Our vintage books are old or young, depending, we have found, very much on one’s perspective.
Most of the vintage books we select were published in the late 19th century and early 20th century, though we certainly delight in finding the very old. We have occasionally included some 1970s and ‘80s nostalgia, as well.
What makes these books vintage, for our purposes, though, is not their age per se, but our judgment that they put us intimately in correspondence with the past. This time-traveling content forms a new layer of meaning on top of whatever content the author originally imagined. A poem is still a poem, of course, and it doesn’t cease to be a poem when we shelve it thusly. But, now it is a “frigate,” too, to “take us lands away.” One in a hundred old books may seem this way to us.
We tend to select books which have compelling visual ideas, such as engaging or sublime photographs, illustrations, or decorative features. We select books with meaningful or funny connections to themes and values of times in the past. We also look at the book as a whole of artisanship, valuing books finely built.
Within these general patterns, we especially shelve vintage technical books, especially those with illustrations and diagrams; vintage travel books, which often have the pictures we most seek; and vintage children’s books, which have their own section. In each case, these special sections are especially likely to transport us. Vintage poetry, often excelling in beauty--sometimes dainty, sometimes elegantly handsome--is usually shelved here, unless it is one of our most sought poets, in which case it will likely be in poetry. Vintage classics, the intrinsic content of which speaks so loudly through time, are shelved with fiction.
Lastly, we strive to keep a thorough selection of inexpensive vintage books. We occasionally sell rare books, and are certainly happy to sell books the scarcity of which accrues to them value as antique objects. However, we excel in finding, choosing, and bringing to you the not-rare books, which we can offer at prices comparable to our recently published titles. Though this guide doesn’t speak principally to price, it is salient here that the price of these books makes them highly accessible to having and appreciating for oneself or as gifts.