As far as the faculty is concerned, we could not have been more fortunate to share in the wisdom and scholarship of the assembled. The week began with a keynote address by Lisa Baskin, a prolific collector who encouraged us on how rewarding, personally and financially, it could be to build a thoughtful collection. The lesson she left behind was, “You cannot do it alone.” Katherine Reagan, Curator of Rare Books and Collections at Cornell University immersed the class in an element of the book world which rarely gets such valuable first hand insight.
Terry Belanger, founder of the Rare Book School delivered a semester’s worth of knowledge about the book as an object in understandable and bite sized sessions. The collective experience of the faculty booksellers, Rob Rulon-Miller, Garret Scott, Brian Cassidy, Don Lindgren and Lorne Bair, delivered lectures on as many aspects of the book business as could be fit into a five-day session. What impressed me most about the entire staff was their accessibility, both personally and informatively. No question was too insignificant and no time was too precious for them to dedicate answering our queries. Their selfless access before, during and after classes demonstrated how generous each veteran bookseller was to the commitment of each student’s personal progress and success.
The value of the seminar was multiplied by the hands-on exercises which we participated in. Practical application, interspersed with lectures combined with open access to the faculty makes this Seminar ideal for all learning styles and all vocations in the wide world of books.
“Rulonomics” or “Would you buy this book?”
This exercise required students to evaluate 17 different books or pieces of ephemera and determine if they would purchase it and for how much. The books had to be researched, evaluated for salability and priced for a profit. Each of us would have bought a few lemons and a few bargains. All of us were glad to have made those mistakes with Monopoly money.
The students were given access to both electronic bibliographic resources as well as shelves of invaluable written bibliographies. Armed with this information we wrote entries for several antiquarian and modern books. The faculty critiqued our work and made the trade better by making us better at what we do.
A comprehensive library of examples gave the attendees an opportunity to select and study an array of binding techniques, condition reports, edition points, tooling applications and so much more. This will not only make us better bibliographers, but more broadly knowledgeable in the realm of the written word.
One of our last teaching sessions was on how to bid at auctions. This culminated in a live auction where the students bid on lots of quality material. The auction resulted in $1,000’s of dollars donated back to the CABS Foundation to support future scholarships and classes. I was pleased to have picked up several key pieces of Beat Literature. The value of this seminar was so important to me that I intend to donate books every year for future classes and future auctions to benefit the Foundation.
It is with humble appreciation I extend my sincere thanks to IOBA for the 2016 Collector Scholarship. I am confident that the opportunity to attend CABS has put me two years ahead of myself with respect to book knowledge and reducing the number of mistakes all of us rookies will make. A year from now you will hear from me again as my application for IOBA membership crosses your desk. You have my sincere commitment to adhere to the ethics of IOBA as my business develops.
Ed Markiewicz, Proprietor Montgomery Rare Books & Manuscripts 1696 SW Montgomery Drive, Portland, OR 97201