Thursday, January 19, 2012

Baedeker Catalogue and Chile

Collecting Baedeker guides is an area which I thought had gone off the boil a little of late but if this new-ish catalogue by Shapero Rare Books is anything to go by then perhaps it's not so depressed as one might imagine at the top end of the market. Among the things we learn from this catalogue is that very early Baedeker Guides from the 1840s and early 50s had very attractive yellow boards. Also that there are a few guides for which a top London dealer can get away with asking upwards of 3,000 GBP. The catalogue is fascinating to me as someone who has always enjoyed the heft and heave of a good guide book whilst not knowing a great deal about them. It should be fascinating to anyone who likes to hunt down bargains in local bookstores as it's an excellent resource for learning which guides are scarce and valuable.

The most interesting guide book to cross my desk in recent months doesn't appear in the Shapero catalogue. Titled, Baedeker de Chile, and published in 1930 it was, in fact, nothing at all to do with the Baedeker publishing company but rather was published by the tourism ministry of Chile, perhaps under the misguided impression that Baedeker was a generic term for a guide book: something like the way Hoover or Biro were trademarks which became nouns. I sold it a little while ago now and it turned out to be worth at least as much as some of the volumes in the Shapero catalogue.

Thanks for Robert for the heads-up on the catalogue.

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