Quagga Rare Books & Art


Children's Books are, so often in poor condition. Making collectable items in good condition very sought after. We all have a favourite childhood story and so often we can see so much more of what appealed to our child minds as we re-read them again in later life. There is also a certain sadness about a children’s book in fine condition. While often a thing of beauty, it was probably never loved. As we all know the best loved volumes are almost always in the worst condition.

This month we will look at some of the collectable children's books that we have in our Stellenbosch shop.



Peter and Wendy

One of our prime examples this month is a 4th printing (same month as the first) of J M Barrie’s ' Peter and Wendy', published by Hodder & Stoughton in October 1911 and illustrated by F D Bedford.

This neat little book with bright gilt designs on the front board and spine bears the unique feature of having been signed by the cast of 1912 Christmas production of the now famous play Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up, at the Duke of York’s Theater in London.

The book is signed on the free end paper by the following cast members:
Pauline Chase - Peter Pan
E Holman Clark - Captain Hook
George Sheldon - Smee
Margaret Fraser - Tiger Lily
Gertrude - Wendy.

free end paper

Pauline Chase was Barrie’s choice for Peter Pan. The play started its run in 1904 and Chase (an American actress who was said to have had an affair with Sir Robert Falcon Scott) took over the title role in 1906. She continued until 1914. It has been suggested that Barrie legally adopted her.

Pauline Chase
Pauline Chase as Peter Pan

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William Heath Robinson (1872 – 1944) was born into a family of artists in Islington, London. His father and brothers Thomas Heath Robinson and Charles Robinson were all illustrators. He is best known for drawings of eccentric machines and "Heath Robinson" has entered the language as a description of any unnecessarily complex and implausible contraption.

An excellent example of this work can be seen in ' Hunlikely'. We have the 1916 reprint in stock. Here Robinson lampoons the German soldiers and creates his fanciful machines.

These drawings originally appeared in various journals such as The Strand Magazine, London Opinion, during WW1.

The Armoured Bayonet-curler for Spoiling The Temper of the Enemy’s Steel
The Hot-bottler for Warming Highlander’s Legs after a Night in the Trenches

“The Armoured Bayonet-curler for Spoiling The Temper of the Enemy’s Steel”

“The Hot-bottler for Warming Highlander’s Legs after a Night in the Trenches”

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Robinson also had a passion for illustrating fairytales. In 1934 after much wrangling with his publishers, ' Heath Robinson’s Book of Goblins' was published, by Huchinson & Co.

Heath Robinson’s Book of Goblins

We have a strikingly good copy, described on the title page as: "A collection of folk-lore and fairy tales. Illustrated with 7 colour and over 50 black and white illustrations by Heath Robinson".

Heath Robinson’s Book of Goblins
Heath Robinson’s Book of Goblins

Heath Robinson’s Book of Goblins

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Tiny Animal Stories

We also have the 12 volume set of ' Tiny Animal Stories', by Dorothy Kunhardt, illustrated by Garth Williams and published by Simon and Schuster in 1948.

Tiny Animal Stories
Tiny Animal Stories

Each book is 8cm x 5.5cm and is beautifully illustrated. With titles like ' Meow, said the Fierce Baby Lion' and ' The Little Leopard and His Fat Stomach'. This is a truly charming set.

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George Curtis

86 Main Road
Kalk Bay
South Africa

Tel: +27 (0)21 7882752
Fax: +27 (0)21 7883581
Mobile: +27 (0)82 4583795

Simon Curtis

1 Andringa Street
South Africa

Tel: +27 (0)21 8870113
Fax: +27 (0)21 8870113
Mobile: +27 (0)83 4630404

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