• The Sunday Sale - The Collecti auction at Christies

    Sale 5934

    The Sunday Sale - The Collection of the Late Christopher Wood

    8 November 2009, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 164

    AN AMERICAN 'TABARD INN LIBRARY' EBONISED OAK REVOLVING BOOKCASE

    CIRCA 1902

    Price Realised  

    AN AMERICAN 'TABARD INN LIBRARY' EBONISED OAK REVOLVING BOOKCASE
    CIRCA 1902
    Of architectural form with gabled roof above various compartments, shelves and carved with heraldic shields and book category titles, the frieze carved 'The Tabard Inn'/'The Best Reading Rooms in the United States are the Homes of the American People'
    76 in. (193 cm.) high; 27 in. (68.5 cm.) wide


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    The Tabard Inn Library was founded in 1902 in the US by Seymour Eaton, an entrepreneur, journalist, author and educator. The concept was for a membership lending library housed in revolving bookcases, such as the present lot, and located in drugs stores and other commercial establishments across the United States. The membership list generated from the enterprise was used by Eaton to promote other ventures, such as the Tabard Inn Food Company. The name of the library was taken from the Tabard Inn, Southwark, London, an ancient hostelry made famous by Geoffrey Chaucer who described it in the first few lines of his Canterbury Tales as the location where the pilgrims met prior to their long journey. However, the library scheme was short-lived, ending when Eaton was declared bankrupt in March 1905.

    John Andrews, 'The Revolving Bookcase Mystery, Part 2: 26 Years On - An American Dimension', Antique Collecting, May 2006, pp. 48-49.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.
    This lot will be removed to an off-site warehouse at the close of business on the day of sale - 2 weeks free storage