Look for the Book Label

Over the many years that I have been collecting and selling antiquarian and secondhand books, I have been intrigued by the small booksellers’ labels that were once a fixture in the book trade. These are typically diminutive, usually small rectangles or circles of paper or foil, discretely pasted to the front or back endpapers of a book. Sometimes they are simple inked stamps.

While I have always noted the bookseller labels in the volumes that I have sold or kept in my personal library, I have refrained from removing the labels to start my own collection. My view has been that the labels became part of the book once the seller affixed them and that they provide a clear line of provenance. Although some collectors will reject an antiquarian book with a permanently glued bookseller’s label.


I recently ran across some collections of these little pieces of the book trade’s history and thought that I’d share some examples.


This entry was posted in Art, Books, Bookstore Tourism, Europe and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.