A Book Older then the United States?

 A couple weeks ago, a lovely woman came into my store. She tells me that her and her husband had been collectors of old books and they were looking to downsize their collection. She asked if I were interested in purchasing them because she wanted them to end up with a good home. I completely understood as about a quarter of my current book inventory came from my home (there are about six books left in my house now). She brought them in and left them with us so we could do our research and come up with an offer. Once i opened up the box and began to look at these books I knew I had found something special.   Within this large box were some of the oldest books I have ever seen outside of a museum. Now this isn't saying a whole lot. I've always been a collector of brand new books and of books that I wandered across in whichever bookstore I happened to be in at the time. I was never a person to search out rare or valuable books on my own. Occasionally at a thrift store or a flea market my husband or I would find a book from the 40's or 50's. These books weren't valuable, we just bought them because we thought they were cool or about a subject that interested us. I never thought I'd be the proud owner of a book I'm pretty sure is older then this country.   The book I'm speaking of is  Charity and Truth  and it appears as if it was printed in 1728. I can't be entirely sure of this until I do a bit more research or contact an antique book appraiser but the only date printed in this book is 1728 or the year of the lord MDCCXXVIII which of course is 1728. The funny thing about old books is finding accurate information about books written and printed before our first president was even born. The details are difficult to find to say the least.  To accurately date a book without a clear publication date (as most books written before the 19th century lack) you have to look at a variety of factors and even then it might not always be clear.   One way you can get information on a book is to check the author's bibliography. If your book is a first edition, seeing the first year a particular author's book is published will tell you how old your book is. This can still be tricky with older books. For instance I believe my copy of  Charity and Truth  is a first edition, however, the author is listed as H.E. After a bit of research it appears the author is Edward Hawarden. After a bit more research it appears as though Hawarden wrote at least four books between 1714 and 1729 with  Charity and Truth  being published in 1728. If my copy is indeed a first edition as I believe, that would mean it is nearly 300 years old.   Another way you can date a book is looking into the publisher's background information. For instance learning when a publishing house started and what they called themselves over the years can give you valuable information into when a book was published. Unfortunately in this case there doesn't appear to be a publisher listed in the book (perhaps because in the 18th century that wasn't as common a practice as it is today. Here's the first page of the book (where publishing information would normally be). 

A couple weeks ago, a lovely woman came into my store. She tells me that her and her husband had been collectors of old books and they were looking to downsize their collection. She asked if I were interested in purchasing them because she wanted them to end up with a good home. I completely understood as about a quarter of my current book inventory came from my home (there are about six books left in my house now). She brought them in and left them with us so we could do our research and come up with an offer. Once i opened up the box and began to look at these books I knew I had found something special. 

Within this large box were some of the oldest books I have ever seen outside of a museum. Now this isn't saying a whole lot. I've always been a collector of brand new books and of books that I wandered across in whichever bookstore I happened to be in at the time. I was never a person to search out rare or valuable books on my own. Occasionally at a thrift store or a flea market my husband or I would find a book from the 40's or 50's. These books weren't valuable, we just bought them because we thought they were cool or about a subject that interested us. I never thought I'd be the proud owner of a book I'm pretty sure is older then this country. 

The book I'm speaking of is Charity and Truth and it appears as if it was printed in 1728. I can't be entirely sure of this until I do a bit more research or contact an antique book appraiser but the only date printed in this book is 1728 or the year of the lord MDCCXXVIII which of course is 1728. The funny thing about old books is finding accurate information about books written and printed before our first president was even born. The details are difficult to find to say the least.  To accurately date a book without a clear publication date (as most books written before the 19th century lack) you have to look at a variety of factors and even then it might not always be clear. 

One way you can get information on a book is to check the author's bibliography. If your book is a first edition, seeing the first year a particular author's book is published will tell you how old your book is. This can still be tricky with older books. For instance I believe my copy of Charity and Truth is a first edition, however, the author is listed as H.E. After a bit of research it appears the author is Edward Hawarden. After a bit more research it appears as though Hawarden wrote at least four books between 1714 and 1729 with Charity and Truth being published in 1728. If my copy is indeed a first edition as I believe, that would mean it is nearly 300 years old. 

Another way you can date a book is looking into the publisher's background information. For instance learning when a publishing house started and what they called themselves over the years can give you valuable information into when a book was published. Unfortunately in this case there doesn't appear to be a publisher listed in the book (perhaps because in the 18th century that wasn't as common a practice as it is today. Here's the first page of the book (where publishing information would normally be). 

 As you can see the title is actually  Charity and Truth: or, Catholicks not uncharitable in laying, that none are fav'd out of Catholick Communion Becaufe The Rule is not univerfal.  It appears are though the F's in the title are supposed to stand in for lowercase S's. it's also rife with Olde English spellings like the word Catholicks and sav'd. A very interesting page but providing no publishing information what-so-ever.   To date a book you can also look for design details like gilded page edges or lettering, leather covers, dust jacket design, illustrations etc. to figure out which edition you possess and thus how old it is.  You might be able to glean some insight into you're book's age by scanning the text for any important dates or if the book has ads in the back as some books in the early 20th century and later had.   Lastly you can look into outside sources for appropriate information about your book. Looking on bookselling websites like abebooks.com or bookfinder.com, even Amazon or eBay might get you a little information on not just your book's publication date but also it's price. Another resource includes libraries. A librarian will most likely be able to search for your book in a program called WorldCat which will show every library who has a copy of the book you're interested in. You can then contact the library and have them give you any information they have on the book.   Finally, the last resort is to contact an antiquities or book dealer for appraisal and information. They will in all likelihood charge for their services (the amount of which I have no idea). This is the route I will be using for this book. Even though, through my research, I am pretty sure this book is as old as it appears to be, I have no idea about the history, rarity, or price of a book like this. I will eventually be contacting an expert who can help me price and maybe even sell this and other apparently rare or immensely old books. So if you know anyone...      For transparencies sake I got most of my information when I googled how determine a book's age and stumbled upon a website called Emptymirrorbooks.com. I clicked through their website and it seems they have a wealth of information on book collecting, poetry, literature and more. So hop on over there (when you're all done reading this blog of course).

As you can see the title is actually Charity and Truth: or, Catholicks not uncharitable in laying, that none are fav'd out of Catholick Communion Becaufe The Rule is not univerfal. It appears are though the F's in the title are supposed to stand in for lowercase S's. it's also rife with Olde English spellings like the word Catholicks and sav'd. A very interesting page but providing no publishing information what-so-ever. 

To date a book you can also look for design details like gilded page edges or lettering, leather covers, dust jacket design, illustrations etc. to figure out which edition you possess and thus how old it is.  You might be able to glean some insight into you're book's age by scanning the text for any important dates or if the book has ads in the back as some books in the early 20th century and later had. 

Lastly you can look into outside sources for appropriate information about your book. Looking on bookselling websites like abebooks.com or bookfinder.com, even Amazon or eBay might get you a little information on not just your book's publication date but also it's price. Another resource includes libraries. A librarian will most likely be able to search for your book in a program called WorldCat which will show every library who has a copy of the book you're interested in. You can then contact the library and have them give you any information they have on the book. 

Finally, the last resort is to contact an antiquities or book dealer for appraisal and information. They will in all likelihood charge for their services (the amount of which I have no idea). This is the route I will be using for this book. Even though, through my research, I am pretty sure this book is as old as it appears to be, I have no idea about the history, rarity, or price of a book like this. I will eventually be contacting an expert who can help me price and maybe even sell this and other apparently rare or immensely old books. So if you know anyone...

 

For transparencies sake I got most of my information when I googled how determine a book's age and stumbled upon a website called Emptymirrorbooks.com. I clicked through their website and it seems they have a wealth of information on book collecting, poetry, literature and more. So hop on over there (when you're all done reading this blog of course).

Source: emptymirrorbooks.com