The feedback's been overwhelmingly positive on my "best of" series, so I'm excited to bring you some of the outstanding posts from the meaty "Paper Chase" category--the backbone of the content of this site, which, by the way, has just past 1,100 posts!
As a continuation of the "best of" series I'd begun several weeks ago, I'm featuring some of my favorite, overlooked posts from My Back Pages category. Tomorrow and in the days ahead, I'll feature posts with the best of the categories I haven't featured yet.
I have a piece of ephemera in my collection featuring the "Grand Lead and Wheel" of the Order of the Carabao. The Grand Lead and Wheel sounds like a good title to hold. I'll take it.
When asked what my title is by friends and curious, skeptical relatives, I sometimes tell them that I'm an "International So and So." That gives them pause.
Titles are such a great human invention. President is a pretty pedestrian title. That's because George Washington had just spent a few years busting his tushy trying to defeat a guy with a highfalutin title—The King of England.
Here are some other honorific titles I really enjoy:
What are some of your favorite grandiose titles?
According to a story in the UK Guardian, the earliest known book jacket was recently discovered among book trade ephemera at Oxford. Michelle Pauli's reports that a "librarian at Oxford's Bodleian Library has unearthed the earliest-known book dust jacket. Dating from 1830, the jacket wrapped a silk-covered gift book, Friendship's Offering. Unlike today's dust jackets, wrappers of the early 19th century were used to enfold the book completely, like a parcel. Traces of sealing wax where the paper was secured can still be seen on the Bodleian's discovery, along with pointed creases at the edges where the paper had been folded, showing the shape of the book it had enclosed.The wrapper was discovered by the Bodleian's head of conservation, Michael Turner, when sorting through an archive of book-trade ephemera that had been bought by the Bodleian in a sale in 1892. The jacket had been separated from its book, and had never been catalogued individually. It remained hidden until the library was contacted by an American scholar of dust jackets looking for the earliest known example."
In the Guardian article, Clive Hurst, the Bodleian's head of rare books and printed ephemera was quoted: "These books were like gift books, often bound very nicely and probably in silk, Silk bindings are very vulnerable to wear and tear and handling so bookselllers would keep them in these wrappers to protect the silk binding underneath. When you bought the book you would take the wrapper off and put it on your shelves, which is presumably why so few of these covers have survived."
There's more to be discovered among long-forgotten ephemera. The only question is what's out there?
According to MTV News, Upper Deck will begin issuing American Idol trading cards effective immediately.
There will be 138 featured performers in the series, including the earth-shaking, booty-quaking, Adam Lambert.
According to the Upper Deck Web site, the cards will feature randomly inserted autographs from Season 8 Finalist and past Idols. There will also be makeover Lenticulars cards showing the Idols remarkable before and after Hollywood transformations as well as "almost idol cards--including the mind-blowing William Hung.
Can anyone say "future ephemera collectible?"
For more details about non-sport trading cards, read my Ephemera Card Guide.
Here's the situation: Blair Saldanah's wife needs medical care, and he doesn't have health insurance. His solution is to sell his collection of Apple ephemera.
In a post on his blog, Blair writes: "As we all know, desperate times call for desperate measures. So...I'm forced to liquidate my absolutely amazing Collection of Apple Memorabilia!"
The sale has been widely reported on the Internet. On the Apple Core blog, for instance, David Morgenstern wrote "...some are very interesting items, including buttons, sales and marketing materials, as well as some old Macs such as the original Macintosh Portable (the white monster) in a black carrying case and with software and manuals. Sweet.
On a page of old brochures, I enjoyed Item 137, the Macintosh Family Selling Guide for the Mac Plus and Mac 512e from 1986. Below that guide on the page is the 1984 Macintosh Software Sample brochure, which brought back a lot of memories. My first Mac was a 512e and I used the original 128K Macs. Some appear to be in very fine condition."
France-based, Turkey-born, Gurkan Beris is a collector of Ottoman Empire documents and ephemera. When it is complete he hopes his Ottomans Web site will be the most complete source of this type of ephemera in the world. In the following interview, we discuss his growing collection and fascination with all things Ottoman.
ephemera: When did you become interested in collecting Ottoman Empire ephemera?
Beris: Two years ago, a friend offered an old bond issued by the Ottoman Empire. I just wanted to learn more about this bond and begun to make some researches on Internet. I found some information, but I also discovered that there was a huge quantity of these documents and the collection of these items had a name; Scripophily.
ephemera: Did you begin consciously, knowing what you would collect, or did you just one day discover what you were doing?
Beris: I thought that it would be good to expose this document as a picture. It was like a true work of art. Most of these documents were designed by well-known artists and reflect the art style of the period in which they were issued as art nouveau, jugendstil, and art deco. Ottoman documents include Ottoman Empires seal and inscriptions in Arabic characters, which give them a very particular ambiance. I decided to buy two or three more in order to create a harmony. I found some specialized Internet sites as eBay purchased more documents. Then, it just was impossible to stop collecting; today, I have around hundred of these documents. I also participate to the auctions in order to complete my collection.
ephemera: What challenges or obstacles do you encounter as a collector? How do you overcome these challenges?
Beris: The prices of these documents are an obstacle. For me, it's just a hobby. I don't want to make any business with these documents, at least for the moment. There are many people who are ready to invest thousands of dollars to buy huge lots in order to turn their investments into more money. For example, in March, 2009, a huge lot of more than 500 Ottoman Empires documents was sold for 77 000€. I would be interested in buying 4 of 5 of them, but it was not affordable.
Another obstacle is their rarity. Many of them were destroyed by the financial institutions, others by their owners after they get paid. As you will not keep your old bank account sheets indefinitely, they were not keeping them indefinitely either. Those that we can collect today are most of time forgotten items during years.
To overcome these obstacles, I created a group named "ottoman shares & bonds" on Facebook, and I also created an Internet site. For the moment the site is very light, but I have the ambition to create the most complete resource of Ottoman Scripophily. My objective is to get in touch with collectors who will accept to swap their spare parts with other collectors in order to complete their collections. Somehow it happens to buy lots which include the documents that the collectors have already in their collection. So, they can be interested in a swap.
Beris: My favorite item is named ITTIHAD which was an Ottoman shipping company created in Salonique in 1911. It's not only a decorative document with a drawing of typical Ottoman ship, but also has a history. During the First World War, the managers of ITTIHAD stopped the main activity of shipping because of the war the seas were not secure places any more. They began a new activity of commerce and get tremendously rich. They distributed up to 62 percent of benefits to their shareholders during the war years. They just used the First World War as an opportunity while others went on bankruptcy. This story inspires me to imagine new businesses, new deals, even in crises time. I say, 'If they did it with their limited resources in 1915, so you can do it with all your resources in 2009.'
My second document is the one of Ottoman company of real estate. It's a very rare and beautiful document with the view of Constantinople and Bosporus.
ephemera: What resources do you recommend for those interested in collecting Ottoman Empire ephemera?
Beris: There are two books which are complementary: Ottoman Securities and Old Bonds and Share Certificates From Ottoman Empire and the First Years of The Republic of Turkey.
ephemera: Thank you, Gurkan.
Search Abebooks for the books listed in this interview.
Barcelona-based Kavel Rafferty is a collector of record envelopes, the sleeves that records are stored in. She calls her sleeve collect "the little library of factory sleeves." We talked about her library and all things record envelopes in the following interview.
ephemera: Tell me about record envelopes. How did you become interested in collecting them?
Rafferty: I started collecting factory record sleeves a few years ago, I have always liked them. I seemed to spend a lot of time in record shops, junk shops, thrift stores, and at flea markets, I kept coming across them whilst rummaging. I love rare soul music and the collection started when I noticed most 60s soul came in these amazing generic company sleeves, the design is fabulous, a real inspiration. Often low budget and minimum color usage; it's fantastic what designers did within the constraints of the format and with limited color.
ephemera: Yeah, the sleeves are really cool looking. Did you begin consciously, knowing what you would collect, or did you just one day discover what you were doing?
Rafferty: It was not really a conscious decision. I collect lots of paper and print based things along with vintage china, strange animals and books; however, I am not a 'serious' collector, I just pick things up along the way… Suddenly, I had loads and decided it would be nice to share; they are such a valuable design resource, and I couldn't find a collection online. Once I started the blog people from all over the world started sending me scans—and sometimes the real sleeves in the post—I have had emails from record collectors and designers far and wide.
Rafferty: I wouldn't say there are any challenges, really, as it's quite a relaxed collection. I'm not trying to complete the collection; I'm just happy when I find something new.
ephemera: What are your favorite items in the collection?
Rafferty: I love all the sleeves for so many different reasons, but, I suppose, some of the more illustrative ones are most interesting to me, as I am an illustrator myself. I especially like the designs which incorporate the missing center circle as part of the design. The images attached are some of my personal favorites.
ephemera What resources do you recommend for people who might also like to collect sleeves?
Rafferty: I mainly use the Internet to find information on the record labels, http://www.raresoulman.co.uk/ is useful.
ephemera: Thanks, Kavel.
In introducing them, Dahlsad wrote: "I have two problems when I turn to Google or any internet search engine: one is what's missing, and the other is that I don't know about something in order to find it. The first issue is a problem with my obsession with researching my collectibles. So many times I hold something in my hand, but according to Google (and all the search engines & online archives I try) it doesn't exist. You'd think with the number of times it happens, I'd no longer be surprised; but I continually am. And I also get frustrated. But eventually my compulsive need to know makes me get off my butt and head to libraries and make calls to institutions with specific archives and collections — and then I write about it online. Yeah, I'm doing my best to stuff the internet with knowledge I wish already existed on it. I do hope the other obsessive compulsive appreciate that.The second issue is that when I don't know that things exist (and that happens — because no matter how much hubby and I cram into our house & heads, we neither have everything nor know everything), how can I search for them? I'm always on the lookout for out of print books and vintage magazines & other publications to read. I love watching old movies, playing old board games, taking road trips to kitschy roadside attractions, and the like. But if I don't know these things exist, how can I find out about them? And with folksonomy being a combination of "the personal" and "randomness", who knows what keywords, tags &/or labels others would use to classify them? I try, don't get me wrong; but I end up with more unwanted stuff than a litter box. Please support the carnivals by submitting your posts/articles &/or those posts/articles by others, by informing you favorite bloggers who are equally nerdy, and by coming back to see the carnival goodies!"
To read my recent interview with Dahlsad, click here.