All posts by debbie

New York Antiquarian Book Fair 2017

smallScan 61 I am delighted to announce that my books have now set off for the prestigious New York Antiquarian Book Fair term paper next week. I can be found at Booth C31 and it would be lovely to meet you if you are able to attend. Please contact me if you would like a ticket.

The fair takes place at the Park Avenue Armory, Park Avenue & 67th Street, New York City.



Recent Acquisitions List (a fair list in disguise):

Recent Acquisitions

Short title list of the items on display: NYShorttitle

For more details of the fair please go to:  #NYAB17 & @NYBOOKFAIR



Membership of the PBFA

PBFA Vector_logoI am delighted to say that as of December, I am now also a member of the Provincial Booksellers Fairs Association (PBFA). I very much hope to exhibit at one or two events around the UK in the future.


Ten Years in the Trade – article in the ABA Newsletter

Ten years – I can’t quite believe it. If asked when I began to trade under my own banner, I would be hard pushed to tell you an exact day, but my VAT registration certificate arrived in early July 2006, a missive which at the time seemed horribly grown-up and official. This is it, I thought. I am a registered small business owner – now what! Some 3500 books, five catalogues expertly designed by the wonderful Tony Kitzinger, numerous lists both printed and electronic, and several fairs in Seattle, California, New York, Olympia, and Chelsea later, I think I am finally beginning to find my feet.

But only just. It has been quite a learning curve, sometimes rather a vertiginous one, and continues to be so, especially in these interesting times. 2016 was quite a year to celebrate my aluminium anniversary! Yet our fascinating, varied, and wonderful trade, has weathered innumerable troughs and peaks over the centuries, and will continued to change and adapt I am sure. When I started working for Pickering & Chatto in 1994, as apprentice to Rebecca Hardie in the Science and Medicine department, we had one computer which handled the newish fad called ‘emailing’. We still prized the historic card archive, and the excitement engendered at the sound of the fax machine coming to life – all hoping for an order to emerge. Heady days! Research was carried out at either the British or London Library, supported by the extensive Pickering reference library. How did you all survive without Google and Wikipedia I hear some of your cry. Perfectly adequately, thank you very much – though I never ceased to be amazed by what one can now learn and discover at the tap of a keyboard. In truth I would be lost without the internet now – for me my main purchasing avenue, being rather bad at getting out on the road and visiting auctions and other booksellers. Whilst it has been a way of doing business which has personally served me well to date, I am resolved going forward to try and get ‘out and about’ more.

Pickering and Chatto has proved to be a fertile training ground, as it were, for independent booksellers over the years, a fact which back in 2006 was very inspirational and encouraging. Christopher Edwards, Roger Gaskell, Amanda Hall, Susanne Schulz-Falster, Rebecca Hardie, and many others, all set a benchmark towards which I still aim at, and hope to aspire too, in terms of bibliographical expertise, erudition, professionalism, and just being very good at what they do! I was very lucky when I started out to have a lot of help and support, from not only my friends at Pickering itself, but from other colleagues both in the UK and in Europe, who were willing to either give me cataloguing work, or were willing to let me take things on commission. The bookselling community on the whole is incredibly supportive and collegiate, and the list of people who provided a guiding hand, or let me bend their ear, is far too long to mention. Slowly but surely the size and quality of my stock increased and improved. The small local fairs led to my first international foray at the Seattle fair, followed by ABA and ILAB membership and thus access to larger International book-fairs. One or two fortuitous finds and collections (i.e. with healthier profit-margins) led to further stock expansion. New customers emerged, new trade relationships were formed, so that I find myself, somehow, 10 years on and still in business.

Moments of self-doubt – as they say I have had a few. But then I am sure that even the most thick-skinned and bullish of our colleagues will have had their fair share of navel gazing. For those starting out in the trade today, rest assured that there will always be someone in the trade who will provide a reassuring shoulder and word when needed.  I think it is so encouraging that we have such a healthy intake of young and entrepreneurial booksellers entering all arenas of the profession at the moment, be it joining established firms, or setting up as sole traders, and some even braving opening shops. Even more encouraging that so many are bright and articulate women. Their willingness to embrace social media and new mediums is inspirational, and helps to keep me on my toes.

As to the next 10 years. Well I hope that there are another 10 years! I love my job. I love being my own boss, and the flexibility that it gives me. The cash flow issues, occasional sleepless nights, and the odd week eating war-time rations  are far outweighed by the delight in finding an unusual item, my love of researching and discovering new things, helping to conserve items of cultural and historical significance, and the immense satisfaction one gets when a customer writes to excitedly tell you about their new purchase taking pride of place on a bookshelf, or is being used by a scholar, or becomes the subject of an academic blog. My close ‘non-bookselling’ friends (‘muggles’ by any other name surely) think I have the best job in the world, though there are also a fair few who continue to ask if I ‘still dabble in books’ and if I do it full-time. To which I reply, ‘it keeps me solvent and pays my mortgage’. It is much more than that: more importantly it continues to be a passion, and one which I fully intend to carry on with.


Only a couple of days to go until the opening of this new fair. Please find below a link to my  fair catalogue containing 43 items.


The fair has received some excellent covering this week, including the article below featured in the Financial Times

The link below will take you to the fair catalogue, providing a taster of some of the amazing items on display.




Short Bulletin of Small Folios

Well October is almost upon us and the nights are drawing in. In the midst of having a general tidy up, and getting myself ready for exhibiting at a new London Bookfair in October – INK LDN (October 20th -22nd), I realised that I have accumulated a small number of ‘Small Folios’ thus prompting the following list. For each, the authors have made excellent use of the various illustrative mediums at their disposal, and so in a way, it forms a short adjunct to my list last October with its theme of ‘infographics’.

I hope you find it of interest

A List of Folios

INK LDN – Exciting New London Art Fair


I am delighted to announce that between October 21st-22nd 2016 I will be one of the inaugural exhibitors at INK LDN – the exciting new London art fair dedicated to books, photography, graphics and paintings – ‘a celebration of the use of ink’.

The fair is being held in the wonderful surroundings of Two Temple Place, an extraordinary late Victorian mansion built by William Waldorf Astor on the Embankment, and one of London’s architectural gems.

Please see my Gallery section for a short list of books likely to be on display. If you would like tickets please contact me, and for more details about this new event please go to: Twitter @inkfair



New Release

~New Release ~

ODONTOLOGIA: Rare and Important Books in the History of Dentistry.

The Swedish Dental Society, founded in 1860, accumulated an important historical collection of over 850 odontological books, the majority printed before 1920, and which today forms one of the major special collections deposited in the Hagströmer Medico-Historical Library in Stockholm.img188

With the present richly illustrated and annotated catalogue, compiled by Ove Hagelin and Deborah Coltham, we hope to make this collection better known to dental practitioners, the academic world, librarians as well as to book collectors. The catalogue comprises 208 pages and 161 illustrations with descriptions of 65 books including the earliest printed works from the sixteenth century entirely devoted to dentistry, as well as on how to cure toothache, on extraction, and on the replacement of false teeth. The collections includes first editions of several odontological classics, from Eustachi’s Libellus de dentibus (1583) through to Jackson’s Orthodontia of 1904 on the regulation of teeth, and including the most famous of them all, Pierre Fauchard’s Chirurgien Déntiste, Paris, 1728. Each item is given a bibliographical description and at least one page with a historical commentary on the author and the importance of his work,

Copies available for order and purchase £45

Catalogue 5 and the 55th New York Antiquarian Book Fair

After a busy couple of months cataloguing I am delighted to say that a pdf copy of my latest Catalogue 5 is now available to download. A number of items included in the catalogue will also be on show at Stand C13 at the New York Antiquarian Book Fair at the Park Avenue Armory. The Fair runs from April 9th -12th and I look forward to seeing you there. If you would like a ticket please let me know.

Catalogue 5