Bookplates

It is a pity that artistically designed bookplates or ex libris as they are referred to in Europe, have fallen into relative disuse in South Africa. Antiquarian bookdealers have long known that a well-designed bookplate adds not only to the appearance and interest, but also to the monetary value of a rare book.

By him who bought me for his own,
I’m lent for reading leaf by leaf;
If honest you’ll return the loan, 
If you retain me you are a thief.

Bookplates are a collecting subject in their own right and are a bibliophile's delight. A bookplate is very simply a sticky decorative label for pasting on the front  inside cover or boards of a book proclaiming ownership and indicating that this particular book belongs to xxx library or person. Often the words "ex Libris"  appear showing that the book is from a specific library, it could be an individual or an institution. When one acquires an old book with a bookplate it becomes part of the provenance of the previous ownership of a volume.

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