There Have Been Rare Books Here The Whole Time?!?

The Strand Bookstore, located at the corner of 12th Street and Broadway, in New York City. Strand was born in 1927 and has been a NYC institution in NYC for years. The store "carries over 2.5 million used, new, and rare books, covering topics as far-ranging as occult to philosophy to finance."

In an article By Beth Stebner for The Daily News, the rare books that one can find on the shelves of The Strand Bookstore is discussed:

"You can get a copy of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” at the Strand Bookstore for just $3.95 — or you can get a rare edition of the same Lewis Carroll novel, signed and illustrated by Salvador Dali, for $10,000 upstairs.

The Strand’s rare books manager Vasilis Terpsopoulos displays an Alice in Wonderland illustrated by Salvador Dali.

The book-lined room on the top floor hosts readings and other literary events, but it mostly serves as a showroom for bibliophile porn: the shelves include such rare finds as a one-of-a-kind edition of “Ulysses,” a rare American first edition of “The Cuckoo’s Calling,” written by “Harry Potter” wizard J.K. Rowling under a pen name, a signed limited edition of Stephen King’s “The Shining” sequel, “Doctor Sleep,” and even a small green book once owned by Marie Antoinette, who famously lost her head.

“Books like this are so significant,” says Vasilis Terpsopoulos, a 24-year veteran of the bargain bookstore, who manages the rare book room with Darren Sutherland.

The pair once sold a 1632 William Shakespeare folio for a staggering $100,000 in 2006. Today, the hits just keep on coming:

In a safe, Terpsopoulos and Sutherland keep a first edition of “Gone with the Wind,” priced to move at $15,000. On a nearby shelf is a 1784 collection of moralist stories from Plato and Socrates. It’s marked at $750 — with the same yellow discount stickers that are used downstairs.

Also under lock and key is perhaps the biggest rarety: “Commentary on the Psalms” dates back to 1480 — and remains a beautiful example of a Medieval manuscript (priced accordingly at $35,000).

Welcome‘Kempis Imatazione de Cristo,’ which dates to 1550 and is valued at $350, and ‘Collection de Moralistes Anciene,’ once owned by Marie Antoinette dating to 1783 and valued at $750.

Perhaps the greatest feature of the collection is not a rare book, but the room’s accessibility. Unlike other antique book dealers, the Strand’s historic library is open to anyone who heads upstairs.

“People can come in off the street,” Sutherland says. “You don’t need an appointment to see these books. You can interact with them. It’s a wonderful thing.”

The Strand by the numbers:

Miles of books: 18

Number of floors: 5

Years in business: 87

Year building was built: 1903

Sale price of Shakespeare folio: $100,000

Latest big sale: $20,000 for Albrect Durer’s “De Symmetria Partium”


(Via NY Daily News)