by Lindy Gamolo
If you’re still surprised or puzzled that there are people who actually collect bookmarks (yes, as serious and “technical” as stamp and coin collectors, if you know what I mean), then it’s time to let it sink in because I’ll be proving you wrong in many Bookmarked posts to come. I’m not alone in this, I promise!
When I was most active in collecting bookmarks, I was in contact with a lot of collectors from different parts of the world to exchange/trade pieces from our collection, so I thought I might introduce those amazing people to you guys!
The first person we’re featuring is Willy Nieuwveld. Willy was also one of the first exchange partners I had. She was generous with her exchanges, which were always beautiful. I’m so happy and grateful and excited that I can finally proudly show you what a remarkable collector she is.
IT BEGAN ON A TRIP TO PARIS
Hi, Willy! Before we dive into your collection, can you tell us something about your self?
I am Willy Nieuwveld and I live in Borculo, a small town in the beautiful East of Holland. I am a depot holder—I take care of delivery personnel for regional weekly newspapers and leaflets and ensure that everything is ready for them to spread.
I collect bookmarks from all over the world and exchange pieces with other collectors from Russia, Spain, Greece, Brazil, Switzerland, England and many others. Here is my website for bookmark exchanges and shows parts of my collection here.
In June 2011, my own bookmark was displayed in the Museum of Books in the Russian State Library in Moscow (though I don’t know if it’s still displayed there now). My collection was also featured in a regional newspaper that same year.
Just a little trivia: here in Holland, most people send friends and family Christmas cards, but we do not. We make a Christmas bookmark for all every year. Last year was a puzzle bookmark.
How did you come to start collecting bookmarks?
We were in Paris and I had to buy some bookmarks for my sister-in-law, who is a collector herself. There were so many beautiful ones that I began to collect them myself. And now I have more than 27,000 pieces in my collection, not including those I have yet to sort out.
How long have you been collecting bookmarks?
I’ve been collecting bookmarks for 10 years already.
How were you able to expand the collection?
By exchanging with other collectors, asking bookstores, and buying in Museums. We go to the Frankfurter Buch Messe in Germany for free bookmarks, and to the Manuscripta here in Holland, a book fair where the newest books are presented. Once a year, we have a bookmark exchange fair with collectors from Holland, Belgium, Germany and France, organized by Dick and Dineke Kolstee, who are collectors too.
Our kids and friends also look for bookmarks for me when they go on holiday.
Do you still remember the first exchange partner you had? Where were they from and what did you get?
My first exchange partner was Leny Kalshoven, also from Holland. I asked for Cossee bookmarks on a selling site and she responded to my question. Then we met and she not only brought Cossee bookmarks but several boxes filled with bookmarks! And I could take what I wanted. We exchange bookmarks to this day.
Wait, let’s go back a little. There are free bookmarks in Holland? Where can they usually be found?
Yes, but there have been fewer and fewer free bookmarks in the last few years. It probably has to do with the recession.
Most can be found in bookstores. But not every bookstore has them, and sometimes when you ask for bookmarks they say: we do not have any, we always throw them away. Unbelievable! It’s not fun to hear that as a collector!
What are some of the difficulties you experienced while collecting bookmarks?
It is sometimes difficult to make a series complete, especially the older bookmark series.
IT’S ALL IN THE DETAILS
How do you store your bookmarks?
I keep my bookmarks in folders and some in square vases placed in our living room so that people can always see a part of my collection.
In the toilet, we put up a frame of bookmarks associated with the toilet and a frame of only metal bookmarks. 😉
How do you arrange them?
I arrange my bookmarks by theme and country. Some of the many, many themes I have include: cats, puzzles, bookmarks with card, angels, people/animals reading, Christmas, Oscar Wilde, Charles Dickens, etc.
Is there any particular bookmark theme/kind/material you like to collect
There are many themes that I like but the wooden shoe bookmark from Jerusalem is very special to me. The series of the Dutch publisher Cossee and bookstore J Bijleveld are also great favorites of mine and for most Dutch collectors.
Tell us about some of your favorite bookmarks!
- Wooden shoe from Jerusalem
- Old bookmark with knitting needles
- Mr. Pickwick from England
- My oldest bookmark of Queen Victoria from England
- Art Hotel Spaander (Painter Willem Wouters)
Do you have any piece of advice for other bookmark collectors? Any tips you think they should know?
Stay in contact with other collectors so you can help each other finding bookmarks missing from your collections.
YOU CAN’T SPELL ‘BOOKMARK’ WITHOUT ‘BOOK’
Do you have other hobbies aside from collecting bookmarks?
Reading! I devour books. ☺ A home with no books is no home!
What are your favorite books?
I read mostly literature. My favorite books are: The Boy in the Striped Pajama by John Boyne, Astrid and Veronika by Linda Olsson, Parnassia by Josha Zwaan and all the books of the Dutch writer Otto de Kat and Herbjørg Wassmo from Norway.
Any concluding words from a bookmark collector?
If you love bookmarks, then you must also love books. Because one cannot be without the other.
See, I told you I wasn’t alone! Doesn’t this make you want to start collecting bookmarks, too? Let me know in the comment section below. Ciao for now! ☁