A good reference library, expertise and access are paramount for any rare book dealer, says Paul Foster, who has been in the business for 29 years. ‘Knowledge is what I am selling, aside from the book,’ he says.
Foster doesn’t do ‘investment speculation’, but says good books are always popular, particularly rare books, in good condition, on travel exploration, economics or science. Clients also come in search of corporate or personal gifts, and advice on how to enrich their libraries. One highlight was coming across a complete set of first editions of Captain Cook’s Voyages from the 18th century, comprising all three voyages in nine volumes, complete with an atlas in mint condition. This rarity commanded a six-digit price-tag.