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Collecting motoring and motorcycling books


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#1 Dennis David

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Posted 31 January 2001 - 17:10

Anybody know about this book?

THE CONSTANT SEARCH: COLLECTING MOTORING AND MOTORCYCLING BOOKS by Charles Mortimer, 1982.



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#2 Barry Lake

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Posted 01 February 2001 - 04:17

Yes, I have it. But it is a long time since I looked at it.

It is primarily a list of out of print motoring related books with codes to tell what subjects they cover and a guide to their value (or rarity, more accurately). It also has some sections in which Mortimer discusses and recommends various books.

Memory serving me correctly, I think there is also a brief story on how Mortimer became involved in the business of dealing in rare motoring books.

It is not as accessible to me as it used to be (nothing is, any longer, until I can figure out how to move into larger premises somewhere!)

At the time it was 'the bible' for motoring book collectors and still probably would be quite interesting, but is a long way out of date now.

#3 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 01 February 2001 - 08:44

Dennis,

This book is a very old friend of mine and has served me greatly over many years, building up my limited collection. If you desperately want this important book and cannot find it somewhere else, I will make my copy available to you, Dennis. I am still surprised that you put your collection together without this book. ;)

My copy is in very clean condition, practically new with dustcover in almost new condition except small creases at the bottom front and back. There are no tears. The only disadvantage of my issue is that on a few pages of the racing section there are yellow marker signs over certain books titles. Pages 17 to 32 show a very faint crease and pages 32 and 33 have very slight small dirt marks. This damage could have been caused by the book fallen to the ground at one time and is actually the only indication that this book has been used. Other than that it is very clean.

This 11 x 8½ hardcover book has 304 pages and many B&W and color illustrations of the various book covers but also a few pictures of some dealers. This is a very serious book from where I gained a great part of my knowledge.

The author, Charles Mortimer, collecting books since the late twenties, and book dealer since WW II, wrote this important book, divided into 40 different categories, well organized plus index. But basically there are two parts. The first 109 pages deal with explaining the whole subject with all its ins and outs about collecting books and leave no question unanswered, at least for me. The rest of the book consists of the different chapters and sections showing almost every (only English language) motoring book and magazine till 1982. Each book has ten different classifications: title, author, publisher, 1st edition, later editions, pages, illustrations, index, scarcity rating and text related to title. At the end a helpful 27-page book title index.

Like our good friend Barry wrote so appropriately, this book once was 'the bible' for motoring book collectors and I don’t know of any similar books addressing this issue thereafter. Missing from this book are the years 1983-2001.

There exists a very useful German 128-page paperback by Schröder & Weise, listing many titles of books, German, French, Italian and English. The title is Basiskatalog antiquarischer Autoliteratur and I have the second edition from 1983. Hans-Joachim Weise told me in the late nineties that they had never printed a later edition. But I have not been to Hannover for some years now after discovering more treasures hidden in the various libraries.

#4 Barry Lake

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Posted 01 February 2001 - 15:09

You have brought back many memories Hans. I think back now and realise that I used and valued this book more than I had remembered.

I also had forgotten the colour photos of books, which certainly are more inspiring than a name on a list.

More recently, I have used Tom Warth's Book Value Guides. He did two or three of these in A4 soft-cover book form in the early 1990s. I bought them when they were out of date and ON SALE. Later ones were smaller booklets with very small type and even more difficult to read. They seemed not to be on general sale. I only ever saw them being used by people in book shops; I didn't see any for sale and I have never owned one.

When Tom visited me a couple of weeks ago he said he would send me a copy of his latest guide, in exchange for some information I gave him. I haven't seen it yet - although I think he is still in Australia visiting people.

He also told me he has no intention of printing any more of them. He says the list of books on his web site will be his guide.

In his printed guides, Tom listed every motoring book that had ever pased through his hands. On the web site he only lists what he has in stock. But he says his aim (a tall one) is to have at least one copy in stock of every hard-to-find or rare motoring book.

One thing that could assist him in this is that his prices are so high, the books surely can't be moving out the door very quickly!