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The E-Sylum:  Volume 11, Number 7, February 17, 2008, Article 14

GEORGE KOLBE ON THINGS FOUND IN BOOKS

George Kolbe writes: "Over the years I have discovered
many unusual objects within numismatic  books, among them
ancient-looking ferns, locks of hair, fall leaves, small
coins, paper money, various clippings, unrelated correspondence,
documents, and much more. We never found a pair of eyeglasses,
though the story goes that John Selden, a seventeenth century
scholar and numismatic author, used his spectacles as bookmarks.
When Selden bequeathed his books to the Bodleian Library
at Oxford University, literally dozens of pairs of spectacles
were found when the books were examined by the librarians.
But I digress. Where possible, we have returned unrelated
items of consequence to their owners. One we did not return."

"In the late 1970s, my young son and I drove to a remote
Southern California desert community to buy a library. The
gentleman involved, a numismatist of some renown, lived there
alone in what seemed to me to be a rather bleak, solitary
existence. Nonetheless, he seemed to be cheerful, took a likin
to my son George, and gave him a number of modern production
U. S. Mint medals. After friendly negotiations, I purchased
the library and brought it back to my offices, then in the
Santora Building in Santa Ana, California.

Several days later, while arranging the books on shelves, a
letter was discovered in one. In it, the prior owner of the
library complained to his spouse at the time, at some length
and in intimate detail, about a paucity of marital relations.
Needless to say, that missive quickly found its way into the
circular file and was never mentioned to the gentleman in question!

"A cautionary note - I have learned not to inhale when first
opening a book. Once or twice I have become ill after breathing
in mold, mildew, or who knows what other noxious airborne
pollutants, some perhaps lurking in old books for ages."

 ON THINGS FOUND IN BOOKS
 esylum_v11n06a14.html

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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