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Annotated Reference Guide to Collectible Books

Appletree Alley

Appletree Alley

One of the many difficulties and joys of collecting the fine presses is their rarity. Many of the fine art presses enjoy a healthy and enjoyable collection across the community of libraries, museums, and cultural establishments – but few have managed to ‘break into’ the world of social media and the networked internet.

One of the cases in point might well be that of Barnard Taylor’s very fine press, the Appletree Alley press of Lewisburg, closely associated with the University of Bucknell. Appletree Alley Press has been a life-long endeavor for Barnard Taylor, who designed and typeset the pages of its manuscripts himself, as well as fashioning unique woodblock prints for each. Unfortunately, the press has since closed down, but what has become available to the online collector is a wonderful array of very detailed, elegant work, poetry compilations, treatises, and highly individual works.

As Appletree is still very much a contemporary press, a collector will have the opportunity to purchase some of their finest works at very low prices indeed (especially works published from 1995-2000). Another wonderful opportunity (if still available!) would be one of the only 150 copies of Appletree’s ‘Nine Answers’ by George Bernard Shaw. Currently a copy would be available for in the region of less than a $100, but its good design and publishing work, as well as he extremely limited print run may make it a collector’s item in the coming decades.

Also consider St Paul the First Hermite: His Life by St Jerome (1986), one of only 110 copies printed by Appletree Alley, available for less than $200. What makes this book doubly interesting is the hand-molded paper, as well as the fine printing and construction.