Sunday, January 30, 2011

Items Found in Books

I have found a variety of interesting items in books.  One time I found a $20 bill.  That was like finding a treasure.  Another time I was extremely grossed out to unexpectedly find a large clump of hair inside a book as I was reading it.  Yuck!  There is something about hair from an unknown person that is unnerving.  I immediately took the book over to the trash can and tipped the hair into the trash without touching it.  Double yuck!

In just the last week, I was startled as I turned a page and unexpectedly spotted an object.  I was probably thinking of that clump of hair.  I was relieved when the item turned out to be a small dried flower, which I didn't mind leaving in the book.  I just can't deal with someone's hair.

I have also found some interesting vintage items.  Late last year, I found this birth announcement inside a Grace Harlowe book that is a first printing from 1914.


The birth announcement is approximately 3 inches by 2 inches, so it is very small.  Ardis Wetzel was born on December 27, 1919.  Ardis would be 91 years old if still alive.  It is kind of haunting to find a birth announcement that must have been tucked inside the book ever since Ardis was born and most likely remained inside that book for Ardis' entire life.

I found this ultra-neat bookmark inside an Outdoor Girls book that is nearly 100 years old.  The bookmark might not be quite that old, but it must be more than 80 years old at the very least. 


The Paul Jones Middy is exactly the type of outfit that the Outdoor Girls wear on the covers of all of the books.  Visit this website for some information about middies.  I especially like seeing the photographs of actual articles of clothing.


Paula said...

I love the items you found inside books - how interesting! I haven't found anything yet, but do come across some amusing inscriptions at times. :) Sometimes they are very touching too.

I have an off-topic question. I have an interesting 1977 printing of Nancy Drew Tolling Bell that has what I guess you could call a turquiose blue overlay on the front cover. It's interesting because the outline of the blue area doesn't match the regular outline of the more brownish color that is usually there. So because of this, I know it's not just a distortion of the color from age, storage conditions, or whatever. Has anyone ever seen one like this? I don't see any mention of it in my Farah's Guide which is a 10th edition. Is this something that is known about, similar to the yellow overlay for Mirror Bay? Here is a link where you can see the book:

Jennifer said...

I see what you mean. The printing process involved using several colors of ink, probably on different plates, to make the final cover art image. What happened is that the blue ink hit the front cover in the wrong spot making the blue ink be out of alignment.

For the colors to be that far out of alignment is not a common error, but I have seen a few books with similar flaws. Check out this post for a couple of flaws caused by a similar problem.

I don't think Farah addresses this particular type of anomaly in his guide, but it falls into the category of printing defects which can take a number of forms.

keeline said...

I'm sure it's long gone now but it would be interesting to know how old that $20 bill was.

We have occasionally found money in books in similar amounts. One bookseller and book scout made a show of finding money in books to the point that I thought it was staged.

The 4-color printing process in modern days used CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black). A color inkjet printer uses these colors. Early jackets used red, blue, yellow and black which makes for a different mix of colors.

Printing and binding errors are more common that one might think and, unlike coins, stamps, and currency which must be perfect to combat counterfeiting, the misprints of books are far more likely to survive, especially when the wrong book is bound in a case. Collectors may pick these up as curiosities but I'm not aware of anyone who eagerly pays a premium for them.

James Keeline

Jennifer said...

As I recall, the $20 bill was around 10 years old. I found it in around 2005 and it was from around 1995. It would have been really neat if the bill had been several decades old!

sequesterednooks said...

In a tweed Dana Girls I found a newspaper clipping from when Bobby Kennedy died. From the yellowing on the pages, it seems like someone tucked it in originally and then forgot about it.

Robert said...

I have sometimes found obituaries of famous celebrities in biographies or career celebrations of those particular celebs, especially if they were older books from the '60s or earlier. Sometimes I find bookmarks from out-of-state bookstores, or local bookstores that are no longer in business. It always saddens me a little that so many small, local bookstores no longer exist.

Jennifer said...

I just found the front flap of a Nancy Drew dust jacket listing to Moss-Covered Mansion inside of a Kay Tracey book. I might put it up on Bonanza as a freebie since I have no immediate use for it. It would make a nice bookmark.

keeline said...

I bought a Bomba book on eBay several years ago which had newsprint clippings of the movie listings and a couple articles about the Johnny Sheffield film series based on the books. I keep the items with the book but put them in a glassine envelope to prevent further acid transfer damage.