• About Us

    Raven & Gryphon Fine Books is a family owned and operated rare book business just outside of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Our bookstore is located on the beautiful coastal shores of St. Margaret’s Bay in Hackett's Cove - just minutes away from Peggy's Cove. We specialize in fine and rare books in all price ranges.

     

    We are very much an international business, selling rare and fine books to clientele all around the globe. We certainly would encourage all visitors to Nova Scotia to include a visit to our bookstore on their way to Peggy's Cove. Fine Books - Fine Scenery!

     

    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.

  • 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 March 2023 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 purchasing items for our inventory.

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    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.

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  • 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

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    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.

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    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.

     
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    Young Lonigan

    James T. Farrell

    New York, 1932

    $2,000

    Farrell was a novelist, journalist and short story writer known for his realist descriptions of Chicago’s South Side, the setting for his Studs Lonigan trilogy. This book, Farrell’s first novel, was the first book in the trilogy. In 1998, The Modern Library ranked the Studs Lonigan trilogy at #29 on its list of the 100 best English language novels of the 20th century.

    Illustrated and History Books

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    Edinburgh Revisited

    James Bone with drawings by Hanslip Fletcher

    London, 1911

    $300

    The text of this book is the impressions and opinions formed during a visit to Edinburgh in 1910 after a long stay in the South. Of the 75 drawings, there are 16 full page, plus an additional 16 tipped in collotypes that are on heavier grey stock paper, each with a glassine sheet that has the details of the picture printed thereon.

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    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.

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    Opera

    David Leventi, foreword by Placido Domingo

    Italy, 2015

    $50

    The book features photos of 47 opera houses in 19 different countries. Leventi’s photographs draw attention to the ways opera house interiors were reconfigured over time. Boxed seats for royals and the upper classes gave way to more open seating in tiered balconies.

    Canadiana

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    The Selkirk Range

    A. O. Wheeler

    Ottawa, 1905

    2 volume set

    $500

    This set of books, The Selkirk Range, was the first book written by a Canadian to celebrate a mountain range. Volume 2 consists of 14 folding maps and sketches.

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    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.

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    Book of Longing

    Leonard Cohen

    Toronto, 2006

    $60

    The book contains 50 prose-poems, influenced by the Hebrew Bible and Zen writings. Cohen himself referred to the pieces as "prayers."

    New Acquisitions

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    Micmac Quillwork: Micmac Indian Techniques of Porcupine Quill Decoration: 1600-1950
    Ruth Holmes Whitehead Halifax, 1982

    $250

    (Added November 2022)

    Major collections in Canada, Great Britain and the United States were examined and catalogued; additional collections were researched in France, Ireland and as far away as New Zealand.
     

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    Simple Bliss: The Paintings and Prints of Mary Pratt Patricia Deadman

    Regina, 2004

    $75

    (Added October 2022)

    This is Mary Pratt’s gift to transform a quiet moment into a lifetime of experiences. An elegant study of some of the artist’s work, particularly her Transformations series.

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    Disneyana: Walt Disney Collectibles

    Cecil Munsey

    New York, 1974

    $70

    (Added October 2022)

    An extensive coverage of both the merchandising history and the collectibles of Walt Disney Productions - comic books, comic strips, and sheet music produced, and Disney characters introduced during the years 1926-1950.

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  • Testimonials

    “Hi Andy, The book arrived last week. Thank you so much for your attention to detail on the excellent packing job. It's in fantastic shape and I'm very happy to add this one to my collection.”

    John M, New Brunswick, October 2023
    Each Man's Son – a novel by Hugh MacLennan; The MacMillan Company of Canada Limited, Toronto,1951. Signed.

    “The book arrived yesterday. Perfect condition thanks to your bulletproof packaging.”

    David G, United Kingdom, October 2023
    Nine Lives – by Group Captain Alan C. Deere, D.S.O., O.B.E.,D.F.C., Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1959.

    “Just reporting that the books arrived on Sunday afternoon! A pleasant surprise. Such a nice package, by the way. The two books are fine copies indeed, and they were packed with such care and attention.”

    Bradley A, Ontario, January 2023
    Maple Leaf Route: Antwerp, T. Copp & R. Vogel, Ontario 1984
    Maple Leaf Route: Scheldt, T. Copp & R. Vogel, Ontario 1985

     

    “Hi Andy, the book arrived today safely, outstanding packaging! Thanks”

    Jeff W, Alberta, November 2022
    The Colonization of Western Canada, Robert England, London 1936.

     

    “Just received books. She’s looking through them now. Excellent condition. She loves them. Thank you and hope to do more business with you in the future.”

    Doug M, South Dakota, November 2022
    Vincent Van Gogh: The Complete Paintings, Ingo F. Walther & Rainer Metzger, Koln, 1990

     

    “The book arrived safely, thanks in no small part to the great job you did of packaging it. It’s a beauty and a great addition to my Canadian Expeditionary Force collection. Thanks again!”

    David C, Nova Scotia, October 2022
    Gallant Canadians: The story of the Tenth Canadian Infantry Battalion, 1914-1919, Daniel G Dancocks, Calgary 1990

     

    “Just wanted to let you know I received the book today. I would give you excellent feedback on AbeBooks, except I couldn’t find where to do that on their website, even though I have seen “seller rating” stars there.”

    George W, Virginia, September 2022

    The Oak Island Mystery, Reginald V. Harris, Toronto 1967

     

    “Wow, Andy - what an absolutely incredible book! I love his running commentary on each section and each painting, really adds to the experience. And the wrapping job you did is art in itself--major kudos for that, and of course for making this happen in the first place. Cheers and much appreciation”

    Robin C, Nova Scotia, May 2022
    Francesco Lacurto, R.C.A, Hugues de Jouvancourt, Montreal 1988

     

    “The books arrived yesterday. Thank you so much for packaging the books so incredibly carefully. They are all just fabulous and I couldn’t be happier. I truly appreciate you.”

    Corinne S, Alberta, February 2022
    The Artful Dodger, Nick Bantock, Vancouver 2000

    The Monster Show, David J. Skal, New York, 1993

    Stardust, Neil Gaiman, New York, 1999

     

    “I received 'Dark Carnival’ today, in perfect conditions (and very carefully packed!).”

    Elisabetta G, Italy, November 2021
    Dark Carnival: The Secret World of Tod Browning, David J. Skal & Elias Savada, New York, 1995

     

    “I just received the books and could not help but read through Fiedmont's journal right away. Thank you so much for expediting the shipment, and for the care which you took in wrapping the works. I have yet to unwrap the first edition and am honestly hesitating to do so because it's so well done!”

    Chris L, New Brunswick, November 2021
    A Century at Chignecto, Will R. Bird, Toronto 1928

    The Siege of Beausejour in 1755, Jacau de Fiedmont, Saint John, 1936

     

    “The Art of Bloomsbury arrived just now! Thanks very much for wrapping it in it’s four layers of protection. It is in excellent shape.”

    Catherine M, Ontario, February 2021
    The Art of Bloomsbury – Roger Fry, Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, Richard Shone, New Jersey, 1999

     

  • 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