Question: Last year, I became the owner of old books purchased at a block sale. One book in good condition is titled “The Golf Courses of the British Isles.” Written by Bernard Darwin, illustrated by Harry Rowntree and published by Duckworth & Co. in 1910, it has a dark green cloth cover with gold decoration and printing. Can you tell me anything about the book and if it has value? — T.C., Asbury Park
Answer: Your book, written by English lawyer, journalist and avid golfer Bernard Darwin, has become a favorite of golf devotees since its debut in 1910. A grandson of naturalist Charles Darwin, Bernard Darwin was an avid golfer who covered the sport for The Times, a British newspaper, from 1907 to 1953. Considered one of the first modern sportswriters, he served as captain of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrew in 1934.
Darwin’s book, a narrative guide through the golf courses of England, Scotland and Ireland, is enhanced by 64 color illustrations created by Harry Rountree, another enthusiastic player. He produced them when visiting those countries while on a golfing trip with Darwin. A London lithographer, writer and prolific illustrator of children’s books, cartoons, advertising and golfing caricatures, Rountree was captain of the London Golfing Society in 1912.
Importantly, your book can be identified as a first edition of “The Golf Courses of the British Isles” because Harry Rountree’s name was misspelled as “Rowntree” in that edition. His name was spelled correctly in all subsequent editions.
Current asking prices for early copies of “The Golf Courses of the British Isles” range from $600 to $2,500, based on condition, if a book bears an autograph of the author and/or illustrator as well as past ownership of the book by a significant person. Two years ago, a first edition in good to very good condition sold for $848.
Question: I plan to sell a small collection of old paperweights members of my family bought at various fairs and expositions many years ago. During the 1940s, my great-grandfather was told that one of the paperweights was worth lots of money. It is clear and frosted glass, 3 1/8 inches long, with a pressed design showing Christopher Columbus holding a small globe. The piece is marked, “Libbey Glass, Toledo, Ohio, World’s Fair 1893.” Information is appreciated. — C.H., Wildwood Crest
Answer: Your heirloom paperweight is a souvenir sold at the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893. Held in Chicago, the popular entertainment and cultural event celebrated the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s voyages to the New World.
The Fair, electrically lighted at night and known as the “White City,” hosted millions of visitors on hundreds of acres from May 1893 until it closed on Oct. 31 of that year. Since most folks who attended large fairs wanted keepsakes associated with the occasions, a wide variety of mementoes, including prints, posters and postcards, jewelry, banks, programs, ceramic and glass items, toys, medals and photos, were available to take home and enjoy or give to others.
Paperweights were popular, practical souvenirs and yours, made by the Libbey Glass Co. in Toledo, Ohio, was available at the company’s Glass Pavilion throughout the Chicago Columbian Exposition. There, more than a hundred craftsmen created thousands of molded, blown and cut glass souvenirs, many of them currently in collections of today’s World’s Fair enthusiasts. Recently, a Libbey Columbian Expo paperweight like yours in excellent condition without cracks, chips, flakes or other damage sold for $77.
Alyce Hand Benham is an antiques broker, appraiser and estate-liquidation specialist. Send questions to: Alyce Benham, Living section, The Press of Atlantic City, 1000 W. Washington Ave., Pleasantville, NJ 08232. Email: email@example.com. Letters may be used in future columns but cannot be answered individually, and photos cannot be returned.