I thought you might find some amusement in this 25 year story in the making. I'm an avid book collector and of particular interest are sporting books from the Golden Era. When I was a kid, there was a set of books I dreamed of owning called "Hunting, Hawking, Shooting, by C.F.G.R. Schwerdt". Schwerdt was an English aristocrat that had compiled arguably the single finest collections of hunting art found anywhere in the world. (amassed in the very early 20th century).
After amassing his collection, he provided access to the works of art by making 300 copies of a three volume set of large quarto books bound by Kelly & Sons of London on the finest paper in 3/4 Green Morocco Leather Bindings. He had the finest plate makers assemble the plates and bind the works together and then after publication, ordered the plates destroyed so there would never be another facsimile of his collection available.
Needless to say, most of the fine art dealing with shooting, hunting and falconry that were captured in his "show off to friends" 3 volume book set is an extraordinary collectible not just for the beauty of the items, but because it is the magnum opus catalog of rare art that may not have been presented in any other work over the centuries.
Then, after this aristocrat made this 3 volume set of his collection in 1928, he decided to auction off his trove of antiquities near the end of his life. In 1937 he made a 4th volume that just covered the auction notes and appraisals of his inventory. The first three volumes and the subsequent matching 4th volumes scattered around the world over the past 80 years. The royal houses of Europe have them, the Vatican has a copy, a few private collectors have them too.
After seeing these books in catalogs since I was a kid I spent 10 years looking for a set but I had not 1/10th the needed capital. About 15 years ago, I found one set of the first three volumes online in a out of the genre, off the beaten path Map Dealer's shop in Virginia. I snatched them up as they were completely miss-marked and they sat on my bookshelf for 15 years looking for their sibling, volume 4.
I was trolling the Internet last week and what did I stumble across? The missing 4th volume at some small-town book dealer in Oregon of all places! Again, somewhat bargain priced because who wants 1/4th of a book set, right?
So the message with this sporting collectible tale just like it is with shotguns...patience will eventually pay off!
I'd love to know how this set of books ended up separated from their pairs, left England, and ended up on two sides of the North American continent over the course of 80 years? A rather remarkable journey and probably as close as I'll get to being able to see the actual sporting art that was amassed by this author/eccentric.
Just thought some of you might get a kick out of my story and the pursuit of these books, it only took me 3/4 of my lifetime.
Put simply, I always wanted these books.
Last edited by Rookhawk; 07/13/12 12:04 AM.