Archive | February, 2014


23 Feb

What Is a Rare Book?

500 years has passed and millions and millions of books, pamphlets, magazines, newspapers, and broadsides have come off printing presses. Only a small portion of these pieces, however, would be considered “rare” by specialists and collectors. There are no easy formulas or unequivocal guides to rarity. In fact, there is often no one distinctive feature that will set a rare book apart from other books. There are, however, a few factors involved which assist a collector in determining a book’s rarity.

The following has been – excerpted from Your Old Books by the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section of the Association of College and Research Libraries.

Characteristics of a Rare Book

Intrinsic Importance: The most essential factor in determining rarity is the book’s intrinsic (the essential nature of a thing) importance, or how important the book is considered to be in its field. Only books with some acknowledged importance will have a consumer demand that creates market value and a sense of rarity.

Age: Surprisingly to many people, the age of a book has very little to do with its value. The other factors are typically more important considerations of rarity. Dealers, collectors and librarians, however, do use some broad time spans to establish dates of likely importance: e.g., all books printed before 1501, English books printed before 1641, books printed in the Americas before 1801 and books printed west of the Mississippi before 1850. These dates are rough guidelines at best and are always subject to the overriding factors of intrinsic importance, condition, and demand.

Scarcity: Scarcity does not equal rarity. A book known to exist in only a few copies may have value if it has importance and is in demand. A book without importance or demand has little value regardless of how few copies survive.

Condition: Condition is a major factor in determining a book’s value along with intrinsic importance, supply and demand. Condition refers to both the book’s external physical appearance and the completeness of its contents. A book in “fine” condition is complete in all respects, has no tears or other signs of misuse or overuse, and is in an original or appropriate and intact binding. A book that has been rebound or is in less than fine condition must be very important or in high demand to be of substantial value.

First Edition: In the strictest sense, “first edition” refers to a copy of a book printed from the first setting of type, constituting the first public appearance of the text in that form. Subsequent changes to the printed text through corrections of the original typesetting produces different “states” and “issues” but not a new edition.

The liberal use of the term “first edition” has made it seem synonymous with “scarce” and “valuable.” This is by no means the case. Most books appear in only one edition. Collectors of literary works especially are interested in first editions, and there is a lively and well- documented market for these books. Condition plays an even greater role than usual in determining the monetary value of literary first editions. If an author revises the text for a later edition, it may be of interest too.

Fine Bindings and Illustrations: A book can have physical characteristics that lend importance – a special binding, first use of a new printing process, an innovative design, an autograph or inscription.

— excerpted from Your Old Books by the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section of the Association of College and Research Libraries




18 Feb

When someone that does not know much about antiques hears a talk about antique items, the first thing that pops in that persons mind is “ANTIQUES ARE EXPENSIVE”…Now that is today, in our 2014, so lets go back to 1886, the year when a lady by the name of Mary Morgan sold her Chinese Ming Dynasty (peachblow) colored porcelain for $18,000!!!!  Yes, that is EIGHTEEN THOUSAND U.S. dollars in 1886. That price launched many artistic imintations like red tinted to white amberia “peach blow” art glass that is highly valued by most of the antique collectors today.

Currier & Ives, the Lithographers of the 19th century america, produced almos 10 million prints on 10 thousand various subjects.  Astonishing, most of these prints are highly valued by collectors today. A large folio “American Forest Scene-Maple Sugaring fetched $10,350 at auction in 1995, a representative high price for the firm’s better prints.

While Barry Bond’s outstanding post 35 age statistics are skyrocketing the values of his baseball card and related sports collectibles, the most valuable baseball star of them all remains Babe Ruth.  Talk about statistics, in 1921, his 2nd year with the Yankees, the Babe hit 378, batted in 171 runs, scored 152 runs, and whacked 59 home runs in 152 games.  All in a dead-ball long-fence era when 10 round trippers was considered a feat.

Vincent Van Gogh began to draw as a child, and he continued to draw throughout the years that led up to his decision to become an artist. He did not begin his painting career until his late twenties, completing many of his best-known works during the last two years of his life. In just over a decade, he produced more than 2,100 artworks, consisting of 860 oil paintings and more than 1,300 water colors, drawings, sketches and prints. His work included self portraits, landscapes, still lifes, portraits and paintings of cypresses, sunflowers and wheat fields. Of all the 860 oil paintings completed by Vincent Van Gogh in his depressed and short life, he only sold one single painting, the Iris sold for $75,000,000 in 1990…YES..that is seventy five million U.S. Dollars…Time has treated the sensitive artist with more compassion than his own days bestowed upon him, like it does to many struggling artists

The “Teddy” bear assumed his name in 1902 after rugged outdoorsman, Teddy Roosevelt refused to shoot a cub aides tethered to a tree to insure success on a Mississippi hunt. Cartoonist Clifford Berryman drew up the incident entitled “Drawing The Line in Mississippi” where it would become widely circulated in papers. The popular stuffed toy would be introduced simultaneously in America and Germany shortly thereafter.

A mint condition 1974 first edition of Steven King’s first book, “Carrie” can bring upwards of $1500 to collectors.  And no one will “laugh at you” for asking such a price.

And the last one but not the leas.

How to know if you are approaching antique status: If you can remember opening a can of beer or soda with a pointed end can opener.  Remember how common such openers once were? lol

Leave a comment and who knows, we might be able to sell you for a reasonable price.

Looking Back at Advertising In the U.S.A.

17 Feb

Advertising has always been part of moving the people to buy products even when they do not need them, it moves them to desire and want them just because they want them and they have the money to buy, later on it became an impluse, so the impulse buyers were born, and americans began to partner up with Mr. Visa, Mr. Master Card and later on many others like them came on the market. Bellow is a video that will take you back to the days when advertising started to manipulate and move Americans to buy.


Elite Antiques & Books

102 W Main St  Tomball, TX 77375

(281) 255-2919

Thomas Alva Edison & The Phonograph

17 Feb

Thomas Alva Edison

February 11, 1847 – October 18, 1931

Who was Thomas Alva Edison?  He was an american inventor, great scientist, and successful businessman who developed several devices that greatly influenced the life of many people around the world. Edison is considered one of the most prolific inventors in history, having produced over  1,000 US patents in his name and many more around the world. Edison created the concept and made possible the  electric-power generation and the distribution to homes, businesses, and factories – a necessary development in the modern industrialized world.

The following is a report of Edison throughout the years right after he invented the Phonograph or what was also called the gramophone, while other inventors had produced devices that could record sounds, Edison’s phonograph was the first to be able to reproduce the recorded sound.

The Phonograph  was a device introduced in 1877 for the recording and reproduction of sound recording. The recordings on the phonograph  played on such a device consist of some type of waveforms that are engraved onto a rotating cylinder or disc. As this cylinder or disc rotates, a stylus or needle traces the waveforms and vibrates to reproduce the recorded sound waves.                      His phonograph originally recorded sound onto a tinfoil sheet phonograph cylinder, and could both record and reproduce sounds.

1877, The first device for recording and playing back sound. Patents the Phonograph. Concentrates on Electic Lighting. Therefore, doesn’t have any role in the development of the Phonograph for nearly a decade.

1887, Edison Labs turned their attention back to improving the phonograph and the phonograph cylinder.

1888, Edison company debuted the Perfected Phonograph and 2 minute wax cylinders The original term for a phonograph as a “talking machine”, was for recording dictation used by stenographers. The dictation machine eventually evolved into a separate device called the “Ediphone”.

1908, A new line of cylinders called “Amberols”, 4 minutes of music. New machines were sold to play these records, as were attachments for modifying existing 2 minute Edison phonographs.

1912, The Edison Diamond Disc Record was introduced. Diamond Discs were superior in sound but were also more expensive. This together with the incompatibility of the Edison system with other discs and machines had an adverse effect on Edison’s market share.

1928, Edison company began plans for making “needle cut” records but they sold poorly as Edison’s market share had declined to the point where it was no longer one of the leading companies compared to leaders like Victor, Columbia, and Brunswick.

Edison Records closed down in 1929. The record plant and many of the employees were transferred to manufacturing radios. The masters for the Edison Records back catalogue were purchased by Henry Ford, and became part of the collection of the Henry Ford Museum.

Thomas Edison  died in 1931

Elite Antiques & Books

102 W Main St  Tomball, TX 77375
(281) 255-2919