Skip to content

Bookmark-Buzz Extra

April 27, 2012

 Circumstances require that Unusual Bookmark presentation be postponed. In the meantime here are some recent arrivals in the mail box.

 Star Spangled Banner Woven silk Bookmark.

This beautiful bookmark of The Star Spangled Banner was made by The National Woven Label C0. of 425 Park Ave.  South New York New York.

It appears that the company no longer exists as such. My efforts to find out more has not produced any results except that at one time a Mr. Herman Benz was president of the company.

This item measures 2 1/4 X 8 1/4 inches.


Here is another interesting piece which freely translated reads

“Jubilee Exposition Gotenborg 1923”

This bookmark is made of moderately heavy celluloid of improved color.  The older celluloid had a serious tendency to develop a deeper yellow or even orange over time. It measures 5  X  1 1/6 inches. The medallion is brass with red,white and blue enamel and shows the Royal Lion with Sword and Shield.

The medallion is open at the lower side to act as a page clip in a book.


These next bookmarks were offered in  multiples of five. Since they were Cash’s there was no reason not to bid at the low offering price. Inspection hints that they may have been rejects due to their skewed position on the ribbons. The ribbons appear more skewed in the picture     than they are in reality.

Stratford on Avon       Coventry Cathedral       Wm. Shakespeare

I won the lot and when they were delivered they were a continuous string of five bookmarks right off the weaving machine. Still a very interesting lot to work with.

My effort to finish one set proved more difficult than I would have imagined. A hot iron,  a damp cloth and white felt with one sticky side was a great challenge. That is why the remaining ten are still unfinished! The finished size of these bookmarks is 2 X 8 inches.


Cover clip bookmarks have always been a favorite. The bookmark really stays with the book! Here is a common form with the  religious theme of

                               The Lord is my Shepherd

                                                                                   A makers mark has never appeared on any of these cover clip bookmarks. This one measures 4  1/4 inches long and 1   1/8 inches wide and is made of stamped copper.


Here  is an interesting bookmark of the same general form as the Cover clip bookmark above. In this case the head of the bookmark has been incised to make an open area to clip onto the page.

Polo  Bookmark

This bookmark has been stamped with thin images that have been filled with red and black enamel. It appears to be a general image but the colors might represent a particular Polo

club. There is no makers mark. The size is 4 1/4 inches long by 1 1/8 inches wide.


Last, here are three card stock bookmarks of very interesting designs.The First FREELANCERS UNION carries their message but the colorful art work is continued on the reverse side. The BOOK BALLOON bookmark is identical on both sides. The third piece is from BOOKARTS a European competition to design bookmarks. Thank to L.R. for these!

All of these are exceptional in the paper and card stock bookmark variety. They show thoughtful design and artistic execution of plan.

A post about Unusual Bookmarks should show up soon.

Carved Wooden, Split Blade Bookmarks

April 14, 2012

The hand sculpted wooden bookmarks are my favorites. The characters of Atelier Paré carvings of Quebec are particularly intriguing. The wooden bookmarks that I have from  or in the style of the Italian carvers at Anri are very well crafted but coarse in style. There are other types from Anri that I have seen in pictures that are more refined.

Anri  carved wood split blade bookmarks

                Note the 1 inch wide blade and the  short length of 4 inches.

Atelier Paré carved wood split blade bookmarks

These carvings from Quebec  have a longer and more narrow split blade and the carvings are more detailed and  each character is more individual.

Three more carved wood split blade bookmarks

Both #1 and #3 are from Quebec.  The Owl is from the Ateiler Paré  shop.  The third is a convent memento and the decorative head is  applied plastic.  Since the Atelier Paré and the convent are both located in St. Anne De Beauprè, Quebec, it seems possible that the little nun was also made in the Paré shop. The second is from Idaho and I believe it is made from a very hard wood.  It appears to be a native american figure in head dress. This is a beautiful carving in a difficult medium.

Miscellaneous group of carved wood bookmarks.

The first bookmark is carved in the Black Forest Style and is probably from Germany or Switzerland. The three dogs have no identifying features. The fifth floral piece was made by a student at the Brea College in Kentucky USA.

Bookmark oddities will be next.

Bookmarks of Bone and Ivory

April 8, 2012

It isn’t always easy for one to distinguish which bookmark is made of bone and which is ivory. Occasionally a sneaky piece of plastic will slip into a collection too. Bone and ivory objects are mostly products of careful hand work. Some are simple and  undecorated and others are extensively carved. Drills, saws, scrapers ,knives and a series of  abrasive papers are the common tools. Keep this in mind as you look at the bookmarks shown here. They are to be admired as both craft and art. They are reflections of the makers spirit.

The first item is beautiful in it’s simplicity. It is a highly polished 7 In. primary blade with a sawed out secondary blade of 3 1/4 In. that makes a page clip. The exceptionally long blade is probably intend for use as a page turner. This suggests a production date in the mid to late 1800s.

Undecorated bone/ tusk bookmark with a page clip.

Although simple in construction it is very functional as bookmark and page turner. It was described as being bone but the longitudinal striations that can be seen in the piece are similar to those seen in various animal tusks.

The next item is a single blade of 6 1/2 In. with the lower 4 In. worked to a very thin clear blade. The upper portion is at least twice the thickness and is beautifully carved with a floral design that passes to the back as well.  Red markings on the back appear to be a Japanese signature. The thin lower blade speaks to its use as a book mark but one that would also be useful as a page turner. The thick decorated portion was designed to project above the pages.

Simple bladed bone bookmark with floral carving.

The amorphous appearance of the blade and some small circular spaces identify this piece as bone. Below is a view of the carving and signature on the back.

A reduced exposure was used to show the signature and carving on the back.

This next bookmark is a highly carved piece with a 5 1/2 In. overall length and narrow blade.  No intention as a page turner expressed in this item.

Highly carved split blade (page clip) bookmark.

The material has the typical appearance of bone.

Tusk, bone or plastic? I’m not sure. It has the striation of tusk but this can be faked in plastic. The very white color creates a question.

Carved head on a split blade (page clip) bookmark.

Here you see both sides of this bookmark. Both are carefully detailed with no sign of mold marks which information makes me doubt that it is plastic. This is an interesting 5 3/4/In. bookmark that deserves more study.

This next bookmark is a simple bone construction with an added “jewel” for color. It is a small piece at only 3 3/4 In long and 1/4 In. wide.

Plain split blade bone bookmark with Jewel.

The sky blue stone does not show well in this photo.

Next we have what appears to be a woman in Asian dress.

Carved Ladies head on a split blade Ivory(?) bookmark.

This beautifully carved piece has the very subtle linear striation of animal tusk yet I cannot confirm it as ivory. It does not have the feel or appearance of plastic and does have the marks of working with tools.

Elephants are a common theme coming from Asia. Here are four very old examples.

Four split blade bookmarks with carved elephant decoration.

The first item has more of the characteristics of bone while the other three appear more like ivory. all are from my very early days of collecting bookmarks and #2 and #4 were bought from the same dealer 40+ years ago as ivory. all are amazing examples of carving whatever the medium. There are many cheap examples of these in wood and plastic but none show the same quality workmanship as these.

The last is neither bone nor ivory but mother of pearl.

Mother of pearl split blade bookmark.

This delicate bookmark is 4 In. long and 3/8 In. wide. The page clip blade was sawed out of the thicker upper end of the raw mother of pearl piece. This is my only bookmark wholly  made of this material.

This group represents my collection of  bookmarks in bone and ivory. The next time it will be split blade wooden bookmarks.

Bookmark-Buzz Extra: Gifts And Purchases

April 1, 2012

The generosity of friends is amazing! Since discovering my bookmark collection  many have come forth with all kinds of bookmarks. All are very nice but some are superb. Of course the hunt for treasures in antique shops is exciting. Online auctions are fun but less exciting than a “find” in a shop. Here are a few recent gifts, shop discoveries and auction wins.

This first one is a recent gift from a lovely lady J.S.

Long open blade bookmark marked “Vatican Library collection”.

This piece measures 3 In. X  1 1/2 In. It consists of two castings the blade and the main medallion. The central white metal portion  with the image of a chalice may be a third casting. The blade is deeply textured and the main medallion is filigreed. The cross at the top has been surrounded by red enamel.

This next bookmark was found in an “antique” shop.

Sterling Silver, Long, open bookmark with a makers mark of F&B.

This pseudo sword measures3 1/2 In. long and 3/4 In. wide. It was made in two parts a stamped image of the hilt and what appears to be a cast blade with some filigree on the secondary blade. The marks are strong on the back upper part of the Blade.

Here is an internet purchase that was so alike a bookmark I have had for at least 30 years I had to have it.

Metal bookmark with long, open blade beside it’s sterling Grandfather.

Size and decorative appearance are the same.  They are both 2 1/2 In. X 1 In.  The back view will reveal the difference.

The New piece is a stamped, thin material marked Kirk Stieff with a bird symbol around the initials EP which I believe means electro plate. As you can see the older bookmark is marked S. Kirk and Son and it’s full thickness shows that it was probably formed from a casting. I do not know the nature of the metal or plating of the first one but the patina of the older one shouts sterling silver.

Two other interesting purchases from the auctions have enlarged my ribbon collection.

Machine printed silk ribbon with  Holiday greeting.

At 9 3/4 in X 3 1/2 In. this is a quite large for a printed ribbon bookmark. The message:” May the joy of Christmas be yours”. The fineness of the printing and careful color distribution was quite a feat on such a material. I would like to know the process. Probable date is in the late 1800s.

Woven Silk Bookmark by Thomas Stevens.

I was amazed to be the winner of this bookmark in superb condition at the price I offered. Sometimes we can just be lucky! This one time popular song was written by Eliza Cook. Besides the T. Stevens mark it also includes a Registry of Design Mark which dates this ribbons registration to May 4, 1871. This item measures 10 In X 2 In. plus a 2 In. tassel.

Bone and ivory will be next.

Bookmarks With Two Blades From One: Part 2

March 29, 2012

In part one the subject was bookmarks that had a secondary blade stamped out of the main blade. This process produces a bookmark with two blades the edges of which are very close together. These have been named close blades and could be further identified as short or long . The later is determined as short if the secondary blade is less than half the length of of the primary blade. In the stamping process a slight offset is usually made to make a space for the page to be inserted.

This next type of blade may be cast in a mold, stamped out or cutout  with a saw like tool. The result is a primary blade with a smaller open secondary blade that has a significant open space between the blades. Again, these may be considered Open, short if they are half or less the length of the primary blade. They are open, long if the secondary blade is more than half the length of the primary blade.

Open, Short Blade Bookmarks

Here are  examples of some  the forms of souvenir bookmarks in the Short,Open type. Note that all secondary blades are quite open as well as less than half the length of the primary blade.The first is a souvenir of an American Legion Convention held in Chicago IL at the same time as the 1933 Century of Progress Exhibition.  The second example was probably given as a “thank you” to contributors  to the  British War Relief Society during and after WW II.The third one was from the 1939 International Golden Gate Exposition. Number four is from Ironwood MI. The fifth piece is a California memento and the final item is a religious example quoting Luke 2:11.

Open, Long  Blade Bookmark.

Again, notice the open space between the blades. Also note the long length of the secondary blade that is over half the length of the primary blade. The first item is strictly decorative and is marked Italy.The second bookmark is from the Saratoga Battlefield in NY state. Number three is  from the Boy Scouts and the last is a memento from Kingston Ont. Canada.

Wide Bookmarks With two blades are a sub category of the open, long blade bookmarks. They are almost as wide or wider than they are long. I have never found one with a close blade or a short secondary blade. Here are a few examples.

Wide Bookmarks with open, long blades.

 The first is an advertising bookmark made of a very lightweight metal which is assumed to be aluminum. The second is from tje Memphis, Shelby County Public Library for their 1ooth anniversary. The fourth item is just decorative , a book bookmark. The fifth item is a copy from a piece of art at a museum I have forgotten. Sorry! The last piece has etched initials and is sterling silver from Tiffany & Co..

This division of close and open  as well as long and short may seem trivial and it could be if one only has a few bookmarks. When there are hundreds it is a useful way to group them in units that have similarities.

Next time the subject will be carved  bone and Ivory bookmarks.

Bookmarks With Two Blades From One: Part 1

March 11, 2012

Last time we saw bookmarks on which a second blade was attached to a primary blade. This time we will see how a secondary and smaller blade is stamped out of the primary blade. This physical operation is possible for both metals and plastics. The process requires great pressure on a die the shape of the secondary blade into a mold of the appropriate shape. It is usual to place a small distorting bend  in the secondary blade so as to offset  it slightly from the primary blade. This assists in placing the formed page clip on the pages. This results in a bookmark that has two blades which would fit tightly together if there was not the distortion mentioned in the stamping process. These I refer to as Close Secondary Blades. They may be either Long or Short.

Here is an example of bookmarks with  Short, Close Secondary Blades.

Note the distortion at the upper portion of the secondary blade. Also note that the new formed blade is less than half the length of the original blade. This qualifies it as Short.  The first item is an example of those with a copper finish and is a souvenir of North Platte NE. The second piece has hammered, brass finish and is a souvenir of Rockefeller Center NY. The third finish is the most common and is brass with silver plate but is also common with a silver wash which is usually easily worn off. This one is a souvenir of The Pilgrim Monument in Plymouth Ma.

Here are some examples of bookmarks with Long, Close Secondary Blades.

These bookmarks are simply decorative. The first has inset stones that are common to the Southwest USA. There are no marks. The middle VIP bookmark has a full offset of the secondary blade and is marked “S. Kirk and Son Sterling”. The green jeweled example has no marking and like the first has drilled holes at the junction of the blades as well as a small offset.( One may question whether the VIP bookmark is long or short.)

Here are a couple more examples of Long, Close Secondary Blades.

These bookmarks were obviously from a set by one maker. They were found  individually over a wide area.  Note the modest offset.  The enamel painting in the stamped design is a very nice touch. The first two have lost much of their gold wash that is still evident on the third example. There are no identifying marks.

Here is a final examples of Long, Close Secondary Blades in Plastic.

These are all from the same maker and have stickers that read “Made in Czechoslovakia.” They were found in a defunct General Store on an Island on the Eastern shore of the  Chesapeake Bay.  The year was 1970 and I had just started my collection. These were my first plastic bookmarks so I only bought one of each. I regret that I didn’t buy the entire display card! The celluloid material and Czech. stickers date these bookmarks at least to the 1930s.

The next time Part 2 will display bookmarks that have the secondary blade either cast or cutout from the primary blade in the manufacturing process. These are termed Open Secondary Blades and my be either Long or Short.

Bookmarks With A Second Added Blade

February 27, 2012

1. First we had the simple blade that just lay between the pages. 2. Then we added a bend of 90 or 180 degrees to add more stability in the book. 3. Now we are adding a second blade to form a clip to hold the page.

Primary and secondary blades inserted into the Decoration.

These three sterling silver bookmarks have no makers mark but the similarity suggest the same source. The art suggests the period of late Victorian to early Art Deco. Somewhere in an antique store there is probably another of this group that has a heart to complete the Christian set of Anchor, Heart and Cross. The metal stamping process of the Anchor and Cross is the older of the three with the Floral more Art Deco and formed in a different manner With finer detail.

Secondary blade attached where convenient.

The first and third have the added blade on the front while the second and fourth are on the back. George Washington stands proud on his plinth that holds both blades. It is made of brass with a silver wash that is severely eroded. The second piece appears to be a gift made of sterling. The decoration style speak of the late 1800s and bears the initials LEG. The third piece made of brass from Italy also bears a vendors name ARICO NY It also appears to have a well worn silver wash and a copper secondary blade added. Front or back? You decide when you see the other side of these four pieces. The fourth bookmark declares “Souvenir of the 100th performance of (the play )Burmah at the Boston theatre.” This was presented to patrons by the manager of the theater in the late 1890s.

Note the two smaller blades on the back of numbers two and three. Number two blade is soldered and number four blade is fastened by a rivet. The decoration on number three appears to be a feather plume on a staff.

The first bookmark has a Masonic emblem and is made of a six inch piece of cream color plastic with a 2 3/4 In. piece of green Faux mother of pearl. The type of plastic argues for a date in the 1940s or 50s. The second bookmark of brass filigree is 3 3/4 Inches over all and has two pieces of mother of pearl as the primary and secondary blades. The blades are held in the grip of the filigree. The red marbled Bakelite bookmark is 3X3/4 In. Long with a 2 In. secondary blade of the same marbled material. The addition of a copper covered tassel is a nice touch. Probably 1930s or early 1940s at the latest. The two pieces of plastic are held together by two small rivets. The fourth bookmark of celluloid with a silver rose was made by Bernhard Knauer a goldsmith in Oldenburg.  (Germany) He was active in the late 1800 and into the early 1900s. The yellow color of the celluloid seems to declare for an early date. The last item is 4 3/4 In. long with a 2 1/2 In piece of Faux mother pearl secondary blade attached. The primary blade is carefully beveled on both front and reverse.

Bookmarks that use part of the decoration as a secondary blade for a clip.

The beautiful Thistle blossom suggests that this first sterling bookmark may be from Scotland. The stem of the flower clips on the page. Over all length 3 In.  The gold washed brass bookmark with the flag was my very first bookmark and the staff and tip of the flag clip on the page. The third (pewter?) bookmark has the stem of the tulip that clips the page. Too bad it was subject to fire. The last piece is sterling and the decoration is attached at the top with a rivet and solder. The entire decoration laps the page. Only the second bookmark suggests any time period. The 13 star flag may be a reminder of 1776 at the time of the centennial in 1876. That is just a speculation.

Next time we will see yet another of my groupings by physical type of the three dimensional bookmarks.

Three Dimensional Bookmarks–Blades With a Bend

February 18, 2012

Last time the it was the simple blade that just lay between the pages. This post will deal with blades that have 90 or 180 degree bends which help to stabilize their position in the book as well as preventing them from sliding out of sight.

Bookmarks with a 90 degree bend

The first picture shows the face of the two bookmarks while the second view is from the side to show the bends.

#1. is well decorated silver with a bit of turquoise on the top.The craftsman is Ernest Tafoya and it is dated 1992. The second piece of silver is shaped like the state of New Hampshire and sports a gemstone of or bit of dark glass. Note that the second piece has a second 90 degree bend which presents a handle for removing the marker. This bookmark is scribed “Banner 096 sterling.”The first is 8 1/2 in long. The second is  3 1/2 In. long.

Bookmarks with 180 degree bend

This first gold plated item is marked ” Nancy Gilbert is reading this book.” The bend which isn’t obvious from this picture is the full length of the side showing. The second bookmark is made from celluloid and the extreme yellowing is indicative of very early celluloid. Certainly it was produced    no later than 1900-1910. It is marked DAVID C. COOK PUBLISHING CO. ELGIN, CHICAGO, NEW YORK, BOSTON.  This little blue bookworm FUN N NUF tm. was made in Columbus OH in 1989. You can see the bent under tail at the bottom of the picture. The  bend of the fourth bookmark is almost as long as the front. This is sterling and was intended for engraving on the front. The applied medallion at the top carries on it’s back (showing) the date 1972 sterling and the makers mark.The first is 1 1/2 In long.The second is 3 1/2 In long  The third is 3 1/2 In. long.The fourth item is 2 In. long.

 Here are three larger examples of 180 degree bend bookmarks.

The first curvaceous bookmark is bent to the back. It is marked with the name Phoebe Kent and measures 5 1/4 In. long. The second plastic bookmark is from Japan and has an anchor applied to the bend. It measures 5 1/2 In long.The third  piece is marked with the name of Margaret Flewharty. It is either highly polished brass or gold plated. It is 5 1/2 In. Long.

Then there are some very small 180 degree bend page and place markers that can be used to mark specific line of a page. They have great utility for business, study and research. Most tend to be very small. Here are two examples.

These were intended for business use. Made of blue steel they measured a bit less than 1/2 In. long.

Here is another group that are easy to work with to mark several places in a book or manuscript.

These Book Marx measure right at one inch and are very easy to handle when compared with the Moore’s  Movable Markers.

That should give you an idea of how and why the collection is organized by physical types. Next time there should be some beautiful examples with secondary blades added to make a clip to the pages. Any questions? Try

The Dimensions of Bookmarks

February 14, 2012

Bookmarks made of paper, card stock, very thin plastic, ribbon and leather are considered two dimensional objects.   Somewhere along the way anything that was not paper, card stock,  ribbon and leather was categorizes as three dimensional.

Generally the three dimensional types include metal, wood, plastic  (perhaps not the very thin), bone, ivory and mineral. Hardness, weight and thickness seem to be the  important  factors that are considered to define the three dimensions. It is not just thickness that counts as there are stainless steel and other metal bookmarks that are thinner than some card stock examples.

 Here is how I sort my  three dimensional bookmarks bookmarks.

 The simple blade as a bookmark is a flat, thin piece of material that may have a decorative attachment.

Wooden bookmarks-simple blades.

These are woodcraft examples made in the craftsman’s shop. The decorations are simple cutout images. #1 and #3 are made of spruce found in Maine and #2 is made of cherry wood bought in Florida.

Here are more complex forms made with inlays and etching.

These examples demonstrate a higher level of craftsmanship and artistry.

Next we have some commercial examples.

No mark other than the Hawaii on the first bookmark, the second was produced by The Eagle Pencil Co. and the third was marked “By Sacchi”.

Metal Bookmarks Simple Blade

Now for some examples of simple blades made of various metal.

The first blade is stainless steel with a quote from T.S. Elliot. The second example is brass with an enamel letter A. The third is aluminum with a brass over lay on the edges and the butterfly image. The fourth example is brass etched with “Saddleworth” and some decoration.

The next group are mostly from museum stores and some have decorative and meaningful attachments.

The first is from a Cezanne painting in the Philadelphia museum, the second from a San Francisco museum. The middle piece is from The Breast Cancer Awareness Program. The forth item is from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The fifth is reminding us of one of Van Gogh’s  Starry Night paintings. Note the decorative objects.

This grouping is characterized by being rather short and wide as well as all having varying amounts of filigree.

The first is purely decorative and imitates stained glass. The second is brass and is a memento of Tohoku University in Sendai Japan. The third piece is a beautiful brass bookmark heavily filigreed and painted with enamel.

This last group is a mixed bag of old and new.

The brass sword is very old and has a Knight on a horse on the blade near the hilt. There is script on the blade but I am unable to read it. The second bookmark is made of a mineral probably jadeite. It has been powdered with talcum to show the carvings on the blade. Note the monkey with his paws over his ears. If you can read the symbols please send me an email at third item in brass is from the art Deco period. The last bookmark is very new from Korea and is a finely filigreed feather.

There are many more of the simple blade both old and new but this should be enough to demonstrate the variety available if one is interested in adding to their collection.

The next time the modified blade will be the subject. They are modified to help hold the blades in place within the book.


January 26, 2012

Where do all the bookmarks go? How many paper, plastic, metal and wood bookmarks have I lost while reading in one place! Oh, I usually find them in time down in the sides of my recliner, under my chair or other more obscure locations. This idea of a cover clip is pretty good. When one removes the bookmark it doesn’t disappear it stays attached and is available  when one wants to mark the place again.

Cover Clips with metal medallions

                                                                      A Cowboy motif.

The round seems to be the most common type.

                                                                    From Grand Rapids Minnesota

Then there are other shapes

                                                               From Hot Springs Arkansas

                                                                              Masonic symbol

                                                                                From Arizona

                                                                              Grand Canyon AZ

This white metal bookmark is marked “Bemidji Minnesota. It is the only one I have not made of copper.So ends these examples of Cover Clip Bookmarks with Metal markers.

In this next section there is another type of bookmark Cover Clip with Ribbon.

The first ribbon has a clip with a Girl Scout Brownie on it. The second ribbon has a simple clip and the other end is weighted. The green ribbon cover clip has an Owl standing on an open book.

There are only fifteen Cover Clip Bookmarks in the collection. There must be more out there some where and perhaps different kinds as well as the two shown here. I would love to see more of any kind that might be in your collection.

Your ideas , questions or examples would be appreciated.Please feel free to Email me at