All our books are selected for their condition. We take a great deal of care in describing the books accurately where they are not in "fine / fine" condition. You can find the definitions of condition descriptions we use here for further information. Books can be filtered by:
When collating books for our collections, our focus is primarily on ensuring the books that we acquire are of good quality and in excellent condition. We specialise in first edition books, rare signed editions, as well as rare books of all kinds. We house collections in a variety of genres, and with both modern first editions, such as rare, signed copies by well-renowned authors, such as Terry Pratchett and JK Rowling, in addition to first edition classic books like those by Victorian author Charles Dickens, among many other popular editions. The A-Z collection here lists each author alphabetically, making it easy to find a particular volume, or simply allowing you to browse a wide collection of UK rare books at your leisure.
Rare books are those where the demand for a book is higher than the quantity of books produced, or the supply. This often includes antique books, books which are old or out of print, or books which are important in some way; they may have special features, be aesthetically interesting, or be representative of a certain publishing tradition. Many rare old books are seminal works of important authors, or have some literary value, and are therefore difficult to replace. Sometimes, these antiquarian books are special because they have particular meaning to us, or sentimental value, or have become rare over the course of time. Others are rare from the moment of their printing, especially those published by private presses, where very few copies are made and circulated. Antique books dealers, such as Cheltenham Rare Books, gather collectible books from around the UK, especially particularly rare books such as unique first editions, or limited edition signed copies. Our collection of rare first edition books features titles in a number of genres, ideal for any book collector.
First Edition Books
What does ‘first edition’ mean? - First edition books are all volumes which are printed at the same time, with the same setting and type. First editions are printed before any major changes have been made, and so are an important point in the life of the books, especially taking into account the author's intention. Especially with older first edition books, they can be representative of the context in which a book was written. As books are fragile, many first editions become damaged over time, adding to their rarity. We specialise in finding rare first editions still in excellent conditions, making the books we sell some of the best first edition books to collect.
How to identify first edition books - different publishers use a variety of methods to identify their first editions. Which are often changed. Sometimes, a book will feature the words ‘first edition’ on its copyright page. Another common method is the number line, a sequence of ascending or descending numbers. Usually, if there is a 1 in the number line, it is a first edition. Editions can also be identified by certain motifs on the covers or jackets, or particular mistakes, typos, or individual features that do not feature in subsequent editions. The most valuable first edition books would be those which feature particular unique details, or books that did not have many copies made in their first edition, making them more difficult to find.
Popular first edition books could include classics by well-known, timeless authors, or modern first editions of contemporary or beloved children’s literature.
Signed First Editions Books
Many of the rare books in the collection are also signed versions of the first edition, making them even rarer and more precious. Signed books will feature the signature of the author or illustrator, depending on the focus of the book, usually in one of the front pages. Signed first editions are particularly rare and special to collect as there tend to be fewer of them that were produced, and they are usually limited edition books. Rare signed first edition books in the collection include William Schafer’s Subterranean Tales of Dark Fantasy, one of only 250 copies, which is signed by all contributors; Julie Andrews’ early memoir, Home; and several works by British playwright Alan Bennett, among other signed first editions, in a variety of different genres.
Signed editions of books are not only rarer, but also much more personal because of their scarcity. You can be sure that your signed first edition is one of only very few, and it can be inspiring to have an inscription from a writer whom you admire. Signed books in the UK are either inscribed or flat signed; inscribed books often feature an inscription or dedications, while flat-signed books just have a signature. Either way, this adds to the singular, personal nature of the book, and is a part of the history of its publication.