Continuing our amble round London's independent bookshops
Biblion is a sort of showcase opportunity for antiquarian and rare book dealers in the heart of Mayfair. In the middle of Grays Antique Market, tucked away behind Bond Street tube, it's an unexpected goldmine, a place that brings together lots of covetable items under one roof.
About 100 dealers rent shelf space within the labyrinthine rooms, ranging from art and art history, first editions, sport (plenty of old Wisdens on offer and tons on fishing for bizarre, legacy reasons; this really is the place JR Hartley should have gone), to cheap secondhand paperbacks. A number of the books are signed, too. You can find JRR Tolkien's autograph (and buy it if you have a spare £3k), or Philip K Dick asking a woman out in the flyleaf of one of his books. There's a strong line in signed modern fiction; look along the racks of paperbacks for anything with a paper wrapper.
It's not just books, though. Wander towards the back and you'll find the gallery - hosting an exhibition of bookseller's portraits until the 7 November - which, in its time, has witnessed an incredibly tasteful bleeding Jesus as part of a show about iconography. And when we visited, the most expensive thing in the place (we ask questions like these because we're a bit shallow) was a Banksy print with a price tag of £13.5k. Which may just be the first sign of the Apocalypse.
Sad to report, Biblion closed down January 2010. Continue reading for a map, images author's own. Know a good bookshop? Email us at londonist (@) gmail.com.
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