Temptation comes to different people in different ways and we have to discover our personal passions for ourselves. One of mine is books. I love books – picking them up, handling them, reading them and remembering them. I am particularly fond of older books, which have a sense of the ages about them, the trapped air of the centuries within them, and the invisible imprint of loving fingers. To open one is to release the magical stars of vivid imagery and imagination, the gale-force winds of purple passion and purpose, or the deep-flowing streams of information and intellect.
All three of these attacked me as I entered the premises of the Collectors Treasury. In fact, it was rather like walking into an old and travel stained volume. I climbed the stairs between stacks of books that seemed to be lined up waiting for earlier ones to vacate the property. Inside was like entering delightful chaos, so full, scattered and abundant that a child could easily believe that they had found paradise. To say that there were books everywhere is not to do it justice – they were just everywhere. Everywhere! Upstairs, downstairs, in the lift, on the floor, narrowing the passages, and in an unbelievable number of nooks and crannies. To my comment that one could easily get lost inside Geoff Klass responded, “Many people have tried!” I felt that I was quite fortunate to have found both he and his brother Jonathan as they seemed to live in a small cave carved out of the surrounding bookery.
They have been in business for 36 years, starting out in what is now 44 Stanley Street, and making their way eastwards to their present address, where they have traded for 19 years. They describe themselves as having, “…the largest used and rare book shop in Africa, and in the Southern Hemisphere, having 1,000,000 plus items on hand. In addition to books, there are substantial offerings of maps, old engravings and prints, printed ephemera, periodicals, newspapers and photographica. Collectors Treasury also deals extensively in records, with a stock of over 300,000 vinyl and 78rpm discs. We also have an extensive range of small antiques and collectables, with strong emphasis on the decorative arts 1870-1970.”
The collection covers almost every subject available. Here I found the William books, by Richmal Crompton, and Biggles, on the one hand, and great sets of Churchill’s History of the Second World War and The Barbarian Invasions of the Roman Empire, on the other. Scott’s Last Expedition was not far from the Cricket section that included Jackie McGlew, Pelham Warner and some ancient Wisdens. I came across a book on Polynesian Myths and Legends, near the astounding collection of vinyl records. There is an assortment of sheet music as well as a number of old photograph albums and photographs.
The hardest for me to leave behind were the really rare, and hence expensive, volumes some beautifully bound, and which included Africana.
Quite apart from the books, the large displays of antiques and small collectables were fascinating, and deserved their own browse time. I spent a very happy couple of hours there and could easily have stayed longer, if my credit card had not developed hiccups!
The premises are easy to find and secure parking can be arranged at Jewel City next door. Although they do not have their own website, some 70 000 books are listed on various other sites, through which they may be ordered.
Choose your passions wisely – before they choose you.
What’s on at Maropeng
October 23: Cooper’s Cave picnic
Maropeng and iHominin are offering budding palaeontologists a rare opportunity to explore a 1.5-million-year-old fossil site.
Cooper’s Cave, 1.2km from the famous Sterkfontein Caves near Johannesburg, is a relatively newly discovered fossil site, where several species of animals and a number of stone tools have been found.
The day’s activities include an interactive fossil and site talk, exploring a cave, a chance to look for fossils, and learning how to make stone tools.
This is a must-do for adults and children with an interest in palaeontology and archaeology. Remember to pack a hat, apply sunscreen and wear comfortable walking shoes – oh, and bring your camera!
The price is R350 per person and it includes a light picnic lunch. The tour will start at 09h00. This is a family event.
October 30: Stargazing evening – living amongst the stars
This months event will be look at living amongst the Stars: man and astronomy, their time and place in the universe.
An ancient philosopher once wrote, “Do we gaze at the stars because we are human, or, are we human because we gaze at stars?”
From the beginnings of time, man gazed upward and beheld the awesome splendour of our night skies. He wondered what the stars were, and what lay beyond them. At some point in human history, he speculated about the stars’ origins, and also the origins of his very own existence. Our popular astronomy series of “after dinner” talks, this month, is entitled: “Living Amongst the Stars”, an illustrated talk looking into the fascinating realm of astronomy, and how it relates to our lives today.
This event will be hosted by the Tumulus Restaurant, is a child friendly event and includes welcome drinks and a buffet dinner for R190 for adults and R90 for children.
The star-viewing evenings are weather dependent. You are welcome to bring your own binoculars, dress warmly.