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In Flagrante Collecto (Caught in the Act of Collecting) Hardcover – June 1, 2006

14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Marilynn Gelfman Karp is a professor of art at New York University, a sculptor whose mixed media, found object works have been exhibited internationally, an avid observer of material culture, and a relentless collector. She and her husband divide their time between New York City and a farmhouse in upstate New York.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams; First Edition edition (June 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810955407
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810955400
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 1.2 x 11.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #964,159 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By F. Gillen on June 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The first thing to hit me was how beautiful this book is. The photographs of the thousands of collectibles are delectable. It made me want to run out and find some of this stuff, or find new things to start collecting. The author unfolds her theories about why people collect, and describes many wonderful childhood scenes of Bronx life and early collections of marbles, baseball cards, sewing kits, you name it. Adult adventures collecting all over the world, and the collecting adventures of her friends and family, are included, and make for a wonderful warm biography of a collection of collectors. The descriptions of the original uses and methods of manufacturing of various collectibles is fascinating, and it's lovely to see simple and sometimes disposable things treated with such interest and respect. The history and character of our country shine through in the old graphics and designs of postcards, matchbooks, lawn sprinklers, and countless other items, and after spending time with them in this book, I can feel more deeply what's been lost to more efficient means of production. I'll never browse a flea market or garage sale quite the same way again. It's a wonderful conversation piece, a fun book to have around for guests to peruse. It gives you permission to bring out those old shoeboxes of stuff from under your bed and show them to your pals, even though you're not a kid any more. I loved this book, it was part anthropology, part history of design, part memoir, part encyclopedia, part travelogue, all work of endearing art.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Collector on March 28, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I got a preview copy of this fantastic book and what a treasure. Insightful and informative, it has wisdom and information to offer on antiques, collecting, collectibles, history and psychology. The writing is engaging and the photgraphs practically glow; there is something fascinating in here for everyone.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Carlo Lamagna on January 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I have purchased at least seven copies of this fascinating book to give as gifts to a wide variety of friends. For those interested in collecting, the book offers fresh insights into the forces that motivate people to acquire, while illustrating a remarkable diversity of eccentric collections that surprise and delight. For the novice or general reader, the breadth and types of collections are amazing. The book is superbly designed and the objects beautifully photographed and presented. The author is a farsighted collector with an awesome range of historical knowledge and an accessible, highly informative writing style. I highly recommend this book for readers of all persuasions who simply enjoy being intellectually and visually stimulated.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Blumrich on May 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is the best book I have found on Collecting. The writer gets into the state of mind of a collector, then presents profusely illustrated collections of an almost unbelievable scope. Like - you mean people really collect THIS? Yes they do and it's there. COOL book that will broaden your horizon - and you'll never throw anything away again because someone out there collects it.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Natasha Hubshman on March 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is a beautifully produced look book. The unusual and very particular collecting subject matter is very personal. Quirky, wonderfully photographed and of superior quality.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Tod Rathbone on April 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Reading this book was like day at my favorite swap meet, antique collective or a random search on eBay. I visually recognize the material but appreciate it more for being brought together in groups. The collector's mind automatically seeks groupings and hierarchies of individual examples and this book plays to that weakness easily. The little stories are at times educational and fascinating and at other times too personal and esoteric. My only problem is that after reading this book, I tend to want to own too many of the objects featured.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Robin Benson on June 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Ah yes, my kind of book and oddly I completely missed it when it came out in 2006. Marilynn Karp has hit on a rich vein of collecting with her book: the stuff we normally just throw away or at least junk when we get tired of it. A couple of really off-the-wall collectable items caught my eye: other folks shopping lists (page 151) and soap shards in a frame (pages 66/67).

Of course, much of the book features plenty of established collectables, like postcards, fruit crate labels, playing cards, political campaign buttons, matchbox labels and the old favorite: stamps. I thought the strength of the book was in picturing throwaway everyday printed ephemera and cheap production items like wire shirt-hangers, skate keys or shoe taps that normally no one would bother to collect. Karp sees keepers of such stuff as true collectors.

As a designer for print I'm into any scrap of paper that has type on it so most of the book is quite fascinating for me, so much of the contents are printed items. Recently I started to collect the menus from chocolate boxes and after a while, like any collector, I came up with the problem of finding out about the subject. Collect something too obscure and you're the only one doing it so there's no chance to trade or connect with others. You'll know when your collection has 'arrived' because Schiffer Books will publish one of their dreadful looking titles about it with the predictable cover line: Includes Price Guide.

An interesting point all the lovely illustrations throw up is that individually so many things do look dull and boring but collect several of them and suddenly they start to look visually quite exciting.
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