[JHRB News] Odd book except & new catalogs...

Joslin Hall Rare Books, ABAA office at joslinhall.com
Tue Mar 16 19:18:58 EST 2004

Just when we thought it was safe to put the snow shovels away, a "Classic
Nor'Easter" is sliding into New England, promising a foot of snow.  But
remember- Spring begins later this week, and the Red Sox are playing
baseball in Florida, so how long can it be 'till we break out the beach

One last reminder, we have a new printed list- "A Few of My Favorite
Things".  If you want a copy send us your snail mail address.

We are at work on a printed list for next week of books on Ceramics, so if
you want a copy of that, also be sure to send us your snail mail address.

 - -

A few years ago we had a forged "Tavolette" (Biccherna) book cover by the
Italian artist Icilio Federico Joni.  Some time after that I was able to
come up with a copy of his rather rare 1936 autobiography.  Joni was an
accomplished artist and craftsman who sold his works for what they were-
original works done in 15th and 16th century styles.  He knew that the
antique and art dealers he was selling to were re-selling them as
originals, but he had to put food on his table, and figured that what
other people did was not his business.  When confronted about his work he
was honest, but in no way apologetic, which leads us to today's book
quote, relating an incident that probably happened in Sienna around 1910-


One day a gentleman burst into my lodgings with a parcel under his arm. 
He gave a lira tip to the man who had come with him, and then, pointing to
the door, dismissed him in tones that did not admit of a reply.  I watched
his imperious manners with a certain interest, and wondered what could
have brought a fellow like this to see me.  Without a word he placed the
parcel on a table, unwrapped it and took out a Biccherna book cover, which
he showed me.

"Is this your work?" he demanded.

I said that it was, and he flew into a rage, saying that it was shameful
the way the Italians cheated foreigners.  I let him blow off steam and
then asked him: "How much did you pay for it?"

"Four hundred lira."

"Ah!  So you think we Italians are such fools that we would sell a rare
thing like that, if it was genuine, for four hundred lira?"

It was then my turn to tell him to be off at once.  He did the parcel up
again, and left without another word.

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