• About Us

    Raven & Gryphon Fine Books is a family owned and operated rare book business located on the beautiful coastal shores of St. Margaret’s Bay in Hackett's Cove, Nova Scotia, Canada - just minutes away from Peggy's Cove. We specialize in fine books from rare and valuable to more modestly priced newer books.

     

    We take pride in dealing in unique and important books that are in fine condition. Our passion for books and collecting enables us to provide advice that can help our customers build their collections. Whether you wish to find a hidden literary treasure, create a personal library, start a small collection of first editions, or give a gift to a loved one, we can assist you in discovering the world of book collecting and the enjoyment of fine books.

     

    Learn more about our 'booking legacy' in the recently featured front page article of The Coastal Wire here.

  • Our Story

    Glenda and I (Andrew) have both been voracious readers starting when we were children and very frequent visitors to public libraries. We have since passed on our passion for reading to our two children and grandchild.

     

    We began our fine book collecting early in our marriage when we returned from England to live in New Brunswick, Canada. We attended many country auctions to help furnish our home. At one of these auctions, we bought two boxes of books that contained rare French, Italian, Spanish as well as English books. The oldest book was a stunning Pedro Calderon book from 1725 published in Madrid and bound in vellum. Another literary jewel was a limited edition Rockwell Kent illustrated book, The Decameron of Giovanni Boccaccio. Not your run of the mill books, for sure. So, we headed to the library where we found a copy of John Carter’s ABC for Book Collectors. And that was the start of our adventure in book collecting. Since then we have been active book collectors in Toronto, Chicago, Annapolis, Maryland and now in Nova Scotia where we returned to live after being away for 30 years.

     

    During that time, we have built a library of some 3,000 books and, in 2017 when we decided to open our own book business, we transferred over 1,600 books to Raven & Gryphon Fine Books. To that base we have been adding to our inventory on a weekly basis. Our inventory as of February 2022 is approximately 3,000 books. Of these, some 600 are priced at $50 or over and these are listed on the internet. They can be searched by clicking on the little circle with the book that is located just beneath our banner. All books can be viewed by booking an appointment for a personal visit. Our shop is located in beautiful Hackett's Cove, only minutes away from Peggy's Cove.

     

    In order to sell fine books we need to buy fine books and so we are always interested in acquiring items for our inventory.

    Our Family Crest

    What's the story behind our business name and logo you might ask? Well, our family's crest, the Cutten crest, goes back to Saxon times in England. It is a demi or half Gryphon. This crest, as you can see in the picture, has the Gryphon holding a seashell, a symbol that the family had participated in the Crusades.

     

    While musing over the name for our family business and the concept of using the Gryphon name our daughter-in-law Maria, whose photos grace this website, asked “Where is the raven?” She knows how much we are fascinated with this incredible bird. So, we added the Raven and we substituted a book for the seashell in our logo, designed by Maria and our son Gregory. It became set in stone.

  • Our Books

    We specialize in literature, history and travel and illustrated books/photography/art books. Our large slection of modern first editions are virtually all in fine condition in fine mylar protected dust jackets.

     

    At present, we have a sizeable horror cinema and literature selection including early first editions of works by King, Koontz, Martin and Gaiman.

     

    To view many of the fine books we have for sale please click on any of the fabulous books featured below this paragraph. You will be immediately taken to our on-line inventory, featuring the book you clicked on. Scroll down that page and you will come to "List This Seller's Books". Click on that and you will see all the books currently listed on the internet for sale, starting with the most recently posted item. You will see a full description of each book plus pictures. And as noted previously you can search the online items by clicking on the little circle with the book.

    Fabulous Books

    Divina Commedia

    Dante

    London, 1802

    $8,000

    Dante’s Divina Commedia is a masterpiece of world literature and considered by many to be one of the greatest literary works of the Middle Ages. He is one of the most admired and influential poets ever.

    This book is the very first translation into English. A truly extremely rare and important book.

    Barflies and Cocktails

    Harry and Wynn

    Paris, 1927

    $7,500

    Not only is Harry's New York Bar, Paris, one of the most famous bars in the world it is also the source of the term "Barfly" - part of out lexicon forever. This book is a wonderful association/presentation copy to British writer and original barfly D.B. Wyndham Lewis. A cornerstone book for any mixology collection.

     

    The Maine Woods

    Henry David Thoreau

    Boston, 1864

    $2,500

    Thoreau is regarded as one of the foremost American writers, both for his prose style and his views and love of nature. This book, The Maine Woods, recounts his trips through the Maine
    Wilderness in 1846, 1853 and 1857. Thoreau's evocative renderings of the life of the primitive forest--its mountains, waterways, fauna, flora, and inhabitants--are timeless and valuable.

    Illustrated and History Books

    Hieronymus Bosch

    Charles De Tolnay

    New York, 1966

    $225

    Bosch, 1450-1516, born in Holland, is best known for his nightmarish and macabre imagery of hell and those who dwell therein. Should you buy this book keep it away from children! It is scary even for adults.

    Memoirs of Napoleon Bonaparte

    Louis Antoine Fauvelet de Bourrienne

    New York, n.d. circa 1900

    4 volume set

    $150

    We all know about Napoleon, his successes, and his defeats. But how well do we know the man? De Bourrienne knew Napoleon very well and this is the critical value of the 4-volume set of books.

    The quality of the photographs of Japanese and their dress and costumes is exquisite, as are the subjects themselves. The book includes a number of double page illustrations. A fascinating study.

    Canadiana

    The History of Kings County Nova Scotia

    Arthur W. E. Eaton

    Salem, MA, 1910

    $250

    This massive tomb has no maps, no illustrations but is a treasure of genealogy and history of Kings County. A true cornerstone work on the settlement of the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia.

    Many of the illustrations are of the Waegwoltic Club, and there is an illustration of “The First Executive of The Waegwoltic 1908” and the President is none other than the author of this book, John W. Regan.

    Good Bones and Simple Murders

    Margaret Atwood

    Toronto, 2001

    $50

    This book has 35 very short pieces of prose, and is difficult to categorize, other than to say it is pure Atwood. A very different book from her, especially with her own illustrations. It is certainly one of her most infrequently seen works.

    New Acquisitions

    Archaeology of Easter Island

    Thor Heyerdahl

    London, 1962

    $250

    (Added December 2021)

    This book covers the findings of this amazing expedition in 559 pages of text, drawings, charts, maps, followed by 96 plates followed by "tip-ins", a series of 11 double fold out illustrations. This is a very scarce volume, especially in its near-fine condition.

    With Strings Attached: The Art and Beauty of Vintage Guitars

    Jonathan Kellerman

    New York, 2008

    $125

    (Added February 2022)

    Kellerman takes us on a fascinating guided tour through his collection, complete with rich personal histories of his favorite instruments and of the brilliant, often eccentric craftsmen and musicians who brought them to life.

    Cockpit: An Illustrated History of World War II Aircraft Interiors

    Donald Nijboer

    Erin, Ontario, 1998

    $60

    (Added February 2022)

    Cockpit is the first book to take us inside so many of the most revered fighters and bombers of the War, including rare shots of Japanese and German aircraft interiors.

  • My Saturday Book Musings

    November 19, 2022 · Knots,Quirky Books,Fine Book Collecting,Halifax,Nova Scotia
    “Quirky”. I love quirky things. When you hit “search” on “quirky” in Word here is what you get “...
    November 12, 2022 · Fine Book Collecting,Halifax,5th Anniversary,Nova Scotia,Bookshop
    Our 5th anniversary was on October 30, 2022! We use the Abebooks statement “seller since October...
    October 22, 2022 · Legal Classics,Halifax,Fine Book Collecting,Clarence Darrow,American History
    Finely produced books were the order of the day from the late nineteenth century through the...
    More Posts
  • On Book Collecting

    Our focus at Raven & Gryphon Fine Books is on fine quality books. What makes a book fabulous and valuable? Here are 3 critical elements that drive value:

    Importance

    For a book to carry a high price tag, it must be important for some reason. It may be that it was the first book of a major author, such as Hemingway. Or it could be because of it’s impact on the community it addresses. A good example would be On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin. It may be that the importance is due to the press or publisher that issued the book such as William Morris’ Kelmscott Press. Alternatively, it may be the illustrator. Some, with deep pockets, collect the first and limited editions of works illustrated by Arthur Rackham.

     

    Age of the book by itself is not a factor. Contrary to many who possess old books and because of their age they believe they have something valuable. We have books that are 200 years old that are in great condition and very scarce – but who cares if it is a meaningless book.

    Scarcity

    How rare a book is will have a significant impact on the value of an important book. There are mythical rare books, such as first editions of Edgar Allan Poe’s Tamerlane. Find one and retire! Typically, it is the early works of famous authors that are valuable because there are not many of them. Later works are produced in high numbers so even if it is a great work it has little value because it is very common. So first editions of Stephen King’s Carrie and Salem’s Lot are scarce and very pricey. The value of his books decreases as he became better known and printed copies escalated. Often, with great “modern” writers the publishers create scarcity by publishing special limited editions of works that are signed by the author and illustrator if there is one. And this manufactured “scarcity” works in the collector marketplace.

    Condition

    The condition of a book is of vital importance for the vast majority of books. And this is one of the first attributes that a book dealer will note when describing a book. There is no set of descriptions that is used by all collectors and dealers, unfortunately. Some describe a book as “fine” or “as new”. They would mean the same thing. Typically, you will see the following terms used – Fine; Near Fine; Very Good, Good and Fair. Collectible books stop at “Very Good”. A common phrase is that “a good book ain’t good!” This system of grading breaks down somewhat in that the description is based on the graders personal opinion. It is not unusual to see a book graded at Near Fine but when you read the description it would appear that a categorization as “Good” would be more appropriate.

     

    The Dust Jacket is almost as important as the book itself, and dealers will describe both the condition of the book and then the dust jacket so you will see a double notation such as F/NF. In the world of modern first editions the condition of the book and of the dust jacket are of equal importance. Dust jackets deteriorate quickly if not treated with respect. Many dealers protect the dust jacket with mylar plastic covers.

  • Contact Us

    Are you looking for a particular item? Have a question?
    Would you like to set-up a private viewing of our book selection?
    Please fill out the form below and we will respond as soon as possible.

    Halifax, Nova Scotia
    By appointment only.
    (902) 488-6291
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