My first really ‘Old Book’

My father spent many hours in antiquarian bookstores back in the late 60’s through the 90’s. His library was extensive with bookshelves in every room. [Practically]. His collecting interest was broad and covered many subjects, but mostly of academic nature. The first time that I joined him on a trip, I was probably 10 or 11; don’t recall exactly. He had a bookshelf with 18th century books bound by a famous bookbinder that he liked, so I was naturally drawn towards the section in the bookstore that had really old books. I recall staring at the books in amazement because I had never seen any massive folios before, or shelves with books bound in vellum. My father came around the corner and saw me standing there and asked if there was anything that I was interested in. Interested?? I can pick one, I asked? Sure, he replied, but be careful. So, I methodically went through the shelf with vellum bindings. I had no idea of the subjects, I just looked for one that seemed the most unusual and interesting. My final selection was [what I many years later learnt Julius Caesar Scaliger’s Epistles printed in 1612]. But my decision at the time was based on all the scribbles and notations on the front board as well as the title page. It must be really old, I thought!!! My father paid for the book, and it sat on my shelf next to standard pre-teen literature for many years, and I took it with me when I left for high school in the UK. It is still on the shelf all these years later. Not a valuable book, but after all my first ‘old book’ and thus important.

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