The Rowan Gibbs Book Collection
Thursday, 16 November - Thursday, 14 December 2023

Rowan Gibbs, born, educated and always resident in Wellington (a city he seldom leaves) started work in a Wellington secondhand bookshop in the 1970s when he should have been finishing his Ph.D. in Classical Greek. Caught by the antiquarian book trade – the fun of never knowing what treasures might turn up the next day – he stayed on, eventually becoming a partner and later taking over the business. He was firmly advised not to collect New Zealand books – why compete with your customers? But noticing rare (and cheap) New Zealand novels sitting on the shop shelves unsold, he was tempted to buy them, then collect them seriously, then add short stories and early New Zealand children’s books – which very few people were then collecting. While buying and reading new Janet Frame novels as they came out, he extended his collecting to all New Zealand fiction, including the many successful New Zealand crime and romance writers – and all New Zealand fiction in all editions and all translations. Over the years a four-bedroom house was filled to the brim, with some 25,000 books, plus literary periodicals. Some of the highlights of the collection are offered here, giving others the chance to enjoy chasing and buying these increasingly rare books. Enquiries Anthony Gallagher Ph: 04 472 1367

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