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Pictured: Papplewick’s Bibliomaniacs with Jonathan Cooper, Director of Studies at Papplewick, at Eton College Library.

On Tuesday, November 4th, the Bibliomaniacs from Papplewick School, Ascot, visited Eton College Library. Dr Coane, the Assistant Librarian there, showed them a collection of British, German and Chinese maps and atlases dating from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century, as well as Eton’s collection of ancient charters.

Papplewick’s Bibliomaniacs are the youngest antiquarian booksellers in the world. The boys, aged between ten and thirteen, meet every Thursday to discuss recent book sales, discover more about the history of literature, books and printing and produce catalogues of books for sale.

On their visit to Eton College, they saw many interesting incunabula (books published before 1501) in an exhibition about the Venetian printer Aldus Manutius, probably the most famous printer in the 15th century apart from Gutenberg. However, the highlight was being able to view Eton’s copy of the Gutenberg Bible itself with its illumination in the Erfurt style and its marvellous contemporary binding.

Headmaster Tom Bunbury said: “Our Bibliomaniacs have become so skilled that the master-in-charge, Jonathan Cooper, formerly of Sotheby’s book department, now only has to provide chocolate to power inspiration!”

Money raised through book sales has allowed the boys to sponsor three quarters of an acre of forest owned by the Woodland Trust at Bisham Wood, near Maidenhead. They have visited the British Library, the Bodleian Library, Henry Sotheran, the oldest secondhand bookshop in the world, Sotheby’s, Winchester Fellows’ Library, Jarndyce bookshop and even travelled to New York City, where they learnt and worked with the staff of Arader Galleries.

Papplewick’s Bibliomaniacs have built their own website, where their latest blogs can be viewed.


About Papplewick

Papplewick is a day, weekly, and full boarding preparatory school for around 200 boys between the ages of 6 and 13. Situated in 15 acres of land opposite Ascot Racecourse in Berkshire, Papplewick has an excellent record for academic achievement and feeds many of the UK’s top independent senior schools including Eton, Harrow, Winchester, Wellington, Stowe and Bradfield.  

In the last two years the school has maintained its academic record, gaining no less than 18 awards to top independent schools, including three King’s Scholarships to Eton.  Through its strong commitment to sports, the school also builds skills of teamwork, sportsmanship and responsibility.

As well as academic, sporting and cultural excellence, Papplewick aims to provide boys with the confidence and security they need to fulfil their potential, and the school strives to promote enthusiasm for life, contribution to the community and kindness to others amongst all its pupils. 

A recent (2013) report by the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) remarks that relationships between pupils and teachers: ‘are an outstanding strength of the school and are seminal in creating the strong sense of a mutually supportive and trusting community.’