what's the oldest book you own

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For some reason I cannot bring myself to get rid of the handful of books that are 100+ years old that have fallen into my hands over the years. I think the oldest I have is this: https://proxy.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Fpictures.abebooks.com%2FMAREBOOKSELLERS%2Fmd%2Fmd14897821824.jpg&f=1 from 1881. A gift from my great uncle on my bar mitzvah (who got in on his bar mitzvah, etc.) At the time I was like, why would anyone care about the house where Wordsworth lived? (tbh I still think that - it's a strange book to thumb through though, illustrations and all).

Οὖτις, Tuesday, 16 October 2018 18:12 (one month ago) Permalink

I think I have an early edition of a Groucho Marx book called Beds that's about 85 years old.

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 16 October 2018 18:17 (one month ago) Permalink

Herodotus

the Warnock of Clodhop Mountain (Noodle Vague), Tuesday, 16 October 2018 18:18 (one month ago) Permalink

Sorry, bad joek

the Warnock of Clodhop Mountain (Noodle Vague), Tuesday, 16 October 2018 18:18 (one month ago) Permalink

should've gone for Gilgamesh, NV

A is for (Aimless), Tuesday, 16 October 2018 18:21 (one month ago) Permalink

I have a collection of 18th Century children's stories (yes, just as fucked up as you'd expect) which was printed iirc sometime in the late 19th Century.

Extra Shprankles (Old Lunch), Tuesday, 16 October 2018 18:24 (one month ago) Permalink

I assume lots of treacle and beatings are involved. also racism

Οὖτις, Tuesday, 16 October 2018 18:25 (one month ago) Permalink

Surprisingly don't recall much racism off the top of my head. Beatings, sure, and many are the gruesome accidents and deaths which befall those children who are naughty and do not mind their elders.

Extra Shprankles (Old Lunch), Tuesday, 16 October 2018 18:33 (one month ago) Permalink

haven't got many v old books because most of what i have are paperbacks. i've got an Everyman version of Giraldus Cambrensis that might be from the original 1906 series, and a Life of Samuel Johnson from the 1910s, those are first things that spring to mind.

the Warnock of Clodhop Mountain (Noodle Vague), Tuesday, 16 October 2018 18:50 (one month ago) Permalink

My oldest book is a 1875 French edition of Baudelaire's 'Les Fleurs Du Mal' (published by Calmann-Levy). I've a couple books from around 1900 from like minded 'poète maudits' (Apollinaire, Verlaine, Gerard de Nerval, Rimbaud, and from later Paul Eluard). Battered and bruised, worn down copies mostly - not unlike the authors.

lbi's life of limitless european glamour (Le Bateau Ivre), Tuesday, 16 October 2018 20:24 (one month ago) Permalink

Mathew Carey, The Olive Branch, an 1817 edition of the book originally published in 1814. An attempt to heal the breach between Federalists and Democratic-Republicans during the War of 1812. I think I found this in an estate sale somewhere.

We had a massive book purge a few years ago and most of our really old volumes went to Goodwill (I didn't have the energy or interest in selling them piecemeal). We still have an 1899 edition of Ivanhoe, a 1906 hymnal, a 1914 Merchant of Venice, a 1911 The Philosophy of Rhetoric, and a 1917 volume of Maupassant called The Odd Number.

WmC, Tuesday, 16 October 2018 20:36 (one month ago) Permalink

My copy of The Aran Islands, J.M. Synge is a 1911 American edition.

I have owned some older books than that which I've sold off. There's nothing inherently better or nicer about 19th century editions that I've ever seen, unless you are unreasonably attached to leather and gilt. For my money, the first half of the 20th century was the true high water mark for excellence in functional book design.

A is for (Aimless), Tuesday, 16 October 2018 20:40 (one month ago) Permalink

The dril book

coetzee.cx (wins), Tuesday, 16 October 2018 20:41 (one month ago) Permalink

synge was an awful man altogether.

i tend to pick up nice/old/both editions for E.R. indoors for birthdays or stocking fillers i think theres a pride and prejudice from the late 19th c in there

Dmac TT (darraghmac), Tuesday, 16 October 2018 20:45 (one month ago) Permalink

synge was an awful man

lucky for us he's dead

A is for (Aimless), Tuesday, 16 October 2018 20:46 (one month ago) Permalink

Oh hey I just checked the book I mentioned upthread and uh it's actually a reproduction from 1969...

But that's still pretty old, right?

Extra Shprankles (Old Lunch), Tuesday, 16 October 2018 23:25 (one month ago) Permalink

There's nothing inherently better or nicer about 19th century editions that I've ever seen, unless you are unreasonably attached to leather and gilt.

otm

macropuente (map), Wednesday, 17 October 2018 03:11 (one month ago) Permalink

i literally own three books right now but i'm cataloging / listing a lot on a daily basis, the oldest being 1850s or so.

macropuente (map), Wednesday, 17 October 2018 03:31 (one month ago) Permalink

I used to be a used book buyer for a store. Some of the 19th century volumes had a thin sheet of what seemed like tissue paper near the front, protecting an illustration or photo. I don’t know the technical name for this, but whenever i saw one of these fragile sheets of paper in perfect condition, a century or more after the book had been printed... it gave me chills

Trϵϵship, Wednesday, 17 October 2018 03:31 (one month ago) Permalink

i went to a rare book school over the summer and didn't learn much, mostly due to my own lack of enthusiasm, but two general impressions i got are 1) just because it's old doesn't mean it's desirable and 2) hand-pressed book scholars are creepy.

xp they're onion skins

macropuente (map), Wednesday, 17 October 2018 03:40 (one month ago) Permalink

there are lots of shit old books

macropuente (map), Wednesday, 17 October 2018 03:42 (one month ago) Permalink

For sure but great books that are extremely old and well cared for are amazing. I processed the linrary of the philosopher morton white (1917-2016) and he has many books from the first decades of the 20th century and some older ones, like an early copy of on liberty. A lot of these antiques had notes in them too—all in the same neat handwriting. I’m always gonna love old books.

Trϵϵship, Wednesday, 17 October 2018 03:50 (one month ago) Permalink

For sure but great books that are extremely old and well cared for are amazing. I processed the linrary of the philosopher morton white (1917-2016) and he has many books from the first decades of the 20th century and some older ones, like an early copy of on liberty. A lot of these antiques had notes in them too—all in the same neat handwriting. I’m always gonna love old books.

Trϵϵship, Wednesday, 17 October 2018 03:50 (one month ago) Permalink

Idk why that posted twice. Can a mod clean this up?

Trϵϵship, Wednesday, 17 October 2018 03:51 (one month ago) Permalink

We have some nice old Dickens editions, mid-C19th: old enough to look nice with big illustrations, but not old enough to be worth much. And a Bible from around 1800 with a ludicrously heavy wooden cover and near-unreadable typography.

Mince Pramthwart (James Morrison), Wednesday, 17 October 2018 06:03 (one month ago) Permalink

NOt sure, know I picked up a copy of Agincourt by Arthur Machen which is early 20th century. May have others, so 19teens or so.

Spent a lot of time going through my white grandad's children's encyclopaedias when we used to visit the grandparents when i was a kid.
My mother rescued them when her parents died, so they're at her place. Date from early 19teens or so, he was born in 1904.

Stevolende, Wednesday, 17 October 2018 09:49 (one month ago) Permalink

actually book is called The Bowmen and other Legends of the War but it's about the reappearance of troops from the 15th century battle of Agincourt helping the Allies in the 1st world war.
My copy is a small hardback book which I don't know the date of. THink the first pressing is during the war though.

Stevolende, Wednesday, 17 October 2018 09:54 (one month ago) Permalink

I think mine is The City of No Escape by T.C. Bridges, from 1925. My grandpa gave it to me when I was a kid. He used to collect antique children's books. My wife has some of them now including some Victorian ones so they would be older, but they are hers so not counting them for this.

It's a sci-fi book along "journey to the centre of the earth" lines about an underground race and robots (apparently one of the first books to include robots) and iirc a fair bit of racism (it's set in Africa)

Colonel Poo, Wednesday, 17 October 2018 10:03 (one month ago) Permalink

The Temple: Sacred Poems and Private Ejaculations by Mr George Herbert ("late ORATOUR of the University of CAMBRIDGE, together with his LIFE"). 11th edition, 1678-79.

It has all its page in good condition for its age (spotted also foxed), and an intact repaired cover that is I think later, and not in such good condition -- someone left it next to a circular source of heat (like a light bulb) and the back has a circular burn mark right through the leather. There's a letter slotted inside that talks about a book (I imagine this one) having been a present to a "Mr Longland", who would be my great grandfather (or I guess one of his male ancestors of that name).

mark s, Wednesday, 17 October 2018 10:25 (one month ago) Permalink

If it was in nice condition it might be worth £500 or so but as it is it's probably less than £100, maybe a lot less.

mark s, Wednesday, 17 October 2018 10:27 (one month ago) Permalink

When I used to work in a second hand bookshop, I hated 'old books', just because people tend to assume that anything antiquarian, in whatever condition, is automatically worth vast sums. And of course there are plenty of very old books, especially in wretched condition, that are practically worthless - bibles, ancient textbooks, mass editions of Shakespeare, Dickens etc.

Ward Fowler, Wednesday, 17 October 2018 10:33 (one month ago) Permalink

I heard taht was true of vinyl too, probably seen the same. An MFP Beatles compi must be worth millions surely?
Or pre-loved you can tell by the scratches.

On the other hand picking up some nice 20 or 30 year old books through Amazon for 1p plus p+p.

Stevolende, Wednesday, 17 October 2018 10:36 (one month ago) Permalink

I'm gradually putting my -- many too many* -- books up on ABE: there's about 40 up there now, so far I've sold two. It's time-consuming detailing them correctly. The first one I sold I made no money on because at the last minute I sent it recorded delivery (it was going to Germany). The second I sent normal first class: it seems to have vanished on the wa oly. There's a learning curve I guess (I'm out abt £25 if the second one doesn't turn up).

*My dad's parents especially had a lot of v nice old books, especially children's books -- though my sister (who actually has a child) has most of those.

mark s, Wednesday, 17 October 2018 10:57 (one month ago) Permalink

s/b on the way lol (lol)

mark s, Wednesday, 17 October 2018 10:59 (one month ago) Permalink

That I bought, Scott's edition of Dryden's works in 18 volumes.
We inherited a pile of old books a few years ago, but mostly the kind of thing you mention - c17th bible in bad shape, mid-C18th Milton, Book of common p., Byron by the yard etc. Some odd bestsellers of the day (Dodd's Thoughts in Prison, probably a Young's Night Thoughts) which are nice to pick up but not of antiquarian interest.

woof, Wednesday, 17 October 2018 11:05 (one month ago) Permalink

a few years back -- early 00s i guess -- the new yorker ran a piece rereading the (i think) top 20 ranked books of 50 years before (= early 50s: i forget how ranked, whether it was critical or sales). anyway, it was interesting, for a glimpse into a lost world of values and the exploration of utterly forgotten titles once greatly applauded and discussed -- sadly it was written by james wolcott, who can go put his head in a bag and keep it there forever as far i'm concerned

mark s, Wednesday, 17 October 2018 11:10 (one month ago) Permalink

This was the top ten fiction list that Gore Vidal trampled all over in his essay "The Top Ten Best Sellers According to the Sunday New York Times as of January 7, 1973." Again, lots of things already largely forgotten, especially on the accompanying non-fiction list:

https://www.nytimes.com/1973/03/04/archives/best-seller-list-general.html

Ward Fowler, Wednesday, 17 October 2018 11:18 (one month ago) Permalink

> We have some nice old Dickens editions, mid-C19th

do you mean this? because that's when he was writing them...

what boggles my mind, is the wikipedia lists of british novels published in, say 1848

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:1848_British_novels

there are 9. for the entire year.

koogs, Wednesday, 17 October 2018 12:20 (one month ago) Permalink

Yeast!

I think there were more than that though.

mark s, Wednesday, 17 October 2018 13:45 (one month ago) Permalink

Yeast: A Problem (1848) was the first novel by the Victorian social and religious controversialist Charles Kingsley.

mark s, Wednesday, 17 October 2018 13:46 (one month ago) Permalink

I've got Samuel Butler's Hudibras from 1861, which is a reprint of the 1711 editon. It's in lovely condition,and the typeface is so small you need a magnifying glass to read it comfortably.

glumdalclitch, Wednesday, 17 October 2018 13:50 (one month ago) Permalink

> I think there were more than that though.

must be. those are only the british ones and there are usually more US, french and russian published, but not that many more. i'm working slowly through 1847 / 1848...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Publishers_Weekly_list_of_bestselling_novels_in_the_United_States_in_the_1900s

lists, well, Publisher's Weekly bestsellers for each year and a lot of those are red links - no wikipedia entry. 1907 is 8/10ths red

koogs, Wednesday, 17 October 2018 14:32 (one month ago) Permalink

I have a few old books that are presumably worthless - a tattered Browning from 18something is likely oldest. I have a first edition Old Man and the Sea but it's warped and jacketless so I doubt it is valuable.

CERN troll (Ye Mad Puffin), Wednesday, 17 October 2018 14:38 (one month ago) Permalink

I think the general rule of thumb is that a 20th century first edition without its cover is worth about 10% of a jacketed copy.

Ward Fowler, Wednesday, 17 October 2018 14:44 (one month ago) Permalink

about 100 novels published in 1848 -
https://www.victorianresearch.org/atcl/graphs_publ.php

woof, Wednesday, 17 October 2018 14:55 (one month ago) Permalink

Oh it's totally a wikipedia failing not a reflection of reality

the Warnock of Clodhop Mountain (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 17 October 2018 15:33 (one month ago) Permalink

great link, thanks. made my life 10x more difficult but hey...

a lot of those books on that site don't appear to be anywhere else on the internet. no gutenberg, no archive.org, not a lot in the way of google results...

i wonder what happened in 1862...

koogs, Wednesday, 17 October 2018 15:55 (one month ago) Permalink

year of the great london exposition = general uptick in cultural interests everywhere

mark s, Wednesday, 17 October 2018 15:59 (one month ago) Permalink

Lady Audley's Secret! xp

lbi's life of limitless european glamour (Le Bateau Ivre), Wednesday, 17 October 2018 16:00 (one month ago) Permalink

her secret was yeast iirc

mark s, Wednesday, 17 October 2018 16:01 (one month ago) Permalink

sorry

mark s, Wednesday, 17 October 2018 16:01 (one month ago) Permalink

Haha

lbi's life of limitless european glamour (Le Bateau Ivre), Wednesday, 17 October 2018 16:03 (one month ago) Permalink

hmmmmm but no corresponding 1851 uptick for the great exhibition.
Seems like a sudden, big and unsustained leap just off the back of sensation fiction, but maybe you're right LBI - Braddon makes the industry/reading public explode.
Could be an artefact of their methodology - they call 1862 a 'benchmark year (i.e., all titles added)' - maybe they've just dug and dug into that year in particular?
I am intrigued.

woof, Wednesday, 17 October 2018 16:16 (one month ago) Permalink

exhibition = showing
exposition = telling

i wasn't proposing it very seriously, just reading off the likeliest thing in wikipedia "what happened in 1862 in the uk" page (as we've established, such litsts may not be complete)

mark s, Wednesday, 17 October 2018 16:21 (one month ago) Permalink

we must examine all hypotheses carefully. I'm currently working through the idea that it's to do with the founding of Notts County.

woof, Wednesday, 17 October 2018 16:28 (one month ago) Permalink

first edition Old Man and the Sea

This edition was a HUGE first printing, bcz it was Hemingway and he was at the height of his reputation and popularity; it was kind of comparable to that CD release by Adele a couple of years ago that was hyped to the hilt.

A is for (Aimless), Wednesday, 17 October 2018 17:06 (one month ago) Permalink

Checked my bookshelves for old books but didn't get any further back than mid 60s (second hand Algis Budrys)

koogs, Wednesday, 17 October 2018 19:00 (one month ago) Permalink

Collected "Illustrated London News" for 1874. Lots of fighting in Afghanistan and S Africa that year, apparently.

An Uphill Battle For Legumes (Capitaine Jay Vee), Wednesday, 17 October 2018 19:21 (one month ago) Permalink

think the only pre-twentieth century copy of a book i have is a scuffed-up 2 volume of the anatomy of melancholy from 1813... one of the myriad of editions that seem to have come out around that time. other than that would be an early reprint of algernon blackwood's john silence stories sporting a theosophical swastika on the title page.

no lime tangier, Wednesday, 17 October 2018 19:24 (one month ago) Permalink

"The Top Ten Best Sellers According to the Sunday New York Times as of January 7, 1973." Again, lots of things already largely forgotten, especially on the accompanying non-fiction list

All second-rate books (or worse), but as for "largely forgotten" I remember almost all of them, not from having read them all, but as things that existed at the time and books I have often seen over the decades as used books. I could probably provide a thumbnail description for 17 of those 20.

A is for (Aimless), Wednesday, 17 October 2018 19:39 (one month ago) Permalink

thread and poll pls

Dmac TT (darraghmac), Wednesday, 17 October 2018 20:08 (one month ago) Permalink

Aimless, I'm sceptical that today's young ppl share yr deep James Herriot knowledge, but am willing to be convinced o/wise.

Ward Fowler, Wednesday, 17 October 2018 20:21 (one month ago) Permalink

"I'm OK, You're OK" is...OK

the Warnock of Clodhop Mountain (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 17 October 2018 20:39 (one month ago) Permalink

I know I am becoming more of an outlier every day.

A is for (Aimless), Wednesday, 17 October 2018 21:02 (one month ago) Permalink

> We have some nice old Dickens editions, mid-C19th

do you mean this? because that's when he was writing them...

Yeah, but these are far from 1st eds, and not bound periodicals, and from pretty huge print runs even from the time

Mince Pramthwart (James Morrison), Thursday, 18 October 2018 01:36 (one month ago) Permalink


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