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73 book catalogues from the library of George Sims, 1980-99
London: Bertram Rota - 73 catalogues from the collection of the bookseller and crime writer George Sims, as follows: 221-43, 245-51, 253-70, 272-6, 278-91 and New Series 24-8, 30-31. Wrappers. Staples sometimes a little rusty, top edges a little spotted, one or two covers slightly faded, one or two a little marked. With Sims's few manuscript notes of his orders; loosely inserted in one catalogue a pencilled telephone message to him from his wife, Beryl ("Phone Tony [i.e. Anthony Rota] please, if you can help him re who is 'HAM' Dear Ham AE Coppard . . ."); various other insertions, supplementary lists, prospectuses &c. "If a thing could not be done stylishly, he said, it was not worth doing at all. [Anthony] Rota was proud of being a fourth-generation bookseller and, while his style was understated, it was definite. His shops had an austere calm about them and his catalogues - for a long time designed by his friend John Ryder, typographer to the Bodley Head - demonstrated an easy elegance" (The Independent). Catalogue 250 (1989), issued 66 years after Anthony Rota's father Bertram's catalogue 1, contained a characteristic introduction, anonymous, but surely in the voice of the principal of the firm. Should anniversary catalogues, he asked, "list items carefully saved over months and even years before or should they be an attempt to give a proper representation of the dealer's business"? It was always said of George Sims that he put his all into his catalogues, where Rota, ever active behind the scenes, put his leftovers. While the Rota catalogues may not have been as sensational as Sims's, they are more accurately representative of general taste in modern first edition collecting in the second half of the 20th century. In the small format they adhered to until catalogue 237 (1985) they were marvellous manuals of instruction, books by a wide range of authors at not impossible prices. Whatever Rota did privately in wooing the librarians of Texas and elsewhere, he was an able and efficient purveyor of books to the ordinary customer, to the up-and-coming collector. He was a champion, too, of the small press. Sims, long a close friend of Anthony Rota, was a consultant to his firm during part of the period covered by this part-run of catalogues. Notable in it are 227, Poetry: a catalogue of First Editions chiefly from the library of the late Leonard Clark; 234, a sixtieth anniversary catalogue ("In order the more faithfully to reflect the nature of our First Edition stock . . . we have not followed as exhaustively as usual our practice of reporting (before our printed catalogues are compiled) appropriate books to customers who have been good enough to advise us of their special interests"); 245, The Great War 1914-1918 (four parts, 2562 items); 260, The Great War (1914-1918) (1378 items); 270, Some British Writers of the Thirties ("built around" books inscribed to Alan Steele); 274, Manuscripts, Typescripts, Letters, Drawings, Engravings and Photographs; 287, Rare and Interesting Manuscripts, Mostly Modern: 75 representative items to celebrate our 75th anniversary; 290, The Biblio-Boys: writings about books & bookmen from the library of the late Grenville Cook; and 291, Modern First Editions: including books from the library of H.M. Tomlinson. Indicative of the depth of the firm's stock is a list issued in 1991 of "Collections Currently Available". It includes: Ivy Compton-Burnett ("A comprehensive collection of first and other significant editions, including association copies", £4000); William Gerhardi ("comprehensive", £2500); Gregynog Press ("One of only three complete sets of the forty-two productions of the Press, all in special bindings", £85,000); Norman Mailer ("comprehensive", £6500); John Wyndham ("The John Wyndham archive, comprising all the extant MSS and TSS, both published and unpublished", p.o.a.); Saul Bellow ("comprehensive", $8500), Edward Burne-Jones His Circle and His Times ($400,000); and The Soldier Poets ($200,000). [Attributes: First Edition; Soft Cover]
      [Bookseller: James Fergusson Books & Manuscripts]
Last Found On: 2017-09-30           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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