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Bookplates, also known as ex-libris, have since the 15th century been placed in books to declare ownership. Many artists, some famous such as William Hogarth, Aubrey Beardsley and John Piper, have designed bookplates, and many significant people (e.g. Samuel Pepys and Rudyard Kipling) have used them, but a personal bookplate has been available to anyone owning a library and wishing to place in the books a printed design as a mark of possession.

Founded in 1972, The Bookplate Society is the direct des-cendant of the world's first such organisation, the Ex Libris Society, 1891-1908, and its creation and successor, the Bookplate Exchange Club. So in 2012 we celebrated the Society's 40th anniversary. Our purpose is to encourage the production, use, collecting, and study of bookplates. We achieve this through our publications, members' auctions, visits to collections, social events, talks, and exhibitions.

The Society has been running its second online auction. This has now ended, although unsold items may still be purchased. There was a huge selection of British, American and Continental European bookplates on offer, largely from the estate of our former honorary member Brian Schofield. In accordance with our aim to widen interest in the study of bookplates, this sale was opened to non-members. You can still view the Explanatory Notes and the twelve pages of images by going to PAGE 1 and for a write-up by Lew Jaffe click on this link - BOOKPLATE JUNKIE.

The News and Events page of this website has details of our book issued to members in June 2013: British Royal Bookplates by Brian North Lee, first published in 1992. We previously published, and issued to members for 2011/12, was on the bookplates of Miss C Helard (see image to right). She was the wife of Arthur Fox-Davies, the great heraldic authority. Copies of both books can be ordered by non-members. One or two copies of the special edition of the Helard book, with original bookplates tipped-in, remain available. Our book for 2013/14 is currently in preparation - entitled Strawberry Leaves it will cover the bookplates of British non-royal dukes and their libraries.

Library staff in Toronto have earned our warmest thanks by converting into digital form the Catalogue of the Franks Collection of British and American Bookplates in the British Museum Department of Prints and Drawings. Rather than paying out £400 or more for ever-scarcer copies of this important reference work, you can now find it online. Each of the three volumes can be downloaded free of charge, without copyright restriction, in PDF format, which is partly searchable. Alternatively, you may flip through the pages online (but not downloadable). The links to the three volumes are:
VOL.2 H-R and
VOL.3 S-W, Bookplates of Institutions, and Heraldic Index .


The list for the members auction to be held on 18 April 2015 is now available online (see Members Area page). The Winter Web Auction is now closed, but the bidding is visible online and is still being updated every few days as unsold items are purchased post-auction. Note also that the dates for our events in 2015 have been amended.

It is worth mentioning that there exists a vibrant market in bookplates on eBay.

Some sample images from our current web auction.

This fine book by Brian Lee is our members book for 2013. Copies are available for non-members.

The Bookplates of Miss C Helard, wife of heraldic authority Arthur Fox-Davies. By Colin Lattimore, this is  the Society's members' book for 2011-2012. Copies are available.
In memoriam: This website was realised thanks to a
grant from the fund generously established to the memory
of our former member, Darlene J Butler (1939-89).

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