Books: The Clothbound Collectibles

Rare volumes outperform gold, diamonds and stocks

The rare-book dealer and his customer have long been favorite subjects of painters. Musty, refined, the dilettantes gaze out from the works of artists from Daumier to Norman Rockwell, echoes of a time when collectors were more interested in pages than profits. The echoes are growing fainter by the week. Today, Ye Olde Booke Shoppe is likely to be mistaken for Ye Stocke Exchange. Dusty volumes have become hot commodities. New York City Dealer Raymond Wapner finds the upswing encouraging: "It's about time we came to terms...

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