Bibliophiles keenly observe what readers use as bookmarks. Many readers, of course, use a traditional bookmark — one that is printed with a literary quotation or promotes a bookseller. Lacking a real bookmark, some less discerning readers improvise and reach for anything nearby — a post-it, a tissue, a postcard, a shopping list — to mark their place in a book. And some readers (warning: bibliophiles may want to skip this sentence) will resort to dog-earring book pages (the horror!).
When booksellers acquire used books, those clever bookmarks often stay hidden inside the book, waiting to be discovered. Antiquarian booksellers who often buy entire collections (typically after a book collector passes away, and his or her spouse or heirs want to dispense with all the books in one simple, swift transaction) will go through each book to assess its quality and value. Much to the delight of the meticulous bookseller, some real treasures (perhaps forgotten or deliberately hidden) fall out of the book. While some of these objects simply evoke curiosity or mild amusement, some objects are extremely valuable — often more valuable than the book itself. The editors of AbeBooks recently asked booksellers “What have you found inside books?” Here is a list of some of the objects that were either hidden in books or used as bookmarks:
Newspaper advertisements (dated from early 1900s)
Currency: $1,000 bills, $100 bills
Mickey Mantle baseball card (1952)
Christmas card signed by Frank Baum
Dried or pressed leaves
Hotel cocktail napkin with a name and room number
Golf card signed by Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale
So next time you are ready to part with a book, you may want to flip through it and see what treasures lie within.
For further reading: abebooks.com/docs/Community/Featured/found-in-books.shtml?cm_mmc=nl-_-nl-_-C140731-h00-insideBM-341414TG-_-01cta&abersp=1