Saturday, August 2, 2014

What is a Signed Book?

The term Autograph is something written by someone, being of their own hand. A book with "To John, with best wishes, from the Author" is autographed but not signed.

All signatures are autographs, but not all autographs are signatures...

An Autograph also means a person's signature, most commonly being used when describing collecting celebrity autographs. The hobby of collecting autographs is known as Philography.

Signed or a Signature means the book has been signed by its author (or illustrator, or editor).

A signed book will always be more valuable than a book of the same, that is not, of course. A dated signature is usually a plus, as well. The closer the date of the signature is to the book's publication, the better; or more valuable I should say. (Sometimes booksellers make reference of this, by noting that a book is "Signed in the Year of Publication")

You may have come across a description for a book that lists it as "flatsigned" when looking for books on the internet, lets just say, it's not a generally accepted term among booksellers, since being first coined by a bookseller on ebay, using it to describe a signed book ( that hasn't been inscribed.) Some other sellers have also copied it's use. However, the word "signed," as described above, means just the same and is understood by all collectors & dealers.

Bookplates also known as ex-librÄ«s [Latin, "from the books of..."], usually a small print or decorative label pasted into a book, often on the inside front cover,  which indicates it's owner. Simple typographical bookplates are termed a 'booklabel'.which.are sometimes signed by the author, then affixed to books later. Signatures signed directly onto a book are more highly desired by collectors than one that appears on a booklabel. Here is a great blog that explains bookplates more in depth: Signing Books By Bookplate.

Some references above from source link:


* All images found on are provided from my personal collection of current and previously owned books, unless noted otherwise.

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