Welcome to Ex Libris Art

...the home of ex libris bookplates and other rare and collectible booklabels.

Bookplates and ex libris are rightly admired today as miniature works of art allowing collectors to build an affordable collection of original and often signed art works in a variety of print techniques such as etching, woodblock, intaglio and aquatint.

Other ex libris collectors look at book ownership rather than the artist who created the bookplate - for example, an ex libris from the personal books of Charlie Chaplin, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle or Charles Dickens.

Whatever your own specialization, this website is a place to share our love of ex libris through images and historical articles. It has also been designed to help you track down items available online for your own collection, such as heraldic ex libris with personalized coats-of-arms, ex libris designed by artists and typographers, or bookplates of famous writers, collectors and even celebrities.

Browse through the large assortment of antique, modern and contemporary ex-libris in the auction listings of ex libris bookplates for sale and if you can't find what you're looking for please use the search function in the menu bar...enjoy your visit!

Ex Libris of Famous American Historical Figures

Jack London

Whilst not all the famous names – “authors, poets, statesmen, theologians, orators, financiers and educationalists” – listed in Clifford N. Carver’s 1911 book celebrating the ‘Book-Plates of Well-Known Americans’ may be household names today, the text is still a fascinating source of interest to the modern ex libris collector and an excellent illustrated catalogue of bookplate design. Continue reading

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The Origins of Ex Libris

Hilprand Brandenburg

Time-honored custom seems to demand that elementary expositions of the nature and use of bookplates should open with an explanation of the early use of heraldry on bookplates. In olden times, the ability to read and write not being an accomplishment of the multitude, the bookowner would naturally choose an armorial achievement with which to mark his books because of the meaning it would convey to anyone who might find the book, whether he could read or not. Continue reading

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Identifying the Printing Technique – Ex Libris Abbreviations

The International Federation of Societies of Lovers of Ex Libris – F.I.S.A.E. (Federation Internationale des Societes d’Amateurs d’Ex Libris) was founded in 1953. Over the years it has established an international standard for the labeling of bookplates that will help ex libris collectors identify the printmaking process used in the creation of the plate through a series of abbreviated codes that are often written in pencil on the reverse of the ex libris. Intaglio printing techniques – Original C – … Continue reading

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A Guide to the Various Types of Ex Libris

Samuel Pepys - Portrait Ex Libris

One of the most interesting examples of a portrait bookplate is that of Samuel Pepys, the famous Diarist. The plate, which was engraved by Robert White after one of the portraits by Sir Godfrey Kneller, seems to have been originally used as a frontispiece for Memoirs of the Navy which the owner privately printed in 1690. Continue reading

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