QUERCUS RARE BOOKS has been selling books online since 1999.
We offer noteworthy books in the FIRST EDITION, limiting our stock to those works that have substance and merit. We are constantly on the lookout for the more interesting, scarce, and obscure titles by the world's best authors.
One focal point is MODERN LITERATURE (which we rather arbitrarily deem to have started at circa 1900). We particularly emphasize the GREAT IRISH AUTHORS of the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century. Since Irish literature is inseparable from its political history, our inventory is quite strong in the realm of IRISH HISTORY and POLITICS that led up to the 1916 Easter Uprising and subsequent Civil War. We have a small but significant inventory of EARLY MYSTERIES.
WHY IS A FIRST EDITION DESIRABLE?
Most advanced collectors are interested in primacy, meaning that only the first published edition (or its predecessor, such as Advance Reading Copy, Proof Copy, or Manuscript) is considered important enough to shelve. Technically, a first edition could have several printings, so the First Printing of the First Edition is usually considered the most desirable.
DESCRIPTIONS and GRADING
CONDITION IS IMPORTANT in the world of collectible books. Many valiant attempts have been made to establish a standardized grading system for the Antiquarian and Used-book world, but it remains an art rather than a science. (We note that the ideal collectible book would be one that was opened once, found distasteful, and stored away in a dark closet somewhere - never to see the light of day, until its rediscovery by a lucky collector many decades later.)
Quercus strives to accurately describe the edition of the copy listed. But consistency is the hobgoblin of the publishing industry, so this can on occasion be a rather tricky enterprise. We do make mistakes! If you have better information and note a mistake, please let us know.
FINE is the highest grade a book will receive; these books are considered to be without any defects or flaws. (We resist use of the term "mint" which belongs to numismatists and philatelists, not book collectors.) While we recognise that an older book that has achieved the dignity and gravitas of age should be given a little leeway, it probably will not make it into the Fine category; and the "hypermodern" of today will have to be in As New or Unread condition to be rated as Fine.
NEAR FINE indicates very minor defects that will make a book just miss the highest grading; most of the best books will fall into this category. All noted defects should be included in the description.
VERY GOOD is generally regarded as the lowest "collectible" grade. There may be some wear to the edges, shelf rubbing, chipping or small tears to the jacket which are minor or unobtrusive and do not detract from the book's overall presentation. These are always noted in the description. GOOD is not good, as the saying goes. These are average and worn books that exhibit many defects for the collector, although they may serve perfectly well as Reading Copies, Exemplars, or Place-holders in a collection.
EX LIBRARY books are generally not considered collectible due to their many stamps and inscriptions. This is an unfortunate reality, despite many library copies frequently also being scarce First Editions.
BINDING COPIES can be rare, wonderful, desirable books, but they need repair in some way, sometimes including a complete rebinding.
Our books are fitted with archival plastic sleeves to protect the dustjacket/wrapper. In the collecting world the jacket can often carry most of the value, due to its fragile nature. When jackets first gained general use they were often thrown away, as they were seen only as practical protection for the book itself. For this reason, early jackets command a special premium.
All books are returnable within 14 days for any reason (or no reason at all). Please e-mail first.
SOME UNSOLICITED TESTIMONIALS
JANUARY 2007: "Just wanted to let you know how happy I am with the book and the very prompt service - and so pleased to find one signed by one of my...heroes. I've tried to order...twice previously on-line as copies appeared. Both times I got back the message...sorry, they were sold and we forgot to take it off ABE...." (Glad that we didn't forget!)
APRIL 2013: "...many thanks for sending me this fine copy of L. Feuchtwanger's work on Rousseau...."
MARCH 2014: "Great copy as described, packed carefully and shipped quickly. Highly recommended seller! (Posted on Alibris)
SEPTEMBER 2014: "RE: Veblen book BIG THANKS THE SERVICE AND THE THOUGHTFUL NOTE...."
Great books deserve to be with the people who will cherish them!
QUERCUS RARE BOOKS is a proud member of IOBA - the Independent Online Booksellers Association. Please visit http://www.ioba.org to view our Code of Ethics.