If you think AbeBooks is all about books, you're right - but that's not all we have. The world of books is multi-faceted, and many of our booksellers scour the globe looking for rare ephemera as well. If you aren't familiar with the term, ephemera refers to (generally) printed items that won't last, or are fleeting, timely and transitory. Fortunately, that sense of not lasting doesn't apply to the value of these items, which can be impressive and ever-rising.
If you search the site closely and cleverly you'll be surprised to find autographs of all sorts, personal effects, love letters, cancelled checks, photographs, playbills, the original scripts to famous films, handwritten notes, scrawled poems, passports and much more. Some items are of historical importance, while others are simply nostalgic. For the ultimate fan, these rare and often even unique treasures are a dream come true and can make any collection closer to complete. So we spent days in our search laboratory to sniff out these once in a lifetime items for sale.
Please note: Quantity on rare listings extremely limited; copies on display may sell quickly.
The Rare and Unusual
Burroughs' Bullet Holes Postcard
A postcard written to underground artist S. Clay Wilson by William S. Burroughs, who also shot two bullet holes through the card.
Narragansett Bock Beer Poster
Dr. Seuss did the artwork for this poster advertising the Narragansett Bock Beer Company of Cranston Rhode Island.
John Steinbeck's Will
The last will and testament of American legend of literature John Ernest Steinbeck - his own personal, original copy kept by him at his New York apartment.
Sonia Lovecraft's Passport
U.S. passport of Russian immigrant Sonia Haft Greene Lovecraft, who was briefly the wife of horror and fantasy author H.P. Lovecraft.
John Lennon and Yoko Ono Event Pack - sold
Complete pack of items given out to the audience at a showing of Lennon & Ono's art films at the New Cinema Club, Institute of Contemporary Arts, 10th September.
Glenway Wescott's Handkerchief
Linen or perhaps fine-combed personal cotton pocket handkerchief stitched with the name of American novelist Wescott in monogrammed script.
Charles Dickens Commemorative Bookmark
A linen bookmark, with color print embroidery, apparently issued to commemorate Dickens' interment in Westminster Abbey.
Civil War Soldier's Love Letter
Love letter written by a soldier identified in the text as "Vane" addressed to his love "Vica", dated August 23rd, 1863. Four pages long.
Nashville, Tennessee Slave Receipt
A handwritten receipt dated January 4th, 1859 to reflect $900 payment for a slave named Henry, approximately 40 years old.
Original Script for The Exorcist film
Revised final draft of the original script for the chilling, much celebrated 1973 horror film starring Ellen Burstyn and Linda Blair.
Harper Lee's University Yearbook
Two volumes of "The Corolla", the yearbook for the University of Alabama, where Lee studied in the law faculty in the mid to late 40s.
Receipt Signed by Lucille Ball
A goods receipt from Bullock's of Palm Springs. Signature reads "Lucille Ball Arnaz" with her then Hollywood, California address.
Edgar Rice Burroughs' Check
A check written for 50 cents and made out to an Elsa Staloff. Signed Edgar Rice Burroughs, and drawn on his account in Tarzana, CA.
In the Night Kitchen + Letters
A first edition of Maurice Sendak's lovely book, complete with five handwritten letters and one postcard, all from Sendak to a friend.
Seamus Heaney Limerick
An original, handwritten limerick by Irish poet Seamys Heaney, scrawled on a postcard for the Swansea Fringe Grand Auction.
Carnet de Bal (Dance Card Holder)
A 19th century French solid gold enamel item used to record the order of an evening's dances, including names of each partner.
Signed Roy Orbison Contract
Signature page of a contract document signed by Roy Orbison with the William Morris Agency. Dark, full, clear signature by Orbison
First Edition Books
Collectible Vintage Posters