Monday, October 12, 2009

Building Shaped Bookends

If you have not completely gone digital and still have some books around the house (Don’t we all have too many?) then why not have a stylish way of holding those architectural books up? Although many building collectors want their architectural bookends to be the star of the shelf and not merely functional and possibly hidden, there are many different bookends with architectural designs. Churches and Cathedras seem to be a popular design for bookends. From sliver-painted Antwerp to gold-colored Notre Dames, European places of worship are common as flat-backed replica sets. A pair the National Cash Register (NCR) School bookends recently sold for $133 on eBay. They where given away as a sales award and have a date of 1931. Temple of Isis bookends depict five columns of the Pompeii structure. With a bronze finish, they measure 4” tall and were made by Bradley & Hubbard. The Temple of Isis is a Roman temple dedicated to the Egyptian goddess, Isis. This small and almost completely intact temple was among one of the first discoveries during the excavation of Pompeii in 1764. Another bookend set is in the shape of The Christian Science Building at the 1939 New York World's Fair. The flat brass sheet metal is etched the building’s image and stands 4" tall. Depicting the Berkshire Music Shed at Tanglewood in the Berkshire Mountains of western Ma. is the design of another set of bookends. The shed building was built in 1940 and designed by the legendary architect Eero Saarinen. This is a pair of cast iron bookends from the 1940's stands 4 3/8" tall. One of the nicest bookends, in my opinion, is that of the Bronx Hospital. With a bronze or green finish, they measure 5 1/2" wide by over 5 1/2" tall. On the back is written, “Donor to the Building Fund of the Bronx Hospital.” Just one (not a set) sold on eBay recently for $218.50. The real hospital building, at 1276 Fulton Ave. & 169th St., was built in 1928 and designed by architect Louis Allen Abramson. In 1962, the Bronx Hospital merged with the Lebanon Hospital to become the Bronx Lebanon Hospital. The First Church of Christ Scientist in Boston has a bookend set as well. Each bookend measures 7” tall. A set sold recently on eBay for $89.88. The Oregon Mutual Insurance Company of Mcminville, Oregon has a bookend with four columns supporting a pediment, with trees on each side. The pediment is marked with ‘Oregon Mutual Fire Insurance Co.,’ which is the old name for the company. With a height is 7.5” and a width of 8 inches, the casting is bronze and the wood bases may be walnut. The pair was issued in 1982 and they seem rare. Bookend replicas of the California Mission Dolores stand over 5" tall and have a great aged patina. Don’t forget some other souvenir buildings which have bookend versions I’ve written about before: Cleveland’s Terminal Tower, the Angelus Temple in L.A., and an Albany, N.Y. bank. Some collectors focus only on bookends of all designs and shapes. The Bookend Collector Club has a newsletter which is published quarterly. I could not find a website for this collector’s club. I guess being BOOKend collectors, they shy away from non-hard copy information. Here is some additional info about the history of bookends and collecting them. There are also collector’s book and price guides dedicated to all things bookends: A Collector's Guide to Cast Metal Bookends and Collector's Encyclopedia Of Bookends.

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