<<< Continued from previous page

Absent the photograph, some of you may not think that this description is as complete as it might be. There's a stain in the upper right hand corner of the front panel that I would want to know about before bidding, and I might also be concerned with the degradation of the vertical fold between the front and spine panels - is it close to separating? - but keep in mind that the photograph is intended to address at least some of the issues that the description doesn't.

Even so, there's enough shared visual and textual information that things can be learned here. Example: Note that three chips are specified with measurements, the smallest being a -inch chip (out of view) at the foot of the spine panel. But also note that a chip in the upper right corner of the front panel, which appears to be about an eighth of an inch across isn't specified but is presumably addressed in the phrase "some with residual chips." This gives an inexperienced bookseller a fairly precise sense of when a chip is large enough to be noted specifically and small enough to be cast in with other chips generally. Very useful, yes?

In general, auction catalogs are packed with these kinds of opportunities to learn from those with vast book experience. In Part II I'll discuss how catalogs can be used to increase your book terminology vocabulary. Meanwhile, if you don't have any catalogs to study yet, there are many now available online. The following links will take you to some of the best:

Biblion Auctions

Bloomsbury Auction

Bonhams

Christie's

Dominic Winter Book Auctions

Dorothy Sloan Rare Books

Dumouchelles

Freeman's

Bellmans Auctioneers and Valuers

PBA Galleries

Sotheby's

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