Speaking of Antiquing – November 2015

One thing that I find extremely attractive in a home is a well-stocked book shelf. I hope not to be rude when I saunter over and read the spines of your tomes. Whether you have read them or not, beauty is foremost in collecting and design. You can turn simple into simple elegance by the book arrangements you employ.

Use the magic of three, or seven when arranging a shelf. Stand three cloth or leather-bound books together, add a fine piece of art pottery or a crystal vase. Now cluster seven books and another object d’art. Try laying the books on their sides for the next cluster, with something attractive on top. There are no rules, design and collecting is subjective. You can turn a shelf full of paperback novels into an attractive display simply by adding interesting items, as well.

Collectors and designers tend to want to find antique books, volumes at least 100 years old. Leather-bound books give a feel of richness and comfort to a room. If you can find a rare first edition, or an author’s collection, you have found a treasure indeed.

I recently found a few 1880’s poetry books that were crudely hand-bound, with a soft suede cover, and loosely-sewn pages. You must turn the pages ever so carefully, so as to not tear the linen paper.

Cloth-bound books are often decorated with colorful lettering and a simple design. This style book gives a room a cheery effect, and makes you want to pick one and cozy-up with a hot cup of tea and a quilt in a comfortable chair, and read until the day forces you to stop.

You might have a color scheme to your room so you will want to collect books with covers of a certain color. It seems like publishers used red cloth covers for a very long time. Artwork on the outside of the pages is a very interesting feature and quite collectible. Marbled pages, gold-trimmed, solid colors, swirled designs, all offer a collector something to search for.

Tiny multi-volume collections are fun to find. Numbered collections of Shakespeare or poetry with the books being small enough to fit in your pocket were popular at the turn of the 20th century. Finding a complete set is often a challenge.

Buying a book as a decorative object is one thing, but don’t overlook the reason for the publication in the first place. Is it an interesting story or a history? Fiction or non-fiction, think twice before ignoring a book shelf in a thrift shop or antique store…you never know what interesting bit of history, poetry or literature you might find.

Do you ever wonder why your grandmother was such a wonderful cook? Try finding some old cook books and making the recipes.

And, what’s better than finding an old children’s story book with fantastic art work and turning the pages and diving into the fantasy of the illustrations before you even read the words?