THOSE of us who are in the habit of studying antiquarian booksellers' catalogues cannot fail to notice the amazing rise in prices of standard works over the past year or so. Once‐despised sets of historians, philosophers, or novelists now apparently command many times their pre‐war figures, and there seems to be no reason to doubt that there are willing purchasers even at the new high rates. It is possible, too, that old authors like Macaulay and Lord Lytton have received a new lease of life as a result of the war‐time dearth of new books and popular reprints, and that the second‐hand trade is experiencing something like a boom from that circumstance. The case of the Bibliographer's Manual of W. T. Lowndes is a good example of the “new look” in old books. For many years the common edition—Bonn's issue in eleven parts (1857–64, or the later reprint)—sold for a pound or thirty shillings, and even at that takers were few. Now my catalogues offer me a choice of sets, bound or in the original ugly yellow cloth, at prices ranging from five to ten guineas. Some booksellers, indeed, seem to think it worth while to list odd volumes and broken sets, and even for these the ransom is heavy. Yet the Manual is by no means a “rare” or “choice” item, and the notable advance in its value would seem difficult to explain.
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