Quagga Rare Books & Art


We have had a fantastic response to our first newsletter! Thank you for all the compliments and feedback, as well as those who subscribed to our newsletter. If you have not yet subscribed, please click here. As the rare book world has become increasingly web orientated we have, over the last year been working hard to build this side of the business. We have been amazed by the amount of interest that our website has generated and are committed to growing that side of the business.

It is, however in our two shops that we can best experience what Quagga really is.
In the New Year we will be making a concerted effort to seek out more objects, more artifacts, displayed well, with provenance or a story, and made available for sale.

To all our customers, both old and new we thank you for another fantastic year and for allowing us to continue doing what we love.

The SAADA National Antiques Fair takes place at Kirstenbosch Gardens on the 14th and 15th of February. We will have our usual stand and will be exhibiting some fantastic new stock. We hope to see you all there.
If you would like an ivitation to the opening function on 13 February please contact us.

We are settling into our new shop in Stellenbosch very well, and hope you will visit us again soon at 1 Andringa Street, upstairs from La Fayette Wine Bar, and Verbatim Books.

This month has seen us procure a beautiful San bow and arrow set that was traded for salt by the previous owner in the 1950’s in Hereroland.

We also recently acquired a small collection of British modern first editions and a striking Alice Goldin woodcut, to name a few items.

Foxing to fore edges of pages and prelims, also to dw. Spine of dw browned. Overall, the text is clean and the binding tight. Please click here for more...


A very good copy of Fleming’s sixth Bond novel. Black cloth boards with silver titles to the spine. Front board is blank. It does not have the imprint of the woman’s silhouette. Dust jacket is price clipped and there is some minimal soiling to the back face of it. Some minor edge wear to the jacket and a small nick to the spine. Bookseller’s sticker to the paste down and previous owner’s bookplate to the fep. Very slight lean to the spine. Please click here for more...



Reminiscences of Kimberley

“A perennial of any Africana collector’s is Louis Cohen’s “Reminiscences of Kimberley” published in London in 1911. It changes hands readily at R12.60 and R16.80, and certainly will go higher.”

Denis Godfrey in his 1963 book “The Enchanted Door”

At the time of writing there are two copies of “Reminiscences…” available on the net.

Both are described as very good copies, the former chipped, bumped, sunned, patchy, scored, heavy foxing and owner’s signature on title page. The latter is recently rebound and lightly foxed. The description mentions that it can never be reprinted, however The Kimberley Historical Society reprinted the book in 1990.

We have a battered copy – in its original binding, the brown cloth discoloured and blotchy. Opposite the title page Louis Cohen’s calling card has been tipped in with a note relating to a visit from Louis Cohen. Various relevant newspaper clippings have been tipped in. Our price is R2200.

Godfrey said “it will certainly go higher” and it certainly has gone higher – about 300 times. Today, depending on condition, one would expect to pay R2000 to R9000 for a copy.

Collectors in most fields live to regret both caution and indecision.

To quote Godfrey “The economics of collecting are based on the safest principle I know. Collections multiply, but the supply of important, rare books diminishes, that in brief is the argument”

Cohen’s book is a good example of this principle. Important and rare it is.  

Cohen spins a great story .Son of a Jewish father and Irish mother he was Barney Barnato’s first partner. He shows little regard for the sensitivities of his fellow diamond seekers. He is both scandalous and witty and spikes the dour J.B. Robinson with his pen. He describes him as “Sour visaged and unsympathetic, he looked as yellow as a bad apple, and green with spleen like a leek”, he had “tombstone for a soul” not withstanding “he looked as cold as a fish” and so forth. J.B. Robinson had his revenge in the British courts and won his libel case against Cohen

Uncowed, Cohen’s pluck did not desert him and he continued to write and followed with “Reminiscences of Johannesburg and London” a further scurrilous sketch of life on the Witwatersrand. We have  first editions of both his Kimberley and Johannesburg books available in Kalk Bay. 

Later reprinted by the Africana Reprint Library in 1976, a copy is available from our Stellenbosch shop, as well as Denis Godfrey’s indispensable book for the Africana collector – “The Enchanted Door”

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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)83 4583795

email: george@quaggabooks.co.za
Simon Curtis

5 Andringa Street
South Africa

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

email: simon@quaggabooks.co.za
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