaughters will one day read it. (if I get any!)


message 9: by Cindy (new)

Cindy (cookiejarprincess) I have a 1959 paperback edition of Hamlet that belonged to my grandmother. I have several old books that belonged to her but most of them are being stored and I don't remember what exactly I have.


message 10: by Kandice (last edited Jan 19, 2009 03:37PM) (new)

Kandice I read a book The Ice Queen A Novel that described the smell of old books as water. I immediately ran off to smell one. They DO! Like a spring. Earthy, but clean. I love that smell.


message 11: by Apokripos (new)

Apokripos (apokalypse) Yeah there is really something about old books.
Hemingway is one of my favorite authors and I've been blessed to get a 1959 first edition of the The Old Man and the Sea published by Scribner Sons.
Since antique books are pricey and hard to get by I just content my self getting the hardbound first edition of some books. They're going to get old anyway.


message 12: by Kandice (new)

Kandice I am home now, so looking at my books. My oldest are an Edgar A. Poe, published in 1875.
Longfellow's Poetical Works, published 1884.
Longfellow's Complete Poems, published 1902.

That's the three oldest I have. They are all leather with tissue facing illustrations. I bought two at a churh sale and one at an estate sale.




message 13: by James (new)

James Nevius I inherited some wonderful old books--some as old the 17th-century--that are great keepsakes if not very valuable. However, the best of the lot is my Great-Great-uncle's bible, which he carried with him on the SS Quaker City with Mark Twain for the voyage that would become The Innocents Abroad or, The New Pilgrims' Progress.


message 14: by James (new)

James Nevius I inherited some wonderful old books--some as old the 17th-century--that are great keepsakes if not very valuable. However, the best of the lot is my Great-Great-uncle's bible, which he carried with him on the SS Quaker City with Mark Twain for the voyage that would become The Innocents Abroad or, The New Pilgrims' Progress.


message 15: by Hayes (new)

Hayes (hayes13) Does everyone know about Project Gutenberg? http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Main_Page

which produces e versions of public domain (copyright free) books.


message 16: by Jeane (new)

Jeane | 4891 comments Now I am wondering from when my book was that I bought in a shop with books. it looked very old and besides that the reason I bought it was that it was about history of countries and ad maps in it and some were about Italy. Other maps too but it must be old because it showed the geography much different than we have it now.... I could just buy the books yo see what they wrote in them those times, to hold it and know it has a whole life behind him.....


message 17: by Andra (new)

Andra (aezadnik) I have a second printing from 1936 (with it's dust jacket!!) and a first printing of Animal Farm as well as 1984. My grandfather also stole his high school American history book which doesn't have the Great Depression in it.

I also have first editions with their dust jackets of a great deal of Stephen King books (my parents were big fans in the 70s). I've looked online for how much they would sell for, and it's pretty surprising.

I love going to used book stores and finding pretty hardcovers. It really doesn't even matter to me if I've read the book before, or what year it was published, I just like how beautiful and old they are.


message 18: by [deleted user] (new)

I love antique/old books! I grew up in my parents antique shop and my father was the Bibliophobia- which I proudly inherited this from him.

I have a beautiful English complete works of shakespeare from 1863. My favorite book. No one is allowed to touch it. I have Keats and Byron's in these cute little leather back copies from late 1890's. I have a very cute Lutheran book of Prayers in German from about 1886. I love it but can't speak a word of German.

I own a lot of books from about 1915 to 1930's. I love first editions.


message 19: by Gracee (new)

Gracee  | 99 comments I have what is, apparently an old reader school book that belonged to my Uncle. He scrawled his name in pen on the inside...lol Misspelled his last name, scratched it out with one line, and wrote it correctly. His penmanship is obviously from a very young child

It's called "The Winston Readers" (by) Firman and Maltby. It's a "Third Reader" (third grade maybe)
Anyway, it's quite old, and the stories in it are fascinating...
Copyright 1918


message 20: by Dorie (new)

Dorie (dorieann) | 430 comments I have a couple of very old books, but I'm not sure how to date them. There is no publication date listed, and on one there is not even a copyright date.

Little Men by Louisa May Alcott
Barnaby Rudge and Hard Times by Charles Dickens

I also have an instructional book about marriage and setting up house that was given to my mother when she married in the early 60's. It's so dated it is now quite funny to read through it. I'm saving it to give to my niece when she gets married, as a way of having her grandmother there with her (in spirit).



message 21: by Kandice (new)

Kandice I have a pregnancy guide that was my grandmother's when she was having her children. It's from the 40's, I can't remember exactly the year, but it tells you that you should try to cut back on cigarettes to 6 or less a day during pregnancy, and to limit alcohol to 2 or less per day!!! It also says to expect to stay in the hospital 7-10 days and lists all you should pack! The list reads like a cruise suitcase. I love the book, because it's just so funny. I took it to a baby shower last week and we all got a good laugh!


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 1736 comments That sounds priceless, Kandice!


message 23: by Christi (new)

Christi | 35 comments I just read an article about how Sci Fi writer Ackerman's collection was going on auction. First edition signed Frankenstein among others. He had a signed Dracula also with Bella Ligosi's (sp? sorry) signature. I'm sure it would cost 2 arms and a leg but how cool is that.


message 24: by Gabby (new)

Gabby R. Someone in my Language arts class has one of the few original Corps of Discovery journals from 1807 or something. I, personallly, have no old books.


message 25: by Bluedaizy (last edited Mar 05, 2009 06:08PM) (new)

Bluedaizy | 136 comments Christi wrote: "I just read an article about how Sci Fi writer Ackerman's collection was going on auction. First edition signed Frankenstein among others. He had a signed Dracula also with Bella Ligosi's (sp? sorr..."

I just love Bela Lugosi! I vant to suck your blooood! hehehe...that would be a great book to have!

I collect books. I probably have over 2000 all together. I've got most of the books with ISBNs cataloged, but have yet to finish cataloging those prior to ISBNs. I have a Pilgrim's Progress that's so old it doesn't have a publish/copyright date. I don't think it's dollar value is much, but I just LOVE LOVE LOVE it! It has a creamy white binding with gold leaf lettering and peacocks imprinted in gold leaf on the cover. Priceless to me. (I'd post a picture if I could get that HTML to work for me.)

I also have a book called Livingston The Pathfinder by Basil Matthews, copyright 1912 with a really cool picture of a man with a rifle getting mauled my a lion. I may have been pmsing when I bought it, but it seemed perfect at the time.

And these are not even my favorite old books. I'm truly blessed.


message 26: by Liz (last edited Mar 05, 2009 06:36PM) (new)

Liz (arcanepenguin) | 285 comments For three years my job was to price/describe and find old/rare/out of print books. I'll start by trying to answer some of the questions people have. This really is my area so feel free to message me if you have a specific question and I'll try to answer it.

If you have a book without a copyright date, your best best to get an *estimate date* is to search the Title, Author and Publisher on www.abebooks.com. Only look at the books that have a description of what the book looks like (color of covers, description of pictures/name illustrator). A lot of times you can find an estimate date for your book that way.

All of you who have interesting copies of the Pilgrim's Progress - Pay Attention: there are some crazy collectors of that book. They specifically collect that book in as many interesting editions as possible.

Jamie, if you truly have Nancy Drew first editions in very good or better condition (and in dust jackets) you need to find out and insure them. They can be worth serious money. If you want to find out more you can check out http://www.nancydrewsleuth.com/. It's much easier to figure out if you have first editions from the jacket (sometimes the only way to know), but sometimes specific end papers can be worth money even without the jacket.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 1736 comments Gabby wrote: "Someone in my Language arts class has one of the few original Corps of Discovery journals from 1807 or something. I, personallly, have no old books."

Good God.


message 28: by Katie (last edited Mar 05, 2009 08:02PM) (new)

Katie Flora Wilkins (Kflora) My grandmother had a nice little library of books, leather-bound, hardback and paperback. A couple of years before she died, she began telling us to go on and take what possessions we wanted (she also had a lot of antique pottery and furniture) Whenever she'd tell me to load up she would turn towards her bookshelves. But I was too shy and didn't want to appear greedy, and only carried out a paperback or two. Now I wish I said, "just a minute, I'll be back with a U-Haul." Sad, because she KNEW I was her reading grandchild.

As for books, the only thing I really covet, antique or not, is a complete set of "Nancy Drew" books. I'd read them in order, on a hammock, under our double-bloom Rose of Sharon tree during late spring and summer, without 80 mosquitoes hacking at me for my blood.

I guess a girl has to dream a little...


message 29: by Janette (new)

Janette (ash62407) | 13 comments I have a copy of Pride and Prejudice from 1947 that I ordered on ebay for like four dollars! It's a little shabby but I like it!


message 30: by Mosca (last edited Mar 06, 2009 07:34AM) (new)

Mosca | 828 comments The only collectible book I have is a copy of the original 1973 hardback version of Gravity's Rainbow. I had practically destroyed 4 or 5 paperback editions over the years paging back and forth as this non-linear book requires. So I went looking for a good hardback version only to discover that they are not at all common and only available as collectibles. So I bought this one on-line a few years back.

My sister has all the old family heirlooms, including the old books.


message 31: by Croyle (new)

Croyle Smith | 5 comments Hayes wrote: "Does everyone know about Project Gutenberg? http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Main_Page

which produces e versions of public domain (copyright free) books."


I love that site , My daughter has found a lot of her required reading books for school there . and my favorite was the transcript from Susan B Anthonys trial.



message 32: by Croyle (new)

Croyle Smith | 5 comments And my most treasured old book ( sounds crazy ) is the, 1935 library edition dictionary from Brown college. Yeah I know its just a dictionary but its kind of cool.


message 33: by Bluedaizy (new)

Bluedaizy | 136 comments Croyle wrote: "And my most treasured old book ( sounds crazy ) is the, 1935 library edition dictionary from Brown college. Yeah I know its just a dictionary but its kind of cool. "

Croyle! If you're crazy, then I am too. Well, I really am a bit crazy, but I TOTALLY DIG dictionaries! I probably have about 50 and the older the better. They have the coolest words. And I usually can't be beat at Scrabble. "...just a dictionary..." shame on you! :)


message 34: by Rosemary (new)

Rosemary | 170 comments I have a copy of King Henry the IV part one that was printed in 1895. Original owner's signature and the date is inscribed on the inside flap and then another person from San Diego who had it in 1973. Notations on the inside cover that convert old British money into pounds and shillings, etc. There are engravings throughout and notes in pencil in the margins. I got it at a used bookstore for a dollar a long time ago.


message 35: by Margaret (new)

Margaret | 1 comments I think my oldest book is a first edition of Gone with the Wind. It is from the August Printing (The first printing was in May, I think). My good friend Seanna gave it to me and I love it! It is not in the best condition. It definitely looks well loved. Over the title on the title page is scrawled "To Lillian From Stewart". Such good,romantic names for a good, romantic book.


message 36: by Terri (new)

Terri (terrilovescrows) | 218 comments I have a very old copy of L'Morte de Arthur and also a fabulous antique book of Kells. I stumbled on them both at an antique shop several years ago


message 37: by Hayes (last edited Mar 22, 2009 05:25AM) (new)

Hayes (hayes13) Croyle wrote: "Hayes wrote: "Does everyone know about Project Gutenberg? http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Main_Page

which produces e versions of public domain (copyright free) books."

I love that site , My dau..."


I was thinking along the lines that people could offer their old/antique books for processing and adding to the list of free ebooks. You scan them (or have them scanned) and then they get turned into ebooks for everyone to enjoy.




message 38: by Shannon (new)

Shannon I have a copy of Charles Dickens' Pickwick Papers that was given to my husband for Xmas 1926. It's a huge, heavy hardback, with delightful colour illustrations, each one covered with tissue paper. There seems to be a special magic in a book like this.


message 39: by Stef (new)

Stef (buch_ratte) | 650 comments My oldest book is from 1904: THE BETTER NEW YORK by Dr. Wm. H. Tolman and Charles Hemstreet. I haven't read it yet but since I am a big New York fan I had to have it when it was available at ebay.
Beside that I own some NESTHÄKCHEN-books from the late 1920s which I got from my mother-inlaw.


message 40: by Jon (new)

Jon i want an old leathery bound classic that you might find on the shelves of a stately home! - i did have a huge thick British history book, it was only volume 1 of 2, i think it was from the 1800s v hard to read and bad condition but it seemed special, i think its laying around my folks place somewhere


Elizabeth (Alaska) We have a couple of rather spendy books we picked up. One is a Unit History from my grandfather's unit in World War I. He was killed in France near the end of that war and my father, who died when I was young, never talked about him. There is a photo of my grandfather in the book and it talks about that battle and that he was lost. We also picked up a history of the fishing industry in Alaska at the turn of the 20th century and the treaties and alliances in place at that time. Ketchikan where I live, was an important part of that history.


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