About a year and a half ago when I decided to launch a vintage book shop on Etsy and I started shopping for books, I came across a few collections of miniature books. Not miniature like dollhouse-sized, but miniature as in fits in the palm of your hand, give or take a few inches.
Many of them were text books from the 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s. I assumed they’d be worth some money, since they were older and adorable, and fit into a niche. And aside from the money, I was pretty excited to find them, considering I had no idea what I was doing in terms of stocking inventory and basically just wandered into dusty old basements, lunging at bookshelves that hadn’t been touched in decades. (This mostly occurred at estate sales, so I was “invited” into the basements, though for the right book I’d be willing to shimmy in a window.)
The problem with my growing stack of mini-books was that I found it impossible to part with them. There are three sitting just to my left on my desk and they’ve been there since a few days after I brought them home. The shelf that houses books for sale and those that need to be listed also has quite a few minis I’ve passed over in favor of others. I have no problem listing books I’ve hunted down from my childhood or tattered old fiction books well-loved and filled with memories. It’s these tiny text book type books that tend to paralyze me in terms of selling.
So as all good organization experts and psychotherapists would recommend, I’ve decided to list a few of my adored little books. The first is Marks & Bryan The College Writer, which is a hardcover third edition published in 1946 by Harcourt, Brace and Company. The pages are a soft tea-color, though not all that frayed or dog-eared. It measures about 7.5″ by 4.75″, and the cover is in good condition with some wear on the edges and at the corners. It’s black with very soft gold writing, and the inside flap, which might be my favorite part, features a variety of grammar and punctuation rules. Personally, I think it’d make great wallpaper.
It looks like the original owner was Ann Bishop, who wrote her name and possibly room number on the first cover page. Since then, the book has been owned by the Cortigene family and features a bookplate stating such. And just now, flipping through, I found a note dated March 6, 1971 or 1991, and addressed to “Ms. Semi Colon, The Wordsmith Extraordinaire.”
I’m listing this book as of today, but to be honest with you, it might not be available for long. It’ll be tough to say goodbye to this one, especially considering how much I’d like to be Ms. Semi Colon, Wordsmith Extraordinaire, so you might be forced to choose one of the other minis I list with it. I’m already second guessing my decision to put it up, so hurry if you want it. This isn’t a sales pitch – I’m talking myself out of selling it as I write.
You can find it (or not, maybe not) and others similar to it at my Etsy shop.