Doug has a nice collection of very old books - from the mid 1700s. He found most of them at an extraordinary farm auction that we went to about 10 years ago in a neighbouring town. The auction was the remains of a Swiss estate that had been left to the cleaner(basically the young gal was asked to clean up the house and in payment she could keep a few boxes of stuff in the basement.) Doug and I had been to this Thursday night auction quite regularly and picked up a few rustic tables and cookie tins and tools. But this night was different - the usual small crowd of locals showed to up to browse through the piles of farm equipment and Tupperware only to find ratty boxes of tapestries and paintings, engravings and volumes of old books. It was like a dream - Doug, who is the die hard junk collector, thought he'd died and gone to heaven and was hoping that none of the usual buyers would recognize the value of what we were seeing. The auction went well and we picked up quite a lot of beautiful things including this collection of small books. One of the tapestries which the auctioneer referred to as a 'blanket' sold for the extortionate price of $100 and later appraised for $20,000. Doug still talks about that auction . . .
This last piece was not at the auction but it was on my camera so I thought I'd include it here - I couldn't resist this piece from one of my regular dealers in Argentina - I don't think they could have crammed one more stamp or signature on that if they had tried!