Before the invention of signed bookplates, people used various methods to include autographs in their books, such as tipping in autographed cards, signed programs, or handwritten notes from the authors. In this article, we will explore what bookplates are, why they exist, and the different types you may come across.
What is a Signed Bookplate?
A bookplate is a sticky piece of paper that is attached or glued to one of the first pages of a book. A signed bookplate specifically features the autograph of the author, illustrator, publisher, a person associated with the book, or even a character from the story. It adds a personal touch to the book and makes it more special.
Why Do Bookplates Exist?
You might be wondering why authors or publishers don’t simply sign the book itself. Well, bookplates offer a practical solution. Instead of sending numerous unsigned copies of books to the signers, they can send bookplates to be signed. This saves time, effort, and the costs associated with shipping a large number of books.
Once the signed bookplates are returned, the publisher can easily attach them to the books. This is done after the books have been bound and are ready for sale. It also eliminates the need for the signers to travel to the location of the books, which is especially convenient for busy authors and VIPs.
While bookplates with signatures do qualify as genuine signed books, they are often considered separate from books with direct signatures on their pages. However, most people still recognize bookplates as signed books. It’s important to note that some bookplates may contain autopen signatures, which are generated by machines and not hand-signed. Therefore, it’s crucial to examine bookplates carefully to ensure the authenticity of the signatures.
Types of Signed Bookplates
Signed bookplates come in various forms. Apart from simple stickers with signatures, they can feature additional graphic elements that add a touch of authenticity to the book. These elements can include the author’s letterhead, the publisher’s logo, or an affiliated institution. Some bookplates may also have decorative borders or designs that enhance their aesthetic appeal.
It’s worth mentioning that signed bookplates can sometimes be sold independently, separate from the books they were originally attached to. While this may decrease their value compared to book-bound bookplates, it does not imply that the signatures are not genuine.
In conclusion, signed bookplates are a unique way to incorporate autographs into books. They provide a practical solution for publishers and authors when dealing with large quantities of books that need signatures. While opinions vary regarding their collectibility, many collectors still appreciate and treasure books with signed bookplates. Remember to pay attention to the authenticity of the signatures and be aware that bookplates may be sold separately.
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