Talking About Books
Sept/Oct 2018 edition
Issue #1 AutoMobilia Resource Magazine
Tom E. Warth
I have been dealing in car books since 1965 and loving it, but I do not feel I am an expert in all aspects of this field. I am sure most of you readers have a reasonable collection of car books, some that may have been published or sold by me in the days of Classic Motorbooks, or in more recent years under my T E Warth Esq Automotive Books handle. I have downsized my own business and now concentrate on just the rarest of titles.
My first observation is on the reasons for acquiring a motoring title. The reason most of my customers over the years have bought a book from me is because they wanted to learn, usually about a particular make or model and, less often about a particular race track, personality, technical matter, etc. Those folks do not start out as automobilia or book collectors, but they are car enthusiasts, and some of them do become book collectors. Maybe as they grow older the passion to be out and about in their motor cars wanes, and their compulsiveness turns to books.
Many fine books have been published about our hobby, though some more marginal than others. There continues to be a demand for good titles, now more often about a narrow and specific subject. For example: Jaguar XK120s rather than Jaguars in general
PEKING TO PARIS by Luigi Barzini was one of the first books about motor racing, and as such, it has been an important collectible for many, many years. This account of the 1907 race, was first published in 1908, in Italian. As the book is out of copyright, there have been numerous cheap reprints in recent years. Some reprints are soft bound vs. the original, which was only hardbound, and quality of reproduction with the reprints is not quite up to the original. Your choice....original true collectible, or reprint? If you can afford it, and have the interest, it is always better to buy the best. Real Cobra or a kit car.....which would you rather have?
The copy I am holding of PEKING TO PARIS was in the collection of the Pitts Theology Library of Emory University…for the life of me I cannot understand why they would have an interest!!! The book contains numerous photographs, which were well printed for the time, and a fold-out map of the route. Good condition copies are to be had for around $500.
I welcome this fine new publication (AutoMobilia Resource Magazine) and hope it will lead to many discussions on the rare and collectible books aspect of automobilia.
To read more great columns like this one from rare book expert Tom Worth...
Owner of T.E. Warth, ESQ Automotive Books and founder of Books for Africa.