Skip to main content
Submitted by admin on 03 Oct. 2014
English
a.l._van_gendt._catalogue_one._amsterdam_1949.jpg

For mere mortals they are astoundingly boring, but for the hard-boiled bibliomaniac they are fascinating reading. - "Für Normalsterbliche von bleierner Langweiligkeit, sind sie für hartgesottene Bibliomanen eine faszinierende Lektüre."

Reinhard Wittmann

“I issued my first catalogue as a rare book dealer in 1982, while still lecturing in English at the University of Warwick, from which I resigned a couple of years later in order to deal full-time. By contemporary standards it was pretty fancy: photos of the best items, glossy paper, decent typesetting. I was a bit taken aback when my printer described it as "cheap and cheerful". Or maybe it was me he was referring to?”

Rick Gekoski

Booksellers’ firsts are as rare as some rare books. Often printed and produced with much love and energy, yet on cheap paper and for a still small company of customers, they are “used” – and thrown away. Who started when? What did he or she offer? And for what price? Only the first catalogues can answer such questions. How did he or she present the material? With illustrations, elaborate descriptions, old-fashioned, modern, sophisticated or funny? A fine selection of 100 titles, or the abundance of 4000 items in one volume? In form of a “real” print catalogue or as a photocopied list? The catalogues, and especially their covers, reflect the taste and customs of the decades in which they were printed.

Tom Congalton of Between the Covers Rare Books publishes pictures of rare booksellers’ first catalogues on Facebook. The most outstanding examples are presented here. Thank you very much for giving us permission.

>>> Don't throw them away! Keep them! Send us more first catalogues!

ads_autographs_joseph_r._sak_.jpg
alan_c_fox_dealer_in_rare_books_catalogue_one.jpg
alan_g_thomas_fine_books_number_one_bournemouth_england_1957.jpg
aleph_bet_books_1980.jpg
alexanderson_u_klosinski_bookseller_santa_clara_california_catalogue_1_dated_in_pencil_13_october_1975.jpg
alice_voith_mywings_books_schaumburg_illinois_catalog_no_1_2009.jpg
allsworth_rare_books.jpg
alottabooks._catalogue_one_and_only_._circa_1999.jpg
america_america_fine_old_books._catalog_one._abingdon_virginia._1991.jpg
andersons_antiquarian_books.jpg
andreas_muller.jpg
andrew_hunter_rare_books_catalogue_one.jpg
annette_and_larry_hands_booksellers.jpg
antikvariat_crafoord.jpg
antiquariaat_julius_steiner_catalogue_one_amsterdam_hand_dated_november_1989.jpg
apra_books.jpg
arthur_spaeth.jpg
ashlar_books._catalogue_one._bradford_vermont._1990.jpg
astor_house_books.jpg
barry_mckay_rare_books.jpg
barry_scott._catalog_number_one_a_collection_of_first_editions._new_york._1970.jpg
battery_park_book_company._catalogue_one._forest_hills_ny._hand_dated_1982.jpg
ben_kinmont_catalogue_1_1999.jpg
bennett_marshall_rare_books_old_prints._catalogue_no._1._los_angeles._1950.jpg
bernard_shapero_catalogue_number_one_1987.jpg
between_the_covers_catalogue_one_with_an_asterisk_1986.jpg
between_the_covers_catalogue_one_1985.jpg
bev_chaney_jr..jpg
birdways.jpg
blue_jacket_books.jpg
book_hunter_s_holiday_catalogue_1.jpg
borje_bengtsson._catalogue_one._2003._landskrona_sweden.jpg
bradford_morrow_bookseller_catalogue_one.jpg
bredford_libri_rari._catalogue_one._1990._lugano_switzerland.jpg
brian_cassidy.jpg
brown_and_dunning._catalogue_one._ann_arbor_michigan._courtesy_of_rob_rulon_miller_and_valerie_urban._probably_1934.jpg
burkwood_books.jpg
c.a._valenbreder_antiquarian_bookseller.jpg
camille_sourget.jpg
cat_s_cradle_books._specialty_catalog._volume_1_number_1_african_american_titles._high_point_north_carolina._2010.jpg
charles_yale.jpg
cheshire_bookshop._catalogue_1._walpole_new_hampshire._1965.jpg
christophe_stickel.jpg
clifford_e._king._primum_regium.jpg
colin_and_charlotte_franklin._catalogue_one._oxford._1971.jpg
collectors_bookshop.jpg
compass_rose.jpg
cornwell_house_books.jpg
cosmic_aeroplane_catalog_one.jpg
d.t._devlin_bookseller.jpg
danbom_son_books._catalog_no._1.jpg
daniel_farr_books.jpg
david_brass_rare_books._catalogue_one._calabasas_california._2006.jpg
david_magee._number_1._san_francisco._1928_better.jpg
david_magee._number_1._san_francisco._1928.jpg
day_library._catalogue_one._london._1951.jpg
dean_s_list._._catalogue_no._1._milwaukee._1965.jpg
decline_and_fall.jpg
denning_house._volume_1_no._1.jpg
detering_book_gallery.jpg
donald_a._heald.jpg
dorothy_sloan_books._catalogue_one._austin_texas._1985.jpg
double_image_books._catalogue_one_of_three_._new_york._circa_1975.jpg
dragon_press_catalog_1_lloyd_currey_and_david_hartwell_1973.jpg
dwyer_and_cronin_booksellers._first_catalogue._1974.jpg
edward_c._fales_old_and_rare_books.jpg
edward_morrill_son.jpg
edward_myers_bookseller.jpg
elaine_m._woodford_bookseller._catalogue_one._haddonfield_new_jersey.jpg
elton_engineering_books.jpg
elysian_fields._catalog_number_one._elmhurst_new_york._circa_1975.jpg
eric_davidson_bookseller._catalogue_1._medford_new_jersey.jpg
fa_brockhaus_katalogue_1_second_series_1956.jpg
fa_brockhaus_leipzig_katalog_1_1861.jpg
first_place_books.jpg
firsts_u_company_new_york_catalogue_one.jpg
flashback_books_catalogue_one_peteluma_california_dated_in_1985.jpg
forgotten_lore._one._rochester_michigan._1986.jpg
frew_and_mckenzie_list_one.jpg
fuller_d_arch_smith_ltd._rare_books._bulletin_no._1._london._1969.jpg
garrett_scott_bookseller._catalogue_one._ann_arbor.jpg
glenn_books._catalogue_1._1975.jpg
glenn_horowitz_bookseller_1.jpg
glynis_e.c._barnes.jpg
gordon_norman.jpg
green_thought_books.jpg
greenwich_books_ltd.._cat._1_a_potpourri_of_books._new_york._1978._roger_richards.jpg
grossell.jpg
h.a._feisenberger._catalogue_no._1._london.jpg
heffer._1._1970.jpg
henry_w._wenning_rare_books.jpg
herbert_h._johnson._list_1._1983.jpg
hibberd_s_book.jpg
historical_rarities.jpg
house_of_books.jpg
hp_kraus_catalogue_one_vienna_1932_courtesy_of_mykaljon_thompson.jpg
indicia_books_and_gallery_london_catalogue_number_1_april_1966.jpg
j_s_fine_books.jpg
j._goncalves._catalogue_one._lisboa._1995.jpg
j._howard_woolmer_books._short_list_number_one._1969._new_york.jpg
jack_l._bacon._catalogue_1._1982.jpg
james_c._howgate.jpg
james_cummins.jpg
james_graham.jpg
james_m.w._borg.jpg
james_o_d._fenning_ii.jpg
james_pike_rare_and_out_of_print_books.jpg
james_s._jaffe_catalogue_one._courtesy_of_natalie_galustian.jpg
jan_van_der_donk._catalogue_one_circa_1997.jpg
jane_zwisohn_books._catalogue_1._1982.jpg
janet_egelhofer_rare_books.jpg
jeff_hirsch_books_catalog_1.jpg
jefferey_h._marks_rare_books._catalogue_number_one_ernest_hemingway._rochester_new_york._1984.jpg
jefferey_h._marks_rare_books._catalogue_number_one.jpg
jeremy_norman._catalogue_one._san_francisco._1971.jpg
john_caius_books._catalogue_one._san_francisco._1989.jpg
john_dann_rare_books.jpg
john_higgins_rare_books.jpg
john_t._monckton.jpg
john_updike_catalogue_number_one_edinburgh_scotland_dated_by_a_collector_fall_1964_or_maybe_1969_.jpg
john_windle.jpg
jonathan_a._hill._catalogue_one._1978.jpg
jordan_davies_books._catalog_one._new_york_city.jpg
jorg_shafer._catalogue_one.jpg
joseph_the_provider._catalogue_one_modern_first_editions._san_francisco._1971.jpg
joshua_heller_rare_books_inc..jpg
justin_croft_antiquarian_books.jpg
ken_nesheim._catalogie_no._1._1986.jpg
ken_sanders_books_catalog_one.jpg
kocher_benzing_1.jpg
l_intersigne_livres_anciens.jpg
lame_duck_books_1.jpg
leon_brother._catalogue_one._new_york._1885._considered_by_some_as_the_first_catalog_of_american.jpg
les_trois_islets_livres_rare.jpg
locus_solus_rare_books_limited.jpg
lorne_bair._catalogue_one.jpg
lowendahl._katalog_1._stockholm._2010.jpg
lowry_james_rare_prints_books._bookseller_s_catalogue_1._langley_washington._2000.jpg
lucas_library_bulletin_no._1._1950.jpg
m_s_rare_books._1._weston_massachusetts.jpg
m.k._burton._catalogue_one._ann_arbor_michigan._1965.jpg
marchioness_books.jpg
maurice_f._neville_rare_books._catalogue_number_one._santa_barbara_california._197.jpg
michael_brown._catalog_number_one.jpg
michael_d._good_books._catalogue_one_i_think_._woodacre_california._1972.jpg
michael_ginsberg_books_catalogue_1_april_1975.jpg
michael_heaston._americana_i._austin_texas.jpg
michael_j._grano.jpg
michael_john_thompson_catalogue_one_1983.jpg
michael_shamansky_bookseller.jpg
michael_sharpe_rare_antiquarian_books.jpg
michael_vincent_rare_books._catalogue_number_one._1991.jpg
mordida_books._catalogue_one.jpg
musinsky_rare_books._catalogue_one._new_york_city.jpg
natalie_galustian_catalogue_1.jpg
ned_sparrow.jpg
norman_blaustein_publisher_and_bookseller._catalogue_one_i_think_._brooklyn._1986.jpg
nouveau_books._first_offering._1982.jpg
oak_knoll_books_catalogue_one.jpg
old_cathay_fine_books._catalogue_number_1._1988.jpg
origin_books.jpg
ottenberg_books_m._taylor_bowie_._catalogue_b_1_1977.jpg
papyrus_knuf.jpg
peter_barnitt._catalogue_one._1991.jpg
peter_grossell_s_antikvariat._kat._1._copenhagen._1987.jpg
peter_wolff._catalogue_one.jpg
prb_m_philadelphia_rare_books_and_manuscripts.jpg
r.d._gurney._catalogue_1._london._1952.jpg
rabelais_fine_books_on_food_drink_catalogue_one.jpg
readink._catalog_number_1_objects_of_obscure_desire._los_angeles._2008.jpg
rebecca_demarais.jpg
richard_paul_gilbo._catalogue_1._carpinteria_california.jpg
richard_von_hunersddorff.jpg
robert_a._wilson_rare_books._catalogue_one._new_york._1961.jpg
roger_mccrow_rare_books._catalogue_one._1985.jpg
roman_books_inc._catalogue_number_one_a_gallery_of_women._fort_lauderdale_florida._1961.jpg
ronald_levine._catalogue_1._johannesburg_south_africa._1982.jpg
ronny_van_de_velde_and_jan_ceuleers._catalogue_one._1992_antwerp_belgium.jpg
roy_a_squires_catalogue_one_1968.jpg
royal_books_catalog_number_one.jpg
serendipity_books._catalogue_one._berkeley_california.jpg
simon_beattie_catalogue_1_courtesy_of_natalie_galustian.jpg
simon_finch.jpg
sophia_rare_books_catalogue_one_from_denmark_.jpg
southern_library_service.jpg
stuart_bennett._catalogue_one._1980.jpg
taylor_bowie.jpg
the_armchair_traveller.jpg
the_asphodel_book_shop._catalogue_number_1._cleveland_ohio._1963.jpg
the_book_post.jpg
the_captain_s_bookshelf._catalogue_one._asheville_north_carolina._1981._chandler_walker_gordon.jpg
the_crane_bookshop_limited.jpg
the_foundry.jpg
the_open_creel.jpg
the_scriptorium._catalogue_number_one._pacific_grove_california._1995.jpg
thomas_a._goldwasser.jpg
van_gendt_catalogue_one_amsterdam_1949.jpg
waiting_for_godot._catalog_one._john_updike_a_collection.jpg
wessel_lieberman_booksellers._catalogue_one_new_series_whatever_that_means_._seattle.jpg
western_hemisphere_inc_books_and_manuscripts_catalogue_one_fall_1967_courtesy_of_michael_ginsberg.jpg
wm._pieper._catalogue_1._1970.jpg
wm._reese_co._1.jpg
wright_howes_bookseller._catalogue_one._chicago._stamped_feb_2_1925.jpg
yerba_buena_books_catalogue_one_jennifer_larson_.jpg
asher_catalogue_1.jpg
k._steiner_catalogue_1.jpg
nico_israel_catalogue_1.jpg
wenner_cat_1_1948.jpg
rarities_etc.jpg
jonathan_burdon.jpg
catalogue1_william_morris_a_the_pre_raphaelites_etc._baltimore_maryland..jpg
luxmentiscatalogueonecover.jpg
pregliasco_cat_1.jpg
holly_books_first_catalog_web.jpg
bookfeller.jpg
colonial_books.jpg
kenneth_hince.jpg
atvatabar_book_service_george_locke_john_eggeling_._list_1._summer_1969._london.jpg
dewolfe_and_wood._catalog_1._january_1994._alfred_maine._courtesy_of_don_lindgren.jpg
ferret_fantasy_george_locke_._catalogue_1._autumn_1971._courtesy_of_mykaljon_thompson.jpg
phantasmagoria_books_john_eggeling_._list_1._october_1971._courtesy_of_mykaljon_thompson..jpg
foster_big.jpg
walkbout_books_1_africa_xenia_ohio_2012.jpg
tomberg_rare_books_mimeograph_magazines_art_ephemera_old_greenwich_connecticut_2011.jpg
the_colophon_bookshop_1_courtesy_of_susan_hirsch.jpg
the_bookshop_occasional_catalogue_1_covina_california_1984_courtesy_of_brad_johnson.jpg
tamerlane_book_shop_bryn_mawr_pennsylvania.jpg
ripping_yarns_books._deer_park_modern_first_editions_postmarked_october_1983.jpg
plain_tales_books_1_courtesy_of_susan_hirsch.jpg
norman_blaustein_publisher_and_bookseller_brooklyn_1986.jpg
nicholas_papantinas_rehoboth_beach_20th_century_photographic_literature_postmarked_august_1984.jpg
Rare Booksellers' First Catalogues - A Cover Story, Part 1 (United States and the World)
English