Antiquarian Books

Antiquarian books are old, rare or out-of-print books that are extremely valuable in terms of their collectible value. Many people from across the world have hobbies where they concentrate solely on increasing their collection of these antiquarian books. Not just a collectible item, antiquarian books also offer a wonderful read to those who choose to spend their time with them.

Antiquarian books may be quite hard to locate and even when you do manage to find some, they may be quite expensive. This is mainly due to the fact that they are extremely old and rare. Antiquarian books cannot be sold by just any book seller as they require a lot of special care in terms of their upkeep. To start collecting these rare books, you can simply begin by looking for some sellers online.

The best place to start looking for antiquarian books is, undoubtedly, the Internet. However, do not look at the Internet as a buying source, but merely a source to find a seller. It is extremely important that you find an authentic dealer as many sellers may try to sell, supposedly, antiquarian books without any genuine background.

How to verify Antiquarian Books

To know whether the sellers are authentic, you can always visit the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (IIAB), an organization that works across 20 national associations of antiquarian booksellers and has over 2000 leading booksellers, from across the world, in its database. Being a part of the IIAB means that the seller is genuine, has authentic books and is extremely honest in pricing and dealings.

There are many other websites like AntiQBook, which is a gathering of around 900 booksellers across a number of countries and a collection of over 9.5 million books. Most websites mainly look to get you in touch with the booksellers so that you can meet them, talk to them and then check their book collection on your own, first hand. This ensures that you never get fraudulent dealers who sell fake antiquarian books, into your hobby.

Once you have an antiquarian book, it is important to know how to take care of them so as to preserve their quality and value. Surprisingly, taking care of these books is quiet similar to taking care of antique furniture. The first and foremost thing to remember is that these books can get damaged if they are exposed to a varying degree of moisture and temperature. While they are quite resistant to such conditions, it is always wise to avoid such situations and can prevent breakage of their joints, their binding and even their wrapping.

The joint is usually the first part of the book to give way, when it is damaged. The first symptoms of a damaged joint are areas that become friable or have white damage on them. A regular, but small, application of mild leather dressing is advisable to keep them safe and sound. Fungal problems are also common to due excessive exposure to moisture.

Light is also a major enemy, one that not only fades the colour and print on these books, but also acts as a catalyst to the drying up process. Simply placing a UV-resistant film on windows or just keeping the curtains closed during the day, in the rooms where these books are kept, is good enough to keep them safe from light. Remember to keep the books properly, even when placed on a shelf, because leaving them at an angle can twist their cover permanently, especially when the books are kept on these shelves for a long time.

Handling antiquarian books requires extreme care. You should never pull them off the shelves with a finger on the head-cap, at the top of the spine. Sweaty hands can damage the covers and when reading, you need to ensure that you support the front cover when opening or holding it. Dangling a cover, by its own weight, always leads to a tear over time. A loose book jacket is always a great way to maintain these books and you can simply make them on your own, if you have the time.

Unless you have the technical understanding, it is best to leave a torn book as it is. Tape or glue can do more harm than good to the books and most adhesives will react badly to the old pages and covers.

Antiquarian books are great companions that not only allow you to create a wonderful library of old and sought-after, rare books, they also offer wonderful stories for you to go through. However, like all companions, they too require time and effort to be kept healthy and happy. So if you really love such books and are willing to put in the effort it takes, then go ahead and get yourself a wonderful collection of antiquarian books.

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