Monday, 17 July 2017

Personal Inscriptions in Words and Pictures

Kate Greenaway
Kate Greenaway

When I first got into book collecting I only looked for children’s books published during the so called ‘Golden Age of Children’s Literature’ (the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries).  This was when picture books came to the fore mostly due to the improvements in lithography and early photolithography. Walter Crane, Kate Greenaway, Randolph Caldecott and Arthur Rackham are the people most readily associated with the ‘Golden Age’.Other names you may be familiar with are Edmund Dulac, Kay Nielsen, Willy Pogany and Ida Rentoul Outhwaite.
Ida Rentoul Outhwaite - Elves & Fairies
Ida Rentoul Outhwaite 

Now I collect books of all kinds, new, old, with or without pictures, fiction or non fiction.  All are precious to me, but those with a little 'added extra' in the form of an original drawing or personal inscription must rate highly on my list of favourites.


The Dragon Whisperer Lucinda Hare
The Dragon Whisperer Lucinda Hare

I’ve yet to read The Dragon Whisperer, but it doesn’t stop me drooling over this wonderful hand drawn dragon. To be honest I’m rather loath to read it because I would like to keep it pristine. I may well buy a second unsigned copy to read.

Katie Cleminson Box of Tricks
Monty the polar bear from the Box of Tricks by Katie Cleminson

In The Box of Tricks by Katie Cleminson Eva is given a very special present. She Opens it, jumps in and becomes a master magician. TA-DAH! This is a truly beautiful book, and the original drawing and signature make it that extra bit special.

I have a large collection of books by my sweet friend, author and illustrator Nicole de Cock

Nicole de Cock Het Jaar Yan de das

They are all very dear to me made more so by the sweet messages from Nicole. 

Nicole de Cock


Nicole de Cock

Nicole de cock Zullen we spelen, Bout?

Nicole de Cock

The one that follows is extra special because Nicole sent it after our much-loved little dog died.
Nicole de Cock Bout en Moertje

When I opened the front cover, I found this and wept happy tears along with the sad ones. 

Nicole de Cock

Emily Gravett has written and illustrated numerous children's books, and I have many of them on my shelves. When I spotted this one at a car boot sale, I was more than happy to pay the seller the asking price of 10p. I didn’t realise it was signed until I got it home. A bargain I think you will agree.

Meerkat Mail Emily Gravett

Meerkat Mail Emily Gravett


26a Diana Evans
In 26a identical twins, Georgia and Bessi live in the loft of 26 Waifer Avenue. Their Nigerian mother puts cayenne pepper on Yorkshire pudding, and their father roams the streets of Neasden, prey to the demons of his Derbyshire upbringing. Forced to create their own identities, the children build a separate universe. Older sister Bel discovers sex, high heels, and organic hairdressing; the twins prepare for a flapjack empire; and baby sister Kemy learns to moonwalk like Michael Jackson

I love the story and the inscription by Diana Evans. 
Inscription in 26a Diana Evans

The final book in this selection is special because of the dedication. I can't tell you how excited I was when I first saw it.  Fame at last! 😀 


Kongomato Roger Lawrence
If you've not read Kongomato you are missing out on a treat. I loved it as did this reviewer on Amazon: 

"Roger Lawrence's Kongomato is horror most primal. Scary, vivid, quite horribly brilliant as you are carried on and on into the terrifying adventure a young scientist is forced to take, not only by his conscience when his friend disappears but also by The Prime Minister of England himself. Dinosaurs in the 21st century? How can we take it seriously? Read this book and find out why for yourself...if you dare! This reader is still shaken from the experience. Theresa Dawn Sinclair"

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If you are considering collecting signed books as an investment, it's worth remembering not all inscriptions add value.

For example, to a collector of a specific author, a signed presentation copy inscribed to them will be a unique item and of special value. Previously, this type of inscription may have been seen to be of greater value and interest as there may have been a story behind the inscription. But, with the increase of book signing events, these items are more common today. If you are interested in collecting signed books as an investment, then look for copies without personal inscriptions.

However, there is an exception to this rule: A book signed and inscribed by an author to a person equally famous or more famous than the author is likely to have significantly more value. 

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Do you collect signed books?  If not is that because you have no interest in them, or because you prefer your books to be unmarked?

If you are an author do you enjoy signing books or find it a chore? 

56 comments:

  1. Good morning Barbara dear!

    What a gift it is to have such a personalized touch in your collection! Nicole's lovely gestures and drawings and messages must truly bring tears to your eyes every time you see her message. When I open a book, I truly get lost in it, whether it's a French novel, English or a good picture book that allows the drawings to transport me.

    It's sad to me that many young people these days have traded in books for their phones that seem to have become an appendage. You have a great hobby/business because you preserve not only pen and ink, but soulful thoughts. Happy day!

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    1. Dear Anita,
      It is ‘just’ a hobby these days but no less fulfilling for that. Thank you for you always kind words and happy thoughts.
      I agree with you re young people and phones, they miss out on all the lovely things going on around them. Don’t get me wrong I love the way we are all connected now, but I also enjoy time away from it.
      Have a lovely week.

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  2. I have several signed books, but none as lovely as your illustrated and signed ones! I don't collect them, but value them when I get them! Have a great week, hugs, Valerie

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  3. Most of my books are from my years and years in school. Sad, but true, I don't really collect many books. I think your signed books are fabulous. I especially liked the ones by Nicole de Cock and the Meerkat Mail. I have a friend who collects anything Meerkat, so she would really LOVE that book, 10 p or $10.00 (USD).

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    1. Sorry it’s 10p (ten pence GBX) which probably equates to $0 (USD) I don’t think the seller had any love for it all, but it’s OK because I will make up for it.
      I’m really lucky to know Nicole de Cock, without the Internet we would never have met, actually we haven’t met, but we became good friends online.

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    2. I just read your comment on my blog about this comment I made. I know that 10 p is about 8 cents in US money. I was being flip, I guess. What I meant was, it didn't matter if she paid 10 (US) cents, 10 p (British equivalent) or $10.00 US dollars. She would probably have even paid $100.00 (USD) or around 80 pounds British. Sorry, I don't have one of those cute "L" signs that represents pounds in your country. I should have been clearer that Sally LOVES Meercats.

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    3. Oh I can see that now! I’m so sorry I misread your comment it was just me being a bit stupid. Thanks for clarifying. Sally would definitely love this little book it’s gorgeous.

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  4. What a fabulous collection of signed books. Thanks for sharing it with us, Barbara. I have a bunch of signed books but I know they have no value whatsoever, so I have no problem passing them on to the library book shop. I do, however, keep some that are special to me.

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    1. I don’t suppose mine are valuable in monetary terms, but they are priceless to me as I’m sure yours are to you and to the library.

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  5. I have a few books signed by my indie author, blogger friends. I have a book from the early 1900s inscribed by the original owner, which I think is lovely.

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    1. I love finding books with a previous owner’s name or a gift inscription. I know some people don’t like it, but I think it adds something to the history of the book.

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  6. You have a lot of signed and very personalized books, which is really cool! I still treasure my signed Terry Brooks novel.

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    1. It really is time I read something by Terry Brooks. I feel as if I’m missing out.

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  7. Those signatures and drawings are stunning! They are as enticing as any cover or blurb could ever be.

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    1. I couldn’t agree more I appreciate the thought that went into each and everyone of them.

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  8. How wonderful that you have these beautiful treasures, Barbara! Thank you so much for sharing.

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    1. Thank you Linda, I enjoyed sharing them.
      I’m late coming to see you today but will be over soon.

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  9. How wonderful, thank you for sharing these much treasured books.

    I can see the point about books without personal inscriptions being of more value though I have had some strange looks when requesting that a book not be dedicated to myself/someone else.

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    1. I understand that too Tracy, someone called Fred would hardly want a book dedicated to Barbara, but I don’t care. I’m being selfish just now as my greatest regret is actually selling so many beautiful books in the past. If my collection ends up being worth something one day my family will benefit, and if it doesn’t then I’m sure they will forgive me. (Or I hope they will) :)

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  10. Barbara, thank you so much for mentioning my book. Considering the real works of art you have sold and read I'm truly honoured.

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    1. Don’t do yourself down Roger, Kongomato is a wonderful book, and I’m more than honoured by the dedication.

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  11. Do you know Mariapia? Carla Ruffinelli? Anna Franzoni? Maria Soffiantini? They are italian illustrators about 1930-1960. I Think you could like them!
    I have a blog about illustrator from all the world. Perhaps you could enjoy it!
    http://soloillustratori.blogspot.it/
    Ciao!

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    1. Hello, thank you so much for your comment and link. I’ve just had a very quick look at your blog and have to tell you it is beautiful! I will be back as soon as I get the time. I don’t know the names you mention, but I will enjoy finding out about them.
      Thank you, Barbara

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  12. I am a book hoarder rather than a collector. I do however, have some books signed and enscribed by the author. And treasure them.

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    1. I rather think hoarders, and collectors are one and the same – I just don’t like to admit to being a hoarder. :-)

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  13. I hold dear my copies of signed books. I have books signed by Margaret Atwood, Jane Goodall, Alexander McCall Smith and Michael Ondaatje as well as others. As an author, I love signing my books for those who wish me to. I love the wonderful way your friend Nichole signs her books!

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    1. How lovely Darlene, maybe you could share some of your signed books one day. Nicole is such a special person, and I feel very lucky to know her.

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  14. What a wonderful collection of signed books you have! I love your choice in illustrations at the top of your post, too. As you know I have a bunch of signed books that I cherish. Lately, I'm realizing I don't really go out of my way to collect anything, but those things I love best I tend to save for years and years until on their own they become a collection of sorts. As an author I love to sign books for readers. It was fun to come up with little citations to include. Fun post, Barbara, thanks for sharing your treasures!

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    1. Hello Marcia, I so enjoyed your post about signed books that I just had to copy you! Thank you for the inspiration. I love how we all get ideas from one another. It keeps the blogging world going around.
      Collections have a way of evolving over time so that something that starts out as an interest becomes a passion, and before you know it you are a collector.
      Have a lovely week.

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  15. What a fascinating post! I love to find signed books and books with "provenence" sp? a history of an interesting previous owner. I have many among my collections. Book collecting has given me so much joy and many adventures over the years.Now I don't collect as much, but I enjoy reading what I have. And of course, I LOVE reading blogs like yours and Marcia's about books! Thank you for another beautiful post- you do have an enchanting collection, Barbara! I must admit, I have not collected as an investment-I hope to keep enjoying my books until I leave the planet! I know some of my books are quite valuable- but I would not sell a dear friend!

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    1. Hello Colleen, I wouldn’t sell any of these. They are far too precious to me. I guess my family will dispose of them one day (perhaps when I end up in an old folk’s home!) :-)
      I have some in my collection that I’ve admired but not read, but I hope to rectify that over the coming months/years.
      I love Marcia’s blog too and more often than not something she writes will spark something in me and off I go on another blog adventure.

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  16. Dear Barbara - those books signed by Nicole must be priceless to you. What a special touch to honor your sweet pet Rosie. It was such fun to take a pleasant stroll through your book collection. I love Kate Greenaway's illustration of the two girls. Her work is lovely. So glad you shared friend. Hope your day is good. Hugs!

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    1. It was lovely of Nicole to think of Rosie, but then she is a lovely person. Thank you for coming over Debbie, I appreciate it very much. Have a lovely rest of the week. x

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  17. Oh, Barbara, this is very special, particularly from Nicole and Roger. Touching.
    I love signed books in general, but especially from author buds.

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    1. Book lovers always love books, so how could we not love them when they are gifts from friends. Thanks for visiting Sandra, have a good rest of the week.

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  18. Dear Barbara I loooved the signed books especially the ones signed by your friend Nicole. They must be so special to you as they were meant for you and not just a find. Thank you so much for sharing these. Also what luck to have found a book signed by Emily Gravett. Wonderful post!

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    1. You’re right Shashi, the fact that someone would take time to write something just for me (and to draw a picture) makes them extra special. I will treasure them always.
      Have a lovely week.

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  19. Kate Greenway does a wonderful job doesn't she?

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  20. Your blog post is so special. But I love signed books.

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  21. What gorgeous illustrations! My children's lit class was the favorite of my grad program and I find children's illustrators as some of the great artists of the days past and present. This is a wonderful collection. Oh, I'd give anything to even have a book to sign -- and I don't think I'd tire of it for a long while.

    I just wanted to also thank you for your comments on Marmelade Gypsy -- I'm late in responding, so forgive me, but your great comments always mean such a lot to me and always make me smile.

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    1. Hello Jeanie, thank you for your sweet comment. I love visiting you at Marmelade Gypsy it’s one of my favourite blogs. Have a perfect weekend. Barbara.

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  22. What a fine collection and such precious keepsakes! Love the artwork in these lovely books! Hope you are having a wonderful summer! ~ Diane

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    1. Hello Diane, they are precious to me and that’s for sure. It’s been a bit damp and chilly for a few days, but the sun is shining brightly this morning so perhaps summer has returned. Have a lovely week. Barbara.

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  23. Wow, what a beautiful collection you have Barbara!! Amazing! Love the artwork! Big Hugs!

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  24. Thank you for sharing these treasured books, so nice to see them here on your post.

    All the best Jan

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  25. I love those inscriptions Barbara.

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  26. I've got quite a few signed books. Not really a collection, just books I've had signed when I've met various authors. :)

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    1. Hi Nikki-ann, you have a collection without really knowing it. :)

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  27. I loved seeing your collection of signed books. I think illustrators usually do very creative signings/drawings. I have a collection of signed books- some are signed to me, but most are general signings.

    The dedication to you and Donna Yates is fabulous! :)

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    1. Hi Stephanie, the dedication is indeed fabulous! Perhaps you will share some of your signed books one day? Have a lovely weekend, Barbara

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I really appreciate your comment. Thank you!
Barbara xx

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