Highly sought after by some collectors, a book plate is an inscribed or decorative device that identifies the owner, or former owner, of a book. Most often bookplates are affixed to the endpaper of a book. Book plates have a long tradition, and some are collected solely for their artistic or historical value. Others show ownership by famous personages, and can help tell a book's story.
Whether a book has been owned by famous people or not, bookplates provide important information about provenance, which helps collectors to establish a book's value. Different countries have different traditions of how bookplates have been used, and this can demonstrate where a book has travelled.
Interest in book plates is high in some circles, and whole societies have been created devoted to their study and collection. Journals, catalogues, and collections from these societies, past and present, help contemporary collectors determine the value of other books and their bookplates.
Sign up for our newsletter for a chance to win $50 in free books!