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!

Focus on Bookplate Artist Amy Sacker

Augustus Peabody Loring

Boston book designer, illustrator and teacher Amy Maria Sacker (1872-1965) was one of several bookplate artists to be celebrated by the Troutsdale Press and bookseller Charles E. Goodspeed – also from Boston – in a series of short volumes dedicated to the work of ex libris designers of the day. 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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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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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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