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!

Art Deco Ex Libris by Lynd Ward

Lynd Ward bookplate

This striking Art Deco bookplate entitled “Creation” and used by a certain David Adams is by Chicago-born Lynd Ward (1905 – 1985), the American artist and illustrator best known for his wood engraving and his work in launching the graphic novel in the United States. 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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The Bookplate of Edgar Rice Burroughs featuring Tarzan

Edgar Rice Burroughs' Bookplate

The central figure in the bookplate represents Tarzan. He is holding the planet Mars, above which are two Martian satellites. These because of my Martian series of stories. Grasping his legs is one of the great apes, among which Tarzan was reared. In the background are characters from several of my other stories. Continue reading

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Focus on Bookplate Artist E. B. Bird

Studio Library

At the beginning of the last century the Boston-based publisher Troutsdale Press published several small volumes on the work of bookplate artists of the day including a 1904 study of the work of Elisha Brown Bird (1867-1943) in ‘E. B. Bird and his Bookplates’ by Winfred Porter Truesdell. Continue reading

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