Thanks to everyone who entered our Win A Bookseller contests. Congratulations to Stephen M Matyas from Virginia, who won our contest and to Alan Hewer from Sussex who won our UK version. Stephen collects books containing the Declaration of Independence. Alan collects books about the Great War and illustrated Victorian books from 1860s. You can read Stephen’s essay here and Alan’s essay will go online soon. The runners up for the contest were Wayne Valero, Albert Romkema, Glen Goodknight, Lyric Ajero, and Joanne Thompson. The runners up for the contest were Ray Wenden, David Green, Steve Rudge, John Riddle and Robert Bevan-Jones.

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Win a Bookseller - Winner

Stephen M. Matyas - Virginia, USA

Stephen M. MatyasI collect books dated 1776-1825 that reprint the full text of the Declaration of Independence (DOI). At first, I limited the collection to books dated pre-1900, later to books pre-1850, and eventually to pre-1826. Limiting the collection to "The first 50 years" prevented it from becoming too large, and unmanageable. Yet, it provided a large enough number of books (approximately 300), so that many were conveniently accessible and reasonably priced. While, a fewer number were of sufficient scarcity, or rarity, to make "the hunt" challenging and improbable that any one person could assemble, or “build,” a collection deemed complete.

Even more improbable, was the reason for beginning collecting in the first place: I started collecting because of a treasure story! The first ‘book’ in my collection was, in fact, a photocopy of a 23-page pamphlet published in Lynchburg, Virginia, in 1885, entitled The Beale Papers, containing authentic statements regarding the treasure buried in 1819 and 1821, near Bufords, in Bedford Country, Virginia More...

Number of Books in Collection: 750
Collecting Since: 1979
First Book: The Beale Papers, Lynchburg, Virginia, 1885
Rare Book You'd Most Like to Own: Journals and proceedings of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Phil. 1777
Best Bargain in Collection: The Constitution of Vermont. Montpelier: Printed by Wright & Sibley for Justin Hinds 1811
Highest Price Paid for a Book: $3,750. The constitutions of the several independent states of America. Philadelphia, 1781

Top 3 Books:

1. The constitutions of the several independent states of America. Philadelphia, 1781. Very Good
2. The constitutions of the several independent states of America. London, 1782. Very Good
3. The constitution of the state of New-York. Fish-Kill: Samuel Loudon, 1777. Good

Honorable mentions:

Glen G. - California, USA

Glen G.

My collecting history started in the 1950s when, as a high school student, I first read Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia. Both electrified me, changing my world view from teenage cynicism and negativity to one of hope and optimism. More...

Number of Books: 4150
Collecting Since: 1958
First Book: The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis
Best Bargain: $500 for The Lord of the Rings, 3 vols., first edition, first printing, in near mint condition.
Rare Book He'd Like to Own: Spirits in Bondage, 1919, by Clive Hamilton (psued. of C.S. Lewis)
Highest Price Paid for a Book: $3000 for Songs for Philologists, by Tolkien, now priced between $16 and $74,000 on AbeBooks

Top 3 Books in Collection:

  1. Songs for the Philologists by J.R.R. Tolkien and E.V. Gordon, London: University College 1936
  2. The Lord of the Rings by Tolkien, 1st edition, first printing, London: George Allen and Unwin 1955, 1956
  3. In de Ban van de Ring (3 vols.), the Dutch first edition of The Lord of the Rings by Tolkien, Antwerp: Het Spectrum 1956.

Wayne V. - Colorado, USA

Wayne V.

In 1988 Clive Cussler gave me a fine copy of his first hardcover, Iceberg. On that day I began fulfilling the quest of collecting the works of Cussler which continues to this day. Since then, I’ve developed a relationship with Cussler who has presented me with many rare and one-of-a-kind items. More...

Number of Books: 1500
Collecting Since: 1988
First Book: Cussler's Iceberg, published by Dodd Mead
Best Bargain: Clive Cussler’s Mayday, London: Severn House. A gift from Cussler himself.
Rare Book He'd Like to Own: Cussler's The Mediterranean Caper aka “The Naked Dirk Pitt." edition.
Highest Price Paid for a Book: $175, an uncorrected proof for Pacific Vortex by Cussler

Top 3 Books in Collection:

  1. Pacific Vortex by Clive Cussler, London: Piatkus 1983
  2. Mayday by Clive Cussler, London: Severn House 1977
  3. Iceberg by Clive Cussler, New York: Dodd, Mead & Co 1975