George Kolbe forwarded this item with the subject line, "I'm glad it's not a numismatic book".
Peculiar might be the most relevant adjective to qualify the items of the sale that took place in Drouot on December the 19th. Set up by the prestigious auction house Pierre Bergé & Associés and entitled Fantaisies & Curiosités autour du livre (fantasies and curiosities around books), it gathered 121 items more or less linked to books, and the art of printing. The expert for the sale, Benoît Forgeot, made it clear : “We’re at the heart of bibliophilism. All these items, from the decks of cards from the 19th century to the portable globes, are closely linked to the world of books.”
As I was looking at a curiosity in the exposition room of Drouot, sat beside me one of the most respected booksellers of Paris, Mr. Chamonal. A joyful and energetic man, Mr. Chamonal confirmed the point of view of his friend and colleague Mr. Forgeot : “ Oh yes, this is pure bibliophilism, no doubt about it. These objects might not directly “serve” a great text but they have always been sold by booksellers, not by antiquarians.
Even the portable toilets hidden in the folio volume bound in full leather over there...” Yes, you read it correctly. The huge book, once open, transforms itself into a toilet seat (pic.1). “ Of course, said Mr. Chamonal, a bowl was put under the seat to, well – for obvious reasons. From what I’ve come to understand, it was used in the upper floors of a castle. To be honest, this is the only specimen I’ve ever come across.”
Hmmm. I'm sure plenty of folks will nominate numismatic books whose pages are better used for toilet paper (and would make a great companion volume for this one)!
George Kolbe adds:
Perhaps we should propose an endowment to endeavor to acquire the Collins-Cohen Chair for NBS?
To read the complete article, see:
The Curiosity Sale: Drouot, December 19, 2012
THE BOOK BAZARRE
THE PRIVATE SKETCHBOOK OF GEORGE T. MORGAN
, by Karen M. Lee, curator, National Numismatic Collection. Now available from Whitman Publishing: an eye-opening immersion into Morgan's life, including 80 pages of his personal and professional sketchbook. Hardcover. $29.95. Visit
or call 800-546-2995.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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