Catalogues in Quarantine

Catalogues in Quarantine
by Silke Lohmann

Book dealers around the world have adapted to life in Corona quarantine. One of the projects which probably best sums up how dealers have embraced the current situation and embarked on a catalogue project across two continents is the aptly called 'At Home with Books'. A collaboration of Heather O'Donnell (New York), Ben Kinmont (California), and UK dealers Simon Beattie and Justin Croft with each contributing 10 books to the 66 page catalogue. The books, manuscripts and ephemera include such unusual items as a fan ($4,200) and a chocolate museum in a box ($5,500) with prices starting from as little as $35 for a Black Panther Party Newspaper commemorative issue (2019) to a unique artist's book by Diane de Bournazel for $10,000. As you would expect from an international catalogue, works are not just in English, but German, French, Japanese and Czech. Given our current situation, Giuseppe Caffarelli's 'Sul Cholera di Francia' from 1833 may be seen in a new light - it covers the progress of the second cholera pandemic, which hit France harder than most other European countries, and also includes its treatment according to contemporary methods ($560). All in all a catalogue which covers all areas and guarantees some great finds, beautifully designed in rural Devon and all remotely created across eight time zones.

One of the first to launch a catalogue in lockdown was Type & Forme - 'Books in the Time of Quarantine' with a selection of rare and collectible books below £50 to cheer us up in a time of self-isolation. Mark James & Anke Timmermann's selection includes the illustrated catalogue of the first major exhibition of Rossetti's work (1973, £14.50), as well as  biographies, travel literature or crime thrillers, but also a first edition of Evelyn Waugh's 'The Loved One' (1948, £47.50).

Jonathan Fishburn's Judaica list this April was very much collated under the subject of 'Reading in Time of Corona' with 30 items including cholera and relief related items as well as Passover ephemera, including prayers for the end of the cholera epidemic, both in Trieste in 1836 and in Spain and Portugal in 1892.

John Windle released a list named 'The Booth That Never Was' which includes 30 books for the Tokyo Antiquarian Book Fair (20-22 March), which he couldn't attend.

We would love to hear about more collaborations and catalogues in time of Corona, please let us know via


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