Friday, March 21, 2014

Rare books, Vintage Photographs, Documents, Manuscripts WANTED: Will travel... We make house calls

We are purchasing large collections of rare books, pamphlets, manuscripts and historical letters, and photographs.  “Almost” all subject matters, but in particular:
We also purchase:  Documents  -  Manuscripts  - Correspondence with Historical Content or Featuring Famous People in History

We are interested in:
  • Photograph Albums
  • Individual Vintage Photographs by Notable 19th Century and Early 20th Century Photographers
  • Postcard Albums
  • Postal History Related to Canada and China
  • Anything Related To China, Including Publications in Chinese  中文
We make house calls anywhere in B.C. for large collections, and can usually travel at short notice. We travel regularly to Alberta and Ontario.

As a recognized and accepted appraiser, I also carry out appraisals of collections or groups of important items, for which a professional fee is charged.  I do not appraise single items.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Regina Cyclone 1912 ? An unusual photograph of dump trucks at Regina, Saskatchewan

Garbage has never looked so "interesting"

Could this image of akimbo trucks depict part 

of the clean-up after the Regina Cyclone in 1912?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Robert Burns and Robert Louis Stevenson

We are offering for sale splendid copies of two of the most renown works of Scottish literature.

A first edition of Robert Louis Stevenson's KIDNAPPED (1886), and the first "Edinburgh" edition of POEMS, CHIEFLY IN THE SCOTTISH DIALECT (1787) by Robert Burns.
KIDNAPPED with a Bayntun Riviere Binding


Binding by Grieve of Edinburgh
Sold June 2013

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Yuen Fong Company in Vancouver Chinatown

November 1960

Yuen Fong Company of Vancouver supplied Chinatown businesses and restaurants across Canada and some parts of the United States with traditional Chinese goods such as food stuffs, medicine, porcelain, fans, slippers, art scrolls, lanterns, drinks, canned goods, and more.  They were retailers and wholesalers.  The illustrated catalogues are all in traditional characters.  The business closed soon after 1982.

Monday, November 5, 2012

James Penrose. Studio Portrait of Woodlands Cree (?) c1875

New Photographic Discovery
November 2012

REMARKABLE STUDIO PORTRAIT OF A WOODLANDS CREE (?) . Winnipeg: J. Penrose. 1875? Albumen print photograph, carte de visite format, 100 x 63 mm, verso with studio imprint of J. Penrose, Photo Studio, Winnipeg, Manitoba. A very strong print, with excellent tonal range in very good condition.
Taken in the Winnipeg studio of J. Penrose in front of a painted backdrop with forest scenery, this striking portrait appears to depict a warrior. With beaded floral design on his tunic the subject wears a fur hat and fur mittens. At his waist are a hunting knife and pistol. In his right hand he holds a talking (?) stick.

We are always in the market to purchase vintage photographs and collections

Photographs Wanted by these photographers: Humphrey Loyd Hime, Frederick W. Steele, Oliver Buell, J.A. Brock, H.T. Devine, William Notman, Charles Mcmunn, Charles Horetzky, Richard Maynard, Hanna Maynard, Alexander Henderson, Boorne and May, Bingham and Thom, R.H. Trueman, etc.  What do you have?  Old photo albums also wanted.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Wanted: Photographs by Geraldine Moodie and other Canadian photographers

Geraldine Moodie took photographs of scenes on the Canadian Prairies in the late 1880's. She accompanied her husband to the arctic and lived there from 1906-1909.

I am trying to build up a collection of her photographs in the form of any vintage photographic prints,  lantern slides, or her writings, watercolours, as well as any papers, documents and related materials associated with her life.

Although she is relatively unknown to collectors, she had a keen eye and a good sense of composition.
See below for a photographs she took while she was in the arctic.

By Geraldine Moodie

I also collect vintage photographs by noted Canadian photographers such as:  Richard and Hanna Maynard, Carlo Gentile, Bailey, Steele, Daly, William Notman, and many others.

Photo possibly by Frederick Dally although sometimes attributed to Carlo Gentile

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Seeking old Chinatown documents, photos, archives, and old papers...

We are actively collecting old Chinatown paper from anywhere in Western Canada, particularly Chinatowns in Vancouver, Victoria, Barkerville, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg.  However, we are interested in anything Chinese Canadian.  This search is part of an on-going preservation project.

Do you have anything like the following items?  If so, give us a call or send an email.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Box Mountain in Richmond, B.C.

In September of this year, I helped a client pack a very, very large collection of books for a move within Richmond. Our team had an efficient assembly-line approach to box assembling.  The screech of packing tape rolling off tape-guns echoed in the garage for several days.  I never thought boxes could look so chaotically beautiful....

Monday, March 8, 2010

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Vintage Photos of China: Black, J.R. THE FAR EAST. A Monthly Journal. 2 volumes. Shanghai: 1876-1877.

Among the best photographs of  the period...
Approximately 55 photos related to China
(Sold November, 2011)


Illustrated with 82 Albumen Photographs
[Photographs of China and Japan].  BLACK , J.R. ed.  The Far East. A Monthly Journal, Illustrated with Photographs  . Shanghai: ‘Far East’ Printing Office, 1876-1877.  2 Volumes. Quarto (26.5 x 22cm).  1st edition. New series. Volumes 1 & 2.  iv +ii+152pp, with 43 original albumen photographs, and 1 illustration in the text (page 45);  Iv + 138pp, with 39 original albumen photographs.  Total: 82 tipped-in photographs (sizes ranging between 8.5 x 8cm and 20 x14 cm).

Volume One: original publisher’s crimson half morocco, moiré cloth.  Volume Two: full red morocco, each volume re-spined in period-style matching red calf, gilt. Front and rear boards of Volume One moiré cloth discoloured. Pages wavy from the mounted photographs. Over all a very good set indeed with the photographs in very good to fine condition, with good tonality. Approximately 55 images relate to China.  $29,000 U.S.

“It was in May 1870, that [Black] first conceived the idea of publishing a newspaper  illustrated with photographs of the Far East.” [From the Introduction]. The photographs provide a vivid insight into to the daily life and personalities in China, including:

-temples in Shanghai (Temple of Confucius),
-images of beggars,
-itinerant cobblers,
-high-ranking Chinese officials (incl. the Governor of Nanking, and the famous statesman Li Hong-zhang),
-a Shanghai merchant’s wife,
-a small number of missionary and political figures (incl. Sir Thomas Wade, Samuel Wells Williams, Robert Hart, Medhurst, Sir Harry Parkes),
punishment of the Cangue (Hongkew Police Station),
-bound feet of a Chinese woman,
-two group photos of American Presbyterian Mission Conference at Shanghai.

In addition, there are photographs of Japan, including:
-tea houses in Tokyo
-Japanese Buddhist priests

(See: Gernsheim.  Incunabula of British Photography: Bibliography of British Photographic Literature, 1839-75, and British Books Illustrated with Original Photographs.  Item 635).

Note: An index of all of the photographs is available. 

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Keepers of the Record: The History of the Hudson's Bay Archives.

Valuable --But Could Have Been More Exciting
Given the Material

The Hudson's Bay Company Archives contain the largest gathering of documents, books, manuscripts, art, photographs (and much more) related to Western Canada.  The entire multifaceted archive comprises more than 2 kilometres of material: a treasure trove of some of the most exciting history in Canada.  There are also more than 12,000 maps, charts and sketches.

Having bought and sold original HBC manuscripts, documents, photographs, ledgers, original photographs, maps, and ephemera to customers all across Canada, I jumped at the opportunity to hear the author speak about the contents of the HBC archives, and her book "Keepers of the Record," on Sunday January 17 at an event sponsored by the Friends of the B.C. Archives.

As illustrated talks go, it was sometimes slow. However, the slides Deirdre Simmons had of the first HBC ledger (1668), and the Fort Victoria ledgers caught the attention of the audience.  Authors should talk to their audiences not read from the stilted prose of their books, I thought, as Simmons read from some of the passages in her book. Almost everything Simmons had to say was potentially about as interesting as Canadian history can get. Over 100 people showed up to hear her talk--apparently a record.

I wish it were possible to make Canadian History as exciting as it can be without inflicting a dessication that freeze dries the characters, and events into lifeless school lessons.  Simmons makes an important contribution by highlighting some of the HBC treasures, and while in effect this is a history of an important library/archive, the book could have been presented in a more exciting way to do justice to the exceptional material (and characters) that "inhabit" this important archive. 

I have only flipped through "Keepers of the Record," and read sections or passages of interest. The first part illustrates and describes the early documents, maps, and stories about the HBC that still excite readers, collectors, and dealers. By the time I reached the middle of the book, however, I was beginning to feel that I was reading the detailed history of a prim library.

"Keepers of the Record," is a good reference work (the first half) but the second half is a little dry (descriptions of cataloguing techniques), and potentially of limited interest except to archive personnel. It could have been so much more stimulating if the author had drawn on the people who actually made the history (and documents), including some of the documents arising --for example-- from controversial transactions where key HBC directors bought and sold HBC property at considerable profit (James Douglas --to name only one-- all of which is amply documented).

Not surprisingly, Simmons omits the story of what happened to the duplicate material and numerous unwanted extra copies of books and printed documents that were disposed of on the open market when the HBC transferred its holdings to the Manitoba Archives, subsequent to the appraisal.

I was surprised that Simmons did not describe the substantial HBC holdings related to John Rae, the explorer  (one of the most famous HBC employees) who received  £10,000 in 1854 for providing proof of the fate of the lost Sir John Franklin expedition.  If there ever has been an event in Arctic history that has commanded international attention, it is the "Search for Franklin" and John Rae's role in it.

As someone in the audience asked, what about the art residing in the archives?  Simmons pays scant attention to the topic in her book.

The history of the Hudson's Bay Company is not one of events taking place up and down the corporate ladder, bracketed by the accomplishments of lawyers and accountants.  The documents and manuscripts residing in the HBC Archives are pivotal to the development and history of Canada, primarily Western Canada.  This is an exciting story that collectors want a piece of when opportunities appear on the market to purchase original material.

While I see some shortcomings in "Keepers of the Record", Simmons is a good writer. Marshaling an overwhelming arrays of facts into readable script is a major accomplishment, and here Simmons has succeeded.    

(A proper book review can be read here).

(The publisher's blurb can be read here).


I visited the HBC archives in the early 1990's and had the privilege of being escorted down the hallways, amongst steel shelving amassed with boxes, old ledgers, and amazingly... in a special corner, the private library of Peter Fidler. The books were "weathered" from having experienced many arctic winters and summers in an unheated fur trading post. The books had a "jack frost" look to them. It is as if the books had been entirely sprayed a powdered grey. I was allowed to have a tactile experience: I opened files, examined contents, and handled paper without the nuisance of cotton gloves... all under the supervision of a kind and knowledgeable archivist who knew me from my catalogues, and sales to the HBC archives.  I also examined broadsides related to the Search for Franklin, including some documents related to John Rae. The vast holdings left me in awe and nearly breathless.   I walked away from the experience inspired and uplifted.

More on John Rae

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Books, Photographs and Old Papers Wanted

(Signed photograph of Garnet Wolseley)

"Those who possess old letters, documents, correspondence, manuscripts, scraps of autobiography, miniatures and portraits, relating to persons and matters historical, literary, political and social should communicate with Mr. Bjarne Tokerud, Bjarne Tokerud Bookseller Inc, Victoria, B.C. Canada, who will at all times be pleased to give his advice and assistance, either for their purchase or their preservation.

"In addition, we are actively seeking rare books, photographs, photo albums, antique maps, antique prints, and articles and artifacts with historical provenance."

We are keen to purchase vintage photographs, and photo albums of Canadian scenes, particularly the Canadian Prairies, Canadian Rockies and British Columbia.

Photographers we are seeking include:

William Notman, Thompson Studio, Carlo Gentile, Richard Maynard, Frederick Dally, Steele and Co., Bailey and Neelands, Ernest Brown, Charles Mathers.
Including photographs by accomplished amateurs.

Call us at (250) 381-2230

Monday, August 10, 2009

Arctic Books Illustrated with Original Photographs

Usually, 19th century books were illustrated with steel engravings, woodcuts, photo-lithographic illustrations, or lithographs. One of the most important books on exploration in the arctic in the late 19th century is the work by George Nares.

We are offering for sale a near fine copy of one of the three books to use actual photographs for illustrative purposes.

George Nares. NARRATIVE OF A VOYAGE TO THE POLAR SEA DURING 1875-76, in H.M. Ships 'Alert' and 'Discovery.' Published in 1878.

The other two arctic books that used actual photographs were:

Allen Young. Cruise of the 'Pandora.' From the Private Journal kept by Allen Young, R.N.R., F.R.G.S., F.R.A.S., &c., Commander of the Expedition. [London: William Clowes], 1876. 8vo. Folding lithographed map and 12 mounted sepia photographed plates by W. J. A. Grant. And....

William Bradford. The Arctic regions illustrated with photographs taken on an art expedition to Greenland. London, 1873.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Period-Style Binding Adam Krusenstern

A book we recently sold with a period-style binding by Courtland Benson of Victoria, B.C.

Krusenstern, Adam Johann von. VOYAGE ROUND THE WORLD, IN THE YEARS 1803, 1804, 1805, & 1806, by order of His Imperial Majesty Alexander the First, on Board the Ships Nadeshda and Neva. Translated from the Original German by Richard Belgrave Hoppner, Esq. London: Printed by C. Roworth [Vol. 1] and T. Davison [Vol. 2] for John Murray, 1813. 2 volumes bound in one. 4to. 1st edition in English. xxxii + 4pp (Contents) + 314pp; 1pp (title leaf) + 7pp (Contents) + 404pp. 2 hand-colored aquatint frontispieces, folding engraved chart of the “Northwest Part of the Great Ocean.” Finely bound by Courtland Benson: period-style straight-grained morocco, raised bands with elaborate gilt decorations in spine compartments, marbled endpapers. A very clean copy in a very attractive binding.

This is the narrative of the first Russian circumnavigation of the globe, sent jointly by the Russian government and the Russian-American Company.


Since 1997, Bjarne Tokerud has operated from Victoria, B.C. Canada, buying, selling, and appraising rare books, archives, documents, vintage photography, and ephemera. Prior to moving to Victoria, Bjarne Tokerud operated a bookshop in Edmonton, Alberta from two locations on Whyte Avenue: starting out in 1980 above a German delicatessen in the Scona neighbourhood, and later in 1992 on Whyte Ave in Strathcona, premises which were shared with Traveller Antiques until 1997.

Bjarne Tokerud is a member of the ABAC and ILAB [Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of Canada and the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers], as well as a Past President of the ABAC. He is also a member of the PBFA [Provincial Booksellers Fairs Association, Great Britain].

Specialities include Travel and Exploration, Canadiana, Artic and Polar Exploration, Rare books in most fields, Vintage Photography and Photo Albums, Rare books on China, Chinese cartography, and historically interesting ephemera. We are also interested in purchasing Canadian Chinatown history. Documents, photographs, business histories, and more...


Would you like to receive one of our recent catalogues?

Are you disposing of an estate or a large book collection? We purchase outright, carry out rare book appraisals, and act as selling agents for rare and important individual items and complete collections. We travel extensively across Canada. For a confidential consultation:

Send us an email at or call us at (250) 381-2230

You can browse our books for sale at:

Bjarne Tokerud Bookseller