Sunday, November 2, 2014

Australian book seller labels

It being a slow Sunday afternoon, I thought I'd start to compile a catalogue of Australian (and nearby countries) bookseller labels. They're usually found on the bottom right-hand corner of the front paste-down.  I've taken the date from the publication year of the book, and given the name of the particular book in brackets.  Dymock's and Angus & Robertson are still going strong, but as far as I know the others have all closed their doors.

A.J. Dungey, Bendigo, 1926 (Walter De La Mare, The Connoisseur)

A.H. Spencer, Melbourne, 1923 (Walter De La Mare, The Riddle)

Moore's Bookshop, Sydney, 1948 (J. Jefferson Farjeon, Death of a World)

Dymock's Book Arcade, Sydney, 1911 (Fergus Hume, High Water Mark)

Dymock's Book Arcade, Sydney, c. 1930 (H. Rider Haggard, The Witch's Head)

Kelly & Walsh, Raffles Place, Singapore, 1932 (Hammett, Modern Tales of Horror)

Robertson & Mullens, Melbourne, 1925 (Archibald Strong (trans.), Beowulf)

Robertson & Mullens, Melbourne, 1951 (Burroughs, Synthetic Men of Mars)

George Greenwood, Sydney, 1954 (Arthur C. Clarke, Expedition to Earth)

Verity Hewitt, Canberra, 1962 (The Second Chandler Omnibus)

Verity Hewitt, Canberra, 1963 (Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes)

A. McLeod, Brisbane, 1954 (Robert Heinlein, The Green Hills of Earth)

A. McLeod, Brisbane, 1955 (L. Sprague de Camp, Lest Darkness Fall)

Hall's Book Store, Melbourne, 1961 (Out of This World 2)

Griffiths Star Store, Geelong, 1930 (J.G. Lockhart, A Great Sea Mystery: The True Story of the "Mary Celeste")

Griffiths Book Store, Geelong, 1937 (Second Century of Creepy Stories)

F.W. Preece, Sydney, 1937 (Helen Simpson, Under Capricorn)

A.J. Harding, Auckland, New Zealand, 1922 (A. Conan Doyle, Tales of Terror and Mystery)

Notanda Gallery, Sydney, 1951 (Cyril Connolly, The Unquiet Grave)

Alberts Bookshop, Perth, 1957 (Randolph Stow, The Bystander)

Berry Anderson, Ballarat, 1942 (Karen Blixen, Winter's Tales)

Angus & Robertson, Sydney, 1938 (Mary Grace Ashton, The Eye of a Needle)

Angus & Robertson, Sydney, 1954 (Davis Grubb, The Night of the Hunter)

Grahame Book Company, Sydney, 1948 (Graves & Hodge, The Reader Over Your Shoulder)

Grahame Book Company, Sydney, 1955 (C.S. Lewis, Surprised By Joy)

Ell's, Newcastle, 1951 (Viereck & Eldridge, My First Two Thousand Years)

Ell's, Newcastle, 1960 (The Best of Gerald Kersh)

Swain's, Sydney, 1961 (T.C. Lethbridge, Ghost and Ghoul)

Barkers Bookstore, Brisbane, 1952 (Harry Price, The End of Borley Rectory)

Thomson's Book Shop, Albury, 1935 (Mrs Barre Goldie, The Piper of Arristoun)


  1. Very interesting: some very attractive (and not particularly utilitarian) designs!

  2. I've a long way to go to catch up with John Holroyd, who collected over 2000 labels. The State Library of Victoria even staged an exhibition:

  3. Wonderful collection! I have a few too. The Grahame Book Co. stamp is especially interesting. I've seen three designs of subtle differences, and on one design at least two distinct printings. The one your missing is nearly identical to the red and black one, but the colors are reversed -- black border with red vignette. I wonder how long they used them...

  4. Thanks Benjamin - I've been neglecting this and have a few more to add. I agree with the Grahame stamp - they're terrific. I don't have the one you mention, but will look out for it.

  5. Very interesting collection! As a bookseller/book buyer for 25 years in Sydney I worked for most of the major chains including Angus and Robertson, Dymocks, Pocket Bookshops, Ariel, the University Cooperative Bookshop, Collins etc. (Never worked for Grahame's though) When working for Dymocks main store in the centre of Sydney for 5 years in the mid-1990s, I was astounded to find that there was no historical archive of their publications. (Dymocks served as publishers as well as booksellers in the early years of the 2th century). They had plenty of photographs of the early days in the offices upstairs, but no collection of the published books - which made me want to start one! I also well remember Max Ell's bookstore in Newcastle, which I used to haunt as a teenager, and George Greenwood's, which in the eighties and nineties one of many Sydney secondhand bookstores where one could still hunt down bargains and rarities. Alas for those that have gone, including Greenwoods, Stuarts, Ashwoods, and others. Sydney's best secondhand bookshops these days are those run by Berkelouws in several suburbs.