Welcome to my web site of antique bookmarks. I've been collecting bookmarks since 1995 and have amassed over 1200 pieces since then. This site, truly a labor of love, contains an interactive catalog of my entire collection.
Bookmarks come in all shapes and sizes. Many are shaped like knives or swords because at the turn of the century, many pages in books were not completely separated, so they were also used as paper cutters. Other pieces are figural, composed of animals
and busts of famous people. There are some made of thin celluloid with advertising on them for a wide variety of products.
My collection is primarily silver, but it includes bookmarks of gold, brass, bronze, copper, celluloid, pewter, silk, plastic, enamel, mother of pearl, leather and ivory. The oldest bookmark in this collection, seen on the right, is circa 1865,
a beautiful Gorham piece with a dog or fox head as the top blade. The hallmark on the piece determines the date. My first piece, seen on the left, is an S. Kirk and Sons bookmark with a bouquet of roses on the top. This is one of the most popular silver bookmarks.How I got started collecting
It's a funny story, really. It was 1995 and I was thinking about something to collect. Every Sunday there is a different antique flea market going on in the Los Angeles area and I began going to them. I was intrigued by the Russian lacquer boxes and started buying them. The problem with them is that they are very expensive and it's hard to know which ones will retain their value. I needed something else.
In the fall of that year, I went to a 25th wedding anniversary of my cousin. It was in Phoenix and most of the family came from the four corners of the US to meet there. I was talking to my other cousin and told her that I was going to the antique flea markets around LA. She said that she collected silver bookmarks and that if I ever come across one I should buy it for her. I told here that I would.
The next Sunday at the Rose Bowl antique flea market, the largest one in the LA area, I found two silver bookmarks. I thought that this was something that I might like to collect and so I kept them for myself. Also I thought it might be fun as a little competition between the two of us.
About six months later, my cousin and I met again in Las Vegas, where her parents lived. I decided to bring my collection with me to show her. I had amassed about 40 pieces by that time. When she saw my collection, her jaw dropped to her knees. "How did you get so many!" she said. "What do you mean" I replied. "Don't you have a large collection yourself? You said that you collect them." "I have two! More than one is a collection" she said with a smile.
This is how I store the bookmarks. They're in a file cabinet with many drawers as seen in this photo.