Repair exlibris stamps (press and ink) possible?
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I have a few books I inherited some years ago, and for various reasons I am thinking of parting with them. Trouble is some have ex lib press stamps, and some have ex lib ink stamps.
Some of these books are worth upwards of $500 without an ex lib mark. Among them what I believe to be a first edition of Farewell to Arms and Mein Kampf.
Any help would be appreciated. If possible contact me via email at matt . gassner at gmail . com (remove spaces)
My first, rather snooty reaction is to ask how you might feel if you paid top dollar for a first edition of Farewell to Arms and then found it had been "improved"?
My rather more practical reaction is that it would probably cost more than the worth of a significant first edition to remove all trace of the library origin, if that were even possible.
This raises the interesting question as to why (some) first editions are more valuable than subsequent ones, and, for that matter, why the book being an ex-library copy should make any difference, assuming that it has not been damaged.
Are we talking ex libris here, or library stamps, as abbottthomas understood it? In most cases I would be paying more for a copy that has good, intact ex libris in it than a blank one. If, however, "ex libris" means something different from "bookplate", then I recuse myself.
Ex-libris in rare book terminology means a book that is marked as being part of a public/academic library.
It is definitely not proper to remove ex libris stamps. The same techniques that can be used to remove the stamps from books withdrawn from a library can also be used to remove the stamps from a book you stole from a library. If a reputable book dealer detects any such tampering (and trust me, they're looking for it) they will not deal with you. (In the U.S. a book dealer discovered with a stolen book must return it to the library without compensation).
I remember yearning for a copy of Sinclair Lewis' Babbitt I saw for sale that had the book plate of Susan and Adolph (Harpo) Marx. Other collectors may be more purists than I am but I think signs of previous owners, even ones who are not famous, help place a book in time.
An ex-library book, except for non-fiction, is worthless to a collector.
An ex-library book, except for non-fiction, is worthless to a collector.
Depends on how rare it is - but mostly yes. And for non-fiction it's no bonus either.
I think I have a mistake in my definitions.
It's ex lib of an individual, not a library, the individual did translate numerous works, and is cited in some other works, but I still think it would hurt rather than improve the value.
As far as it being 'improved' I never thought of it quite that way, but rather as a repair, which if noted I see no issue with, even if not noted as it isn't a fraud, but rather a fix.
Thank you for so many great replies.
As I mentioned, I would pay more for a book with the intact bookplate of a previous owner. Especially if I had reason to believe that the copy I was holding in my hands was the specific copy that a translation was made from.
But if you are convinced that the bookplate detracts from the value of the book, nothing that a bookplate collector can say will change your mind.
Sorry, I forgot that these were stamps, not bookplates. Stamps are slightly less interesting, and for some collectors do detract from the value. Not for me, though.
If the book is only, at best worth a few dollars it is not likely to make any difference what you do to it.
If it is worth even twenty dollars to a collector tell them everything. I have seen people get upset that a dustjacket came from another copy of the same issue.
You may consider it a fix but, unless they are told about it, a collector will consider it fraud.
And if you say something like "ex libris stamp removed" (at least in the US), they'll be thinking it came from an organizational library not a personal library.
I would put something like "owners mark removed" or "erased". Ex libris, I think Latin for "from the library" (please keep in mind I am a bookworm not a linguist) is to often taken for ex-library.
In European circles, "Ex Libris" almost exclusively refers to the bookplate of a private individual; hence my earlier confusion.
Ex libris does mean "from the library" and can technically be the library of a private individual or an organization library. In the US book trade ads it's short-hand for from an organization library.
"Owners mark removed" still doesn't make this distinction. "Private owner's mark"? Of course, if you're not selling in the U.S., maybe if doesn't matter. ari.joki what do European's call books from public or academic libraries that have been withdrawn from a collection and are now for sale?
In Finnish it would be "kirjaston hylkykappale". The German "Mängelexemplar" can mean publisher's discards as well as library discards, and I'm pretty sure I have seen something like "ex-Bibliothek". For each of these, obvious abbreviations exist. I'm not really a bibliophiliac, so I'm not very confident about the terminology, and completely ignorant about the usage in Romance languages.
It means literally "from the books" (of ...; the name should really be in the genitive case, but nobody Latinizes their names these days); a better translation would use "collection" to avoid people thinking of a public library, etc.
Aulsmith: your usage seems to be taking "ex" to mean "former", as in "ex wife". I'd use "ex library" for that, but certainly not "ex libris"! A book that is currently in the collection of your library is "ex libris" that library; one that's been sold is not.
15: If you look at the listings for used books on the US Amazon site, I think you'll see "ex libris" used to mean a book that has the property markings from an organizational library from which it has been withdrawn. (Or else I've been skimming the ads waaay too quickly). You may be right that that usage came from a confusion of the Latin "ex" with the English "ex", though I have always assumed it came because the property stamps got lumped in with the "Ex libris" bookplates and "ex libris" got used as a short-hand for any organizational property mark.
Thanks for clarifying the "libris" part.
the name should really be in the genitive case, but nobody Latinizes their names these days
What is this world coming to? In my day, we not only Latinized our names, but had to wear togas to school, uphill both ways in a blizzard.
You kids today have it so easy!
You got to wear clothes? Luxury! We had to run naked, chased by dinosaurs (uphill both ways in a blizard, obviously).
I never thought of having those marks removed as doing anything bad, though I see your point. Anyone I should talk to in Albuquerque, NM about seeing what these books may be worth?
Any member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America (http://www.abaa.org/) will evaluate books for you. They may charge a fee, especially if they have to do research. Ask before you drag your books in.
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