James Eaton of Alastor Rare Books.

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1 How did you get your start?

For me it was a slow process with a long period working at it part-time, and it wasn’t until 2017 that I was able to go full-time. A key person who helped me was Diana Parikian. Her support in the early days was one of the key things that kept me going in dealing in rare books.

2 What is one great discovery you have made?

The most personally satisfying was an archive. It came to me via a provincial British auction house and was completely overlooked by other bidders, possibly because of the high content of material in German. It was a personal archive of printed works, personal notes, ephemera and correspondence of a German psychologist who fled Nazi persecution to practise in Britain and became one of the founding fathers of group psychotherapy in Britain. Subsequently placed with an institution, it is of lasting value to scholars and researchers.

3 What sort of book do you love to find?

Rare and unusual Continental books which I have never come across before. It’s one of the things I love about the antiquarian book trade. For example, I have just found Fenicio A Fille’s Dell’ unisono sermone; Del sogno capitol; Dell’ electricismo e della generazione dialogo, 1766. It’s an Italian book of poems from the genre of subject poetry – only this time on electricity!


A copy of Fenicio A Fille’s Dell’ unisono sermone... from 1766 recently found by James Eaton.

4 What is something you secretly hope never to sell?

I will never sell my copy of A Suffolk Bibliography by AV Steward. He was my grandfather, much missed, and a big influence on me in my early interest in books.

5 What is one thing you couldn’t do without?

Lapsang tea. I have an Assam and Lapsang loose leaf mixture that I can’t do a day without.

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