Rare clock book

Kerstin Karlsson

NAWCC Member
Aug 30, 2017
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Hello, this is the first time I am posting anything using a message board, so not sure I am at the right location. I just now became a member and are excited about this site.

We are four sibling who last year inherited many clocks and books from our father Sune Hartman in Smaland Sweden. (He was a longtime member of NAWCC by the way).

We are particularly interested in finding out more about a set of very special books (two) and what to do with them. Wondering if anyone has come across these books and maybe has any idea how much they could be worth? Or if anyone can advise how to best find out? Also, advise on how to best take care of really old books would be very much appreciated.

They are in French, published year 1802 by Ferdinand Berthoud. Title: Histoire de la Mesure du Temps par les Horloges. Tome I, and Tome II. They are original and, as far as I can determine, complete with all the fold out illustrations etc. They were professionally rebound in light cloth material probably about 30-40 years ago, and protected by a cover so that it looks brand new. The edges of the pages are wavy, and the inside pages are very clean and no damage, but do have some tiny brown spots. I am curious as to why the edges are wavy, but do not think it is due to water damage and it makes the books look very interesting and handmade.
I have tried to read on the internet and find little information. But at one place it said that these books were printed in 800ex. My father took them to the Swedish equivalent to "Antique Road Show" maybe 10yrs ago, but unfortunately no info has been saved. We do remember the "judge" was excited and saying that these were very rare and in good shape, but unfortunate they were not in original binding. However, due to very few copies around still very valuable.
Any input, advise in regards to our handling of these books are appreciated! Looking forward to being part of the NAWCC message board, thanks!
 
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zedric

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Aug 8, 2012
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Welcome to the message board, and congratulations on inheriting a very interesting and by now quite rare set of books.

In terms of price, you can find copies of this book on the internet if you look (eg search for the title on AbeBooks), although the prices asked may not be the price that someone would pay, especially as the book has been re-issued over the years. There is even a current "re-print" (presumably printed from a scanned copy of the book) available new for very little. But there are probably enough people who will want the original edition, should one come up at auction, or be sold through one of the horological book retailers, that you could get a good price if you wanted to sell, or find the insurance value if you decide to keep these books.

If you do decide to sell, I would try one of the specialist horological auctions, such as the twice-yearly clock sales at Bonhams (they will deduct a sellers premium, insurance costs etc), or try one of the specialist horological book suppliers, who will certainly want to buy these, but will need to make their a profit margin. Either way, the value you get will not be the price you can see on AbeBooks, but I expect you would still do quite well.

If you decide to keep, you might want to do the same as I do with some of these older books, and buy a copy of one of the reprints to read. Then if you need to, you can refer to the book itself where the illustrations or text in the reprint are difficult to decipher (the quality of the photos in particular are rarely as good in the reprints, compared to the originals). That will reduce the handling of the original books. You may also want to visit an antiquarian book store for advice on how to handle the books, if others here can't help - I just keep my books on a bookshelf (or in the case of those that are too large to fit on a standard bookshelf, like my original editions of "Old English Clocks - The Wetherfield Collection", I keep them in a drawer) - but then I don't own any books dating back past the late 1800s.
 

John Hubby

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Kerstin, welcome to the NAWCC Message Board! Thanks for your inquiry and posting the information regarding your father's rare Berthoud book set. Regarding values, we have a separate Values Forum where that can be discussed, in the Books category. Zedrick has given some very useful suggestions how to sell the books, but we cannot discuss actual values here. I will copy your post and place it there, perhaps there are users who can offer additional help. Also, I will send a private message to you regarding other contacts that may be useful.

I have copies of several illustrations from these books that I enjoy very much.
 

JTD

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Sep 27, 2005
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Kerstin, I have posted a reply to you on the 'What's this book worth? section, to which John Hubby transferred your question. Hope it may bew of help.

JTD
 

Kerstin Karlsson

NAWCC Member
Aug 30, 2017
5
0
1
Welcome to the message board, and congratulations on inheriting a very interesting and by now quite rare set of books.

In terms of price, you can find copies of this book on the internet if you look (eg search for the title on AbeBooks), although the prices asked may not be the price that someone would pay, especially as the book has been re-issued over the years. There is even a current "re-print" (presumably printed from a scanned copy of the book) available new for very little. But there are probably enough people who will want the original edition, should one come up at auction, or be sold through one of the horological book retailers, that you could get a good price if you wanted to sell, or find the insurance value if you decide to keep these books.

If you do decide to sell, I would try one of the specialist horological auctions, such as the twice-yearly clock sales at Bonhams (they will deduct a sellers premium, insurance costs etc), or try one of the specialist horological book suppliers, who will certainly want to buy these, but will need to make their a profit margin. Either way, the value you get will not be the price you can see on AbeBooks, but I expect you would still do quite well.

If you decide to keep, you might want to do the same as I do with some of these older books, and buy a copy of one of the reprints to read. Then if you need to, you can refer to the book itself where the illustrations or text in the reprint are difficult to decipher (the quality of the photos in particular are rarely as good in the reprints, compared to the originals). That will reduce the handling of the original books. You may also want to visit an antiquarian book store for advice on how to handle the books, if others here can't help - I just keep my books on a bookshelf (or in the case of those that are too large to fit on a standard bookshelf, like my original editions of "Old English Clocks - The Wetherfield Collection", I keep them in a drawer) - but then I don't own any books dating back past the late 1800s.
Thank you Zedric for your very useful reply and information! I apologize for taking so long to reply, but couldn't figure this site out right away. I appreciate all the good information and will definitely take everythig to heart. These books are truly amazing, even to someone who does not understand anything in the subject. Thanks again, kind regards Kerstin
 

JTD

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Sep 27, 2005
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Since you may not have seen the replies in the 'What's this book worth' section to which your original enquiry was moved, I will repeat that you might find it useful to contact Svenska Antikvariatföreningen in Stockholm (email address: main@svaf.se). They will likely be able to give you a valuation relative to your location.

JTD
 

Kerstin Karlsson

NAWCC Member
Aug 30, 2017
5
0
1
Since you may not have seen the replies in the 'What's this book worth' section to which your original enquiry was moved, I will repeat that you might find it useful to contact Svenska Antikvariatföreningen in Stockholm (email address: main@svaf.se). They will likely be able to give you a valuation relative to your location.

JTD
I just found your reply under that section, I guess I need some getting used to how to move around, but do understand now the different sections. Appreciate your reply, and thanks! Kerstin
 

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