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Uncorrected Proofs: A Collecting Opportunity

By Jim Hier:

As the popularity of collecting signed, first editions continues to grow, collectors may be missing an opportunity to add value and rarity to their book collection – Uncorrected Proofs and Advance Reading Copies (ARCs).

In recent years, more and more collectors have started to focus on adding proofs and ARCs of favorite books to their collections. When you can find them these books, they are reasonably affordable. But as awareness and interest in these scarce editions increases, so will prices.

Traditionally, book collectors have gravitated toward collecting the earliest possible edition, or “state” (version) of a book. First editions have always been considered the earliest and most important version of a particular book.

In the early days of book production, this bias had a practical basis. Because books were produced using lead type, the quality of the printing diminished as the number of books were printed. The first edition of books also included typos or other errors that were “fixed” with subsequent printings. Also, first editions, typically, have smaller print runs, thus limiting the total number available to collectors.

Today, the idea of collecting the earliest possible edition remains important to collectors – which is why Uncorrected Proof and Advance Reading Copies have become increasingly popular.

So what exactly is an Uncorrected Proof or an Advance Reading Copy? Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama. An excellent first edition copy.

Before a book is released to the public, publishers often issue advance editions to reviewers to help with publicity and to booksellers to encourage them to stock the book. The production value of most of these soft cover books is usually quite high, often on a par with modern paperbacks.

The terms “Uncorrected Proof” and “Advance Reading Copy” are often used interchangeably. Sometimes a publisher will only issue an Uncorrected Proof, while others may only issue an Advance Reading Copy. Some publishers will issue both. Other publishers have been known to issue a “Galley”, an “Uncorrected Advance Reading Proof” or an “Advance Uncorrected Manuscript” of a particular book. It is important to note these books are different from a Review Copy that is sometimes sent in advance to book reviewers and critics to generate publicity for a particular book. These books are typically first editions of a book, often with nothing more than information from the publisher laid into the book.

It has been my experience, that when there are multiple pre-first edition publications, the earliest versions are usually Galleys or Manuscripts. Typically there are very few of these produced, as they are intended to be reviewed by the author and editors for content and typos. The next edition in this sequence is the Uncorrected Proof. The final version is the Advance Reading Copy. According to a representative from a major national publisher, when multiple versions are produced, the Uncorrected Proofs are typically given to reviewers, while Advance Reading Copies are sent to booksellers.

Galleys and Uncorrected Proofs tend to have plain covers, while Advance Reading Copies of the same title will often have a more decorative cover, often featuring early versions of the dust jacket art. Some will even include “dummies” of the dust jacket.

Publishers are careful not to release the actual number of proofs and ARCs they produce, though it is commonly accepted that the numbers are quite small. In some cases, there may only be one or two dozen books produced. For books of a better production quality or importance the total runs are likely higher.

In an article titled Collecting Uncorrected Proofs, antiquarian bookseller Ken Lopez estimates the average number of proofs produced is around “200 copies”. I believe this is a reasonable estimate, if not a bit high, because the available supply of proofs, ARCs and galleys all but disappear from the market within just a few weeks of a books publication.

Because these books represent earlier versions of a book than the traditional first edition, and because there are so few produced, it is little wonder proofs, ARCs and galleys are becoming increasingly popular with collectors.

Condition is always an important consideration and these books can present a particular challenge for collectors. It is important to remember that because these books are for specific purposes – pre-publication review and to generate publicity/interest – they not always found in the very best condition, many may have “flaws” that would normally cause collectors to think otherwise before adding a book to their collection. These “flaws” include labels placed on the cover, containing publication and/or publicity information. Some books have other marks or corrections made by publishers on the cover or on the inside of the book.

Because these marks and labels are often placed on the book by the publisher and relate directly to the publication of the book, collectors shouldn’t worry about these small imperfections. The scarcity of these books should trump any concerns about minor condition issues. Often these “flaws” add interest and additional information about the book.

Surprisingly, despite the limited number of these early editions, the cost to acquire these books is still quite reasonable, often only around twenty to thirty dollars, sometimes less. To be fair, not every proof or advance reading copy of a book is going to be collectible. But as a general rule, if there is demand for the first edition – the earlier versions of a book will be collectible – and in some cases worth as much if not more than a first edition of the same book.

Skeptical? Consider the uncorrected proofs from the popular Harry Potter series. These books regularly sell for thousands of dollars unsigned!  Just imagine if you can get them signed!

…Which is exactly what I have been attempting to do with books for my personal collection of signed presidential and political books…Because collectors have begun to focus on collecting these early versions of books in recent years, finding early examples of signed presidential proofs/ARCs is a particular challenge. Because of this historic lack of interest, signed Presidential proof and ARC editions are a true rarity in the world of signed Presidential books.

Over the past few years, I have actively collected copies of these rare, early editions, signed or unsigned, and they are not easy to find. One of the earliest presidential proof I have in my personal collection is Franklin Roosevelt’s Looking Forward – unfortunately it is not signed (but with only 130 books ever produced, I am still glad to have it!).

Authors are sometimes reluctant to sign these early editions of their books. There are a number of reasons for this, such as, important corrections that need to be made to the content before a book is published or a concern that circulation of the advance edition may hurt sales of the book. This reluctance, along with the lack of awareness of proofs and ARCs, adds an additional rarity to signed copies of these editions.

Limited knowledge about these books and their relatively low cost represent a great opportunity for someone just getting started in building collection of their favorite books, as well as seasoned collectors interested in building as complete a collection as possible of a particular author’s work. But this opportunity is not likely to last for long.

In his article Collecting Uncorrected Proofs, Ken Lopez concludes “Proof copies, if you follow your nose and are willing to take small risks, can be great investments — because even if the author doesn’t “hit” and the monetary values don’t go sky-high, you’ve still got a scarce, unusual, often textually significant version of the author’s work, and thus your collection is that much more special, that much less run-of-the-mill, and that much more complete.”

Whether signed or unsigned, the collecting of the early editions of books warrants the attention of serious book collectors. Regardless of your particular interest, collectors may be missing a great opportunity to add value and rarity to their collection.

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The works of President Herbert Hoover

Herbert Clark Hoover, the 31st president of the United States, may be renowned for his futile efforts to alleviate the pervasive negative economic effects wrought by the Great Depression, but his legacy goes beyond the “New Deal”, as is discernible from his many published works. Hoover’s memoirs are just some of these intriguing and enlightening books. The first volume, Years of Adventure 1874-1920, details Hoover’s life from his birth in 1874 to his role in developing the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 and later activities during World War I. It indeed is a representation of the former president’s adventurous age, as he traveled around the world, from the U.S to London, Paris, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, and Holland, executing humanitarian works and negotiating for peace. Hoover’s subsequent memoirs, The Cabinet and the Presidency 1920-1933 and The Great Depression 1929-1941, provide insight into his perspective on public service, as well as, his conviction about how it would help him ward off societal evils and failings.

As an engineer, Hoover’s standpoint on public service revolved around the possibility of reconstructing the country from the ravages of the war, while advancing reform supported by scientific discovery and invention. Also notable is Hoover’s American Individualism, which exemplifies his philosophy; an amalgamation of traditional individualism and national progress.  There is an array of books attributed to Hoover that would allow readers to debunk the notion that he was a completely ineffectual president. His collection of literature personifies an adventurous humanitarian, a critical thinker, a dedicated public servant, and a perpetual optimist; giving the impression that had he not become president at the onset of the crippling Great Depression, his legacy would have taken a more positive trajectory.


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How to Differentiate First Editions

how to differentiate first editions

Seasoned collectors know the terminology around first editions. For the uninitiated, distinctions must be drawn to differentiate which “first edition” we’re speaking of. There’s more than one type of first edition, with vastly different valuations regardless of condition. As experts in first editions, rare, and signed books, we break down some of the differences and vocabulary to help make sure you know exactly what you are getting yourself into when purchasing or selling a first edition book.

Types of First Editions

When a book is published for the first time by anybody, anywhere, it is considered a first edition. However, there are several different types of first edition books, and the difference is essential in the book collecting world. These various types include a true first edition, a believed first, a first thus, a first book club, and an advanced reader copy.

True First

True First is when a book is part of the very first printing with absolutely no questions surrounding its authenticity. Sometimes you will see this represented by the numbers 1/1 in its summary. This refers to its being in the first impression (sometimes called a reprint) as well. As only a certain number of books are printed at a time, the impression refers to which batch they were printed under. So while a first edition can mean any of the first printings where no changes were made to the copy or layout, you can have up to 20 or 30 impressions of a first edition.

Believed First

Believed First is when you think that you have a first edition copy but do not have the hard the hard evidence to support it. It can be listed as a “believed first” along with reasoning as to why you think this to be true. More on points of issue later.

First Thus

A first thus edition is the first of a book to be printed in a specific form. So for example, a book could be published in hardcover, but then if it is made into a paperback, it can be known as a first thus edition. The same goes if a new edition is created with edits or a new introduction, first illustrated, etc.

First Book Club

Books that are to be distributed through book clubs are often printed separately as a book club edition, often utilizing less expensive materials for the sake of wide distribution. Therefore, some books are first editions, but in specifically the book club print. They can often also be listed as BCA or BCE on the copyright page. One of the easiest distinguishing features of many BCE is a lack of pricing and barcodes. Biblio does a great job parsing out other identifying criteria for book club editions. Book club editions are often less valuable.

Advanced Review Copy

These normally have the same printing information as first editions but have a notice that they are advanced review copies on the cover. Typically, they are not quite as valuable as a true first.

Tools for Identifying First Editions

There are a couple of different identifiers to help you determine if a book truly is the first edition:

Copyright Page

Most publication details are listed on a copyright page, which can usually be found on the back of a title page. This should cover dates and details. If they are not located on this page, try the other pre-text pages, post-text pages, as well as the back cover. The dates are often listed in Roman numerals in older books to tell you exactly which edition or reprint it is.

For newer books, and especially those by American publishers, they might use what is called a number line. Essentially whatever number the line starts with is the number printing it is. (I.e., 4 5 6 7 8 9 is the fourth printing.) For additional succinct examples of number lines, Abe Books has a basic primer.

First Edition Stated

Sometimes publishers make it very easy for you and will print the words “First Edition” on one of the publication and/or pre-text and post-text pages.

Additional Resources

Where better to learn about book collecting than from reading a book? A couple of our favorite resources are as follows:

Identification of First Editions by Bill McBride, now in its 7th edition, is an excellent resource for more information on authentically identifying the first editions. Another pocket guide McBride also publishes Points of Issue covers 1850 to the present. Points of issue help determine even within a first edition specific characteristics and flaws.

Modern Book Collecting by Robert Wilson is another useful resource to help you learn about the intricacies of first edition book collecting.


As David Bloom, head of Books, Maps, and Manuscripts at Freeman’s says, “Every publisher has a different way of doing things.”

Since there is no black and white method when it comes to identifying book editions, it is up to you to determine this correctly. These tools and resources will help you navigate this gray area of publishing before you sell to others or purchase for yourself.

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Rand, Roosevelt, & Earhart: Three Women’s Contributions to Society

Rand, Roosevelt, & Earhart - featured image

There is nothing quite like a good biography. With absolutely no fictional information, the writer will take a reader on an adventure to an entirely another world. The best part? This isn’t a creation from someone’s mind, but rather a picture of another living, breathing human being doing the best they could in a world in which they lived. Here, we take a closer look at some of the most famous women examined in biographies who have made invaluable contributions to history and society: Ayn Rand, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Amelia Earhart.

Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand is best known for her two best-selling books, Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. She was born in Russia in 1905 as Alissa Rosenbaum and then moved to the US in 1926, first to Chicago, and then to try her hand in Hollywood. Rand was a staunch proponent of individual self-interest over collectivist values due to her experience with her father’s shop being overtaken by Bolshevik soldiers, forcing her family to live in poverty in Crimea. This philosophy was echoed in her first novel, We the Living, and became even more prominent in her later works. In addition to literature, Rand also worked in film, with titles like Red Pawn and Penthouse Legend (later renamed Night of January 16th) under her belt.

Over the years, she coined the term “objectivism”, a belief in a solid reality in which there are existing truths, as well as the moral importance of looking out for self-interest. The development of objectivism essentially ended her literary career, at which point she became a bona fide intellectual, forming a group that called itself “The Collective” and included members such as Alan Greenspan, the one-time Federal Reserve Chairman. She continued to teach and pursue speaking engagements until she died of heart failure in New York City in 1982.

Elanor Roosevelt

Meanwhile, Eleanor Roosevelt is probably one of the most influential First Ladies in American History. She was born in 1884 in New York City, and was not only married to US President Franklin D. Roosevelt but also was the niece of President Theodore Roosevelt. Eleanor truly redefined the role of First Lady by taking up and pursuing issues she was passionate about. She was not a woman content to be at home pursuing a domestic life. This go-getter attitude can probably first be traced back to World War I when she worked for the Red Cross. Years later, during her time as First Lady, she was a fierce advocate for human rights, children’s rights, and women’s rights.

She balanced this work while acting as a caregiver to her husband who suffered from a polio attack and needed assistance for the rest of his life. Reading and rhetoric were two of her strengths, having penned her own column and holding many a press conference in her day. Eleanor even went on to write several books, including This is My Story, This I Remember, On My Own, and It’s Up To The Women. After her time in the White House, she proceeded to become the chair of the UN’s Human Rights Commission, continuing her legacy for public service until her death in 1962.

Amelia Earhart

Finally, there is the autobiography of Amelia Earhart, who was the first female pilot to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. Affectionately coined “Lady Lindy,” she broke the barrier for women in her field. Earhart was only the 16th woman to be issued a pilot’s license and also served as the first person to fly over both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. She is, unfortunately, also well known for her mysterious disappearance alongside navigator Fred Noonan. While attempting to fly around the world, the pair disappeared near Howland Island out in the Pacific Ocean. She was legally declared dead by the Los Angeles Superior Courts in 1939.

Whether a Russian immigrant credited with producing some of the most well-known novels of the 20th century, an impassioned First Lady for the ages, or an airplane pilot going where no woman had gone before, biographies transport us to a world beyond our own and serve as an inspiration and a record to last the test of time.

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The Works of the Presidents

Top 10 Limited Edition Publications by U.S. Presidents

As a rare book firm specializing in Americana and specifically Presidential History, were often asked what is the “most valuable” book written by a President, or what is the “rarest work by a President?” That’s never an easy question but were always happy to show them some interesting items from the 1700s from President Jefferson or a book signed by President Obama, depending on the customer.

Since the time of President Theodore Roosevelt, publishers have been selling limited edition printings of their authors writings. This is done for financial purposes and to draw attention to the publication. It’s also a nice way to guarantee that you’re getting an authentic signature from a President.

To clarify, this list is not the Top-10 Rarest Presidential books nor is it the Top-10 signed books by Presidents.

Here are the Top-10 Signed Limited Editions by Presidents, ranked from most common to some of the most difficult to find:

#10 – Decision Points by President George W. Bush

Published in 2010 after leaving office, this signed limited edition has been produced over 4000 times. It was originally offered for $350 retail, but due to the overproduction of this book, it has not grown in value like many other presidential publications.

#9 – The Memoirs of Richard Nixon by President Richard Nixon

Published in 1978, Nixon’s memoirs were greeted by the public with skepticism. Many doubted that he would acknowledge wrongdoing in the Watergate affair. Part of his public relations initiative was to sign numerous limited-edition printings of his Memoirs. For the cloth edition of his memoirs from Grosset and Dunlap, it is unknown how many were signed by the former President.

#8 – All Easton Press Publications

This covers President Ford and President Carter, who were prolific signers with Easton Press. While a nice way to get an authentic item signed by a former President, they often don’t hold their retail purchase price upon resale.

#7 – An American Life by Ronald Reagan

Housed in an attractive oak display case, when released in 1990, this was the ultimate collector’s piece for Reagan aficionados. Limited to 2000 signed copies, this signed book commands the highest retail prices of any Reagan signed piece. Another work by former President Reagan, Speaking My Mind, was released the same year with 5000 signed copies available.

Ronald Reagan - An American Life

#6 – A History of the American People by Woodrow Wilson

Shortly after Wilson assumed the Presidency of Princeton University, this limited edition of 350 signed copies was released for the alumni of the university. A later limited edition of 400 copies, published in 1918, was also signed by President Wilson.

#5 – The Vantage Points by President Lyndon Johnson

President Johnson published his best-selling memoirs in 1971. Along with the release of the public edition, he also did a limited edition of 300 signed copies, mostly for support of the administration. Admirers of Johnson and collectors alike can occasionally find these books for sale, but they’re scarce and often show signs of wear since they were covered in red vellum.

#4 – Big Game Hunting by Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt will appear twice on our list. He was a prolific author, writing over 45 books during his lifetime. While not every publication received a limited edition signed printing, a few did, including African Game Trails (500 signed copies), Outdoor Pastimes of An American Hunter (260 signed copies) and Big Game Hunting In The Rockies and on The Great Plains (1000 copies). Big Game Hunting was published in 1899, shortly before Roosevelt was offered the post of Vice President under William McKinley.

Theodore Roosevelt - Big Game Hunting

#3 – Outdoor Pastimes of an American Hunter by Theodore Roosevelt

This limited-edition printing is the scarcest of all Theodore Roosevelt signed books. Published in 1905 during the height of his Presidency, new copies rarely appear on the market.

#2 – Crusade In Europe by Dwight D. Eisenhower

When published in 1948, 1426 signed copies of this book were produced with Eisenhower’s signature on the D-Day Order. In addition to the 1426 publicly available, a small number of copies were held back for the author’s personal use. These copies were bound in either blue morocco or red morocco, with an attractive flaming sword motif on the cover. The copies in red morocco were bound by the Gaston Pilon Bindery and pulled directly from the allotment of 1426 signed copies. There is some debate over how many red morocco copies were produced, with numbers ranging from 26-35, but regardless, to receive a copy in this presentation binding from General Eisenhower was a real honor. The blue morocco was from an even more limited run. According to early records, only 11 copies produced by the Whitman Bennett Bindery. The blue bound copies were not pulled from the limited edition of 1426. A truly unique piece of Presidential history.

#1 – The White House: An Historic Guide, signed by President Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy

This book was signed in a limited edition of 95 copies and given as gifts to supporters in 1962. While maybe not the smallest limitation number of any publication, finding an authentic signature from President Kennedy has driven up their value tremendously over the years.

So there is the list. Agree? Did we miss anything that should have been included? Let us know!

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Determining the Value of a Rare Book

blog cover - value of a rare book

Determining the value of a rare book is dependent upon multiple factors. Below we’ve compiled a list of just a few of the factors that help determine the value in a rare book.

Contributing Factors


Booksellers determine the condition of rare books by using a condition scale.

  • As New or Mint Condition

  • Fine

  • Near Fine

  • Very Good

  • Good

  • Fair

  • Poor

The condition of a book and its dust jacket are paramount to determining value. There are many factors that contribute to the condition of a book and its value. One is the condition of the book’s binding. More complex than just holding the book together, the binding is one of the first things a buyer or collector will look at. The condition of the binding is a telling sign of the books overall condition. Some book’s bindings may appear to be in excellent condition, but it could be because its either been repaired or restored. Rare books with repaired or restored bindings can be priced significantly less, compared to its original state. Other considerations for the condition of a book include defects such as blemishes, tears, foxing, mold, insect damage, smell, exposure to light and water staining.

First Editions

To understand why a books edition is essential, it’s first more important to understand what classifies something as first, second, third, etc. edition. An edition includes all the copies of a book that are printed from the same plates or setting of type. For some publishers, they make it easy by printing “First Edition” or “First Printing” right in the book. Other publishers are a little more cryptic. In some cases, determining the edition may come down to the misspelling of a word on page 124, the placement of words on a dust jacket or the color of the ink on a copyright page. It’s also important to keep in mind that in some rare cases, third or fourth editions can be just as valuable as first editions.

Determining a first edition can be difficult and if you need help, fell free to reach out to our professionals.


Rare book collecting hinges heavily on supply and demand. It’s simple, the rarer the book, the more demand there should be for that book. The higher demand for the book should in return increase the value of that book and vice versa.

Dust Jacket

The dust jacket on a book is intended to help protect a book from wear and tear, but as many people know, dust jackets were often thrown away. In the early 20th Century, there was little or no consideration given to dust jackets, which makes fining a dust jacket on a book from the 1920s a rarity. In fact, the quality of a dust jacket can affect the overall price of a book by 80 and 90 percent. Defects like chips, cracks, fading and shelf wear will also negatively impact the price of the overall book.

Determine the Price of Your Rare Book

If you own a signed book, first edition, or a rare edition book and are curious about its value contact the antiquarian professionals at The First Edition Rare Books, LLC. Books are more than just our hobby – it’s our passion. The First Edition’s catalog is filled with books by Presidents, Prime Ministers, military Generals, First Ladies, and important first editions from across the world. Whether you’re looking to buy, sell, or consign we would like to hear from you.

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Historical Highlight: Margaret Thatcher

blog cover - margaret thatcher

Date of Birth: October 13, 1925
Died On: April 8, 2013
Cause of Death: Stroke

10 Fascinating Facts About Margaret Thatcher

  • First female Prime Minister of the UK
  • Nicknamed “The Iron Lady”
  • Worked as a food scientist to help develop soft serve ice cream in the UK
  • Mother to twins, Mark and Carol
  • Was the longest serving Prime Minister of the 20th century for the UK
  • Was opposed to the EU
  • Enjoyed whiskey and sodas at the end of most days
  • Was born in parent’s apartment above her dad’s grocery store
  • Her favorite poet was Rudyard Kipling

Books Authored:

“The Downing Street Years”

“The Collected Speeches”

“The Path to Power”

“Statecraft: Strategies for a Changing World”

Note: You can find signed copies of The Downing Street Years,” “The Path to Power,” and “The Collected Speeches” for sale here.

Early Political Career

Thatcher was elected as a Member of Parliament for Finchley. Thatcher ruffled feathers within her party in her maiden speech, by supporting a private member’s bill. This would be a continuous theme throughout her time in Parliament, going against party norms regarding homosexuality, abortion, and hare coursing. Raising quickly through the ranks of Parliament, Thatcher was selected by the United States Embassy to participate in the International Visitor Leadership Program. This was atypical because she was not yet a Shadow Cabinet member. However, she was described as a possible future Prime Minister to the State Department, and they approved her role for the program.

Continuing her trend of moving quickly through the ranks, Thatcher was appointed to the Cabinet as Secretary of State for Education and Science. While serving, Thatcher was often in the public spotlight because of the government’s attempts to cut spending. She gave priority to the academic needs of schools while administering expenditure cuts, which would eventually result in the removal of the free milk program. This would lead her to garner the nickname “Margaret Thatcher, Milk Snatcher.” It would eventually come out that she indeed, in fact, opposed the cuts and appropriation of funds, but the Treasury forced her hand.

Prime Minister (1979-1990)

On May 4, 1979, Margaret Thatcher became the first female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. During his time as Prime Minister, Thatcher met weekly with Queen Elizabeth II to discuss government business. Although it was rumored that these two developed a power struggle, it was denied by both parties involved. The economy under Thatcher started very poorly, but towards the end of her time was booming. It wasn’t until 1983 before the economy turned for the better under Thatcher. In 1983 inflation and mortgage rates fell to their lowest in 13 years. By 1987 unemployment was falling, the economy stable and the inflation rate was low.

Under Margaret Thatcher, the term “Thatcherism” was born. This described her style of politics and how she would lead the United Kingdom. Specifically, “a political platform emphasizing free markets with restrained government spending and tax cuts coupled with British nationalism both at home and abroad.” Privatization is a crucial piece of Thatcherism. Industries that were privatized under Thatcher were gas, water, and electricity. In most cases, the privatization of the UK benefited the consumers regarding lower prices and improved efficiency.

Thatcher also dealt with the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) and the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) during her time in office. These groups were prisoners who carried out hunger strikes to regain the status of political prisoners. As a result, violence increased during this period and eventually would lead to the deaths of 10 prisoners after Thatcher’s refusal. This would lead to an assassination attempt on Thatcher in 1984 by the PIRA. She would survive and eventually grant partial rights to paramilitary prisoners only.

Later Life

Thatcher’s premiership would end in 1990 after being contested by fellow Conservative Michael Heseltine. After losing the second vote against Thatcher initially wanted to challenge the vote and Heseltine, but after consultation, she would eventually succumb and resign as Prime Minister.

It was during her first few years out of power that she would pen two volumes of her memoirs, The Downing Streets Year and The Path to Power. During the time leading up to her death in 2013, Thatcher remained very active in the political world. She made speeches all over the globe on behalf of many different organizations. She was vocally supportive of the United States efforts in the Middle East during the George H. W. Bush administration.

In the years before 2013, Thatcher’s health began to decline. Despite being hospitalized a number of times before her passing, Thatcher attended as many events and ceremonies as physically possible.

On April 8, 2013, Margaret Thatcher passed away at the age of 83 after suffering from a stroke. At her funeral she received full military honors with Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh in attendance, marking only the second time that the Queen had attended the funeral of a former Prime Minister.

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Historical Highlight: Winston Churchill

historical figure highlight: winston churchill

Date of Birth: November 30, 1874
Died On: January 24, 1965 (age 90)
Cause of Death: Stroke

10 Fascinating Facts About Winston Churchill

  • Was voted the “Greatest Briton” of all time by the people of the United Kingdom
  • Failed his military entrance exam twice
  • Escaped from a prison camp in South Africa
  • It’s believed that he invented the word summit
  • Loved whiskey and cigars
  • Favorite movie was That Hamilton Woman
  • His favorite cat, Jock, was by his side as he died
  • Wore slip-on shoes that gave the appearance they were lace-ups
  • His mother was born in America
  • Was hit by a car on 5th Ave while visiting New York City

Early Years in Parliament and Resignation (1900-1916)

Winston Churchill won the seat of Oldham in the 1900 general election. Originally as a member of the Conservative Party, Churchill opposed many of the party’s policies. This would ultimately lead Churchill to be deselected from his seat by his constituents. In the 1904 general election, Winston Churchill crossed the floor and officially became a member of the Liberal Party.

In 1906, Churchill was voted out as the seat of Oldham but was invited to represent Manchester North West. After two years in this seat was promoted to the Cabinet as the President of the Board of Trade. In October of 1911, Churchill was appointed as First Lord of Admiralty.

After serving in this capacity for a couple of years, Churchill resigned on November 15, 1915, feeling his energies were not being used properly.

Return to Parliament and Political Isolation (1916-1940)

After a four-month hiatus, Churchill returned to the UK from France as becoming restless while serving in the army. He was appointed Minister of Munitions in July of 1917, and then in January of 1919 was appointed to Secretary of State for War and Secretary of State for Air. During this time, he was the main architect of the Ten Year Rule. He also was a strong advocate for the Allied intervention of the Russian Civil War.

After a series of different jobs and titles throughout Parliament, he once again stood for a Liberal seat in 1923, only this time he lost in Leicester. He switched sides once again after his loss in 1923 but quickly became estranged with Conservatives. This would eventually lead to Churchill’s political isolation.

During this time Churchill’s reputation waned. He was viewed negatively by many in Parliament, but the beginning of WWII helped Churchill’s reputation. The day that Britain declared war on Germany, Winston Churchill was appointed as First Lord of the Admiralty once again.

Prime Minister (1940-1945)

After Prime Minister Chamberlain’s debacle in Norway, it became clear through Parliament that Chamberlain was incapable of leading the country through WWII, eventually leading to his resignation. Upon his resignation, Chamberlain, as well as others, recommended Churchill to fill his seat as Prime Minister.

On May 10, 1940, Winston Churchill became the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. At the age of 65, there were concerns about Churchill when he took over. However, many wrote that taking over such an important and demanding position energized Churchill and truly uplifted him as a person.

As he navigated through WWII, Churchill had an outstanding relationship with the United States president Franklin Roosevelt. Although he was vehemently against communism, Churchill sent supplies and tanks to the Soviet Union when they were invaded by Nazi Germany.

Resignation and Second Term as Prime Minister (1951-1955)

With the general election in 1945 looming, Churchill resigned as Prime Minister in response to the Labour Minister’s refusal of the continuation of the wartime coalition. As a result, he accepted the King’s invitation to form a new government, which would become to be known as the Churchill Caretaker Ministry. However, Churchill didn’t have the support of enough Conservatives and would ultimately lose the election of 1945. In the six years between his terms as Prime Minister Churchill served as the Leader of Opposition.

In the general election of 1951 however, Winston Churchill became the Prime Minister once again. During his second term, foreign policy crises were persistent. Colonial issues with Kenya and Malaya were on the forefront. A post-war relationship between Britain and the United States was also a large concern during Churchill’s second term. Trying to remain allies, while not cowering to the Americans heavily weighed on Churchill.

Final Retirement and Death (1955-1965)

For years leading up to his resignation, he had been advised that it was time to retire due to the fact that he suffered multiple strokes. Eventually admitting that both his physical and mental health was declining, he finally retired as Prime Minister in 1955. Throughout the 1940s and 1950s Winston Churchill suffered a series of strokes, and on January 15, 1965, he would suffer his final one. Nine days later on January 24, 1965, Winston Churchill passed away in his London home at the age of 90.

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Presidential Limited Editions

The surest way to guarantee you’re getting an authentic signed copy of a presidential book is to seek out a limited edition printing. At first glance, you’ll come across material from Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Richard Nixon, who were prolific signers during and after their presidency.

Its common to find a signed limited edition from President Nixon, number XX of 2500. But when you’ve been researching this field for many years, you’ll realize that unique limited edition items do exist. Here are some examples that got us excited when we came across them.

  • Mr. Citizen by President Harry Truman. This signed book can be found on the market in a limited edition of 1000 copies, but this edition here was held back for the author. Only 100 were printed for Mr. Truman.
  • That Shining Hour by Patricia Kennedy Lawford. This unassuming book was produced for members of the Kennedy Family and supporters shortly after the death of Robert Kennedy. Most are signed by a member of the Kennedy family but unsigned, they are still a unique presidential item.
  • Read My Lips: No New Taxes by Dan Ostrander. This book, which details the 1990 budget deal, was published in limited edition form by Butte College Press in 1990. There were 175 signed copies of the clothbound edition, signed by President Bush. An additional 26 copies, bound in leather, were produced as gifts for the publishers. This was a surprise after years of collecting George Bush limited editions.
  • Address of the President at the Opening of the Conference on the Japanese Peace Treaty by Harry Truman. This limited edition of 60 copies was bound by the Government Printing Office as Christmas Gifts for President Truman. These have occasionally surfaced on the market, but are rare, to say the least.
  • Inaugural Address of John F. Kennedy. Published as a gift for family and political allies, 100 copies of President Kennedy’s important inaugural addresses were printed and signed. One of the most unique limited editions available on the market.



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Historical Highlight: John F. Kennedy

Historical Highlight - John F. Kennedy

Date of Birth: May 29, 1917
Died On: November 22, 1963 (age 46)
Cause of Death: Assassination

9 Fascinating Facts About JFK

  • President Kennedy was a prolific author before his time as President. He wrote the following books:
    • Why England Slept (1940)
    • As We Remember Joe (1945)
    • Prelude to Leadership (1945)
    • Profiles in Courage (1956)
    • A Nation of Immigrants (1959)
    • The Burden and the Glory (1964)
  • He suffered from Addison Disease throughout his life.
  • Bought 1,200 Cuban cigars the day before an Executive Order banned Cuban imports
  • Obsessed with his weight to the point that he traveled with a bathroom scale
  • Donated his entire salary as president to charity
  • Loved playing Bridge and reading James Bond novels
  • Got into a fender bender with Larry King while he was a Senator
  • Was the last president to be sworn in wearing a top hat
  • He was the target of at least 4 assassination attempts

Naval Service

Following his graduation from Harvard, John F. Kennedy entered the Navy. After he completed basic training, he was assigned command of PT-109 in the South Pacific. While in the Pacific, one of the boats he commanded was hit and he was injured. Despite being injured, Kennedy helped a fellow naval officer by swimming them both to safety.

Upon completion of his naval career, Lieutenant Kennedy received multiple awards for heroism. His war medals include: Navy and Marine Corps Medal, Purple Heart Medal, American Defense Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, and WWII Victory Medal.

House of Representatives (1947-1953)

Kennedy won the 11th Congressional District in Massachusetts in 1947. The seat became available when U.S. Representative James Michael Curley vacated his seat to become the mayor of Boston. With the backing of his father, Kennedy’s campaign was successful, ending with him taking 73 percent of the vote.

Kennedy served six years in the House of Representatives. His focus was largely on international affairs. While in the House, Kennedy supported many major acts of legislation including the Truman Doctrine, the Labor Management Relations Act, and the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Senate and Presidential Campaign (1953-1963)

As early as 1949, JFK began preparing for a senatorial career. In 1952, Kennedy defeated three-term incumbent Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. by a wide margin to win the seat in the Senate. During his time in the Senate, Kennedy underwent two spinal operations.

While recovering, Kennedy wrote his Pulitzer Prize-winning autobiography, Profiles in Courage. Kennedy also married his wife, Jacqueline, during his second year in the Senate. In 1960, John F. Kennedy formally announced that he would be running for the Democratic presidential nomination. His youth and experience were questioned, but his charisma won many over.

The fact that Kennedy was a Catholic was viewed as a negative to many in the country, but his adamant message of separation of church and state would eventually win over some within the anti-Catholic crowd. Kennedy selected Lyndon B. Johnson as his vice presidential nominee despite opposition from his brother, Robert.

In the first-ever televised presidential debates, Kennedy and Vice President Richard Nixon squared off against each other. The television debates became a turning point for Kennedy, giving him the edge over Nixon. People who listened to the debate on the radio believed that Nixon had won. Kennedy eventually went on to defeat Nixon in one of the closest elections of the 20th century.

Presidency (1961-1963)

The Kennedy Administration began on January 20, 1961. In his inaugural address, he famously said: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” Kennedy’s address expressed his confidence that his administration would make significant impacts both domestically and abroad. Kennedy’s time in office is remembered as a time engulfed with foreign policy crisis.

The Cold War, the Space Race, the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the Bay of Pigs are all vividly remembered as critical times in American history. Kennedy’s domestic program, called the “New Frontier,” promised federal funding for education, medial care for the elderly, economic aid to rural regions, and government intervention to stop the recession. During his time in office, Kennedy was also an advocate for the Civil Rights Movement.


On November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas, President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated while on a political trip. While riding in a presidential motorcade, Kennedy was shot once in the back and once in his head by Lee Harvey Oswald. He was immediately rushed to Parkland Hospital where he was pronounced dead 30 minutes later. He died at the age of 46, serving 1,036 days in office.

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10 Ways to Preserve Your First Edition Rare Books

How to Care for Valuable Books

When it comes to rare and antiquarian books, they should receive the utmost care. Making sure that rare books remain in the best condition is critical for a couple of reasons. First and foremost is because some rare books are a piece of history. Such a piece of history should remain in the best condition possible. Secondly, if you’re in the bookselling, buying, or trading business, they retain more value the better the condition. Not all the time, but generally speaking the better the condition, the more money the book is going to be worth, but, that shouldn’t come as a surprise. So, what are some the best practices in caring and handling your books? Check out our list below.

Tips for Care and Handling Rare Books

  1. Carefully examine every book before handling it. Make a note of its weaknesses and take care when handling the book around its spine or dust jacket.
  2. Do not open book more than 90 degrees. This will save wear and stress on the hinges and joints of the book. There are some exceptions to this rule, large folios and some securely bound quartos, but as a rule, carefully examine first.
  3. Only touch individual leaves by their edges. If the leaves of the book don’t separate, don’t force them apart.
  4. Do not pull directly on the book’s spine when removing from a shelf. Instead, pull back on the text block or push the surrounding book in, to push the book you would like out.
  5. Ensure that books are well supported on a shelf. To avoid a cocked book, do not allow them to lie at an angle. Books lying like this adds stress to hinges and joints.
  6. Certain books like folios and thick quartos are best kept laid flat. However, do not stack them too high. This will cause the binding on the books on the bottom to become cocked.
  7. Keep books out of indirect and direct sunlight.
  8. Never use a sticky note in a book. The adhesive on a sticky note will cause damage to the binding and paper of the book.
  9. If you are photocopying, use the utmost caution. Opening the book too much can cause the binding to split or crack.
  10. Be careful of what you lay on top of a book. A simple piece of paper is acceptable, but a large weighted stack can cause stress on the book damaging its spine.

In some respects, a book just isn’t a book; it’s a piece of history – a piece of art. Treating rare books with respect and handling them properly is essential for their longevity.