People are different and we have to discover our personal passions for ourselves. One of mine is books. I love books – picking them up, handling them, reading them and remembering them. I am particularly fond of older books, which have the trapped air of the centuries within them, and the invisible imprint of loving fingers. To open one is to release the magic of imagination, the gale-force winds of passion and purpose, or the deep-flowing streams of information and intellect. All three of these attacked me as I entered the Collectors Treasury. In fact, it was rather like walking into an old, travel stained volume. I climbed the stairs between stacks of books that seemed to be lined up waiting for earlier ones to vacate the property. Inside was delightful chaos, so full, scattered and abundant. There were books everywhere. Upstairs, downstairs, in the lift, on the floor, narrowing the passages, and in an unbelievable number of nooks and crannies. To my comment that one could easily get lost inside Geoff Klass responded, “Many people have tried.” I felt that I was quite fortunate to have found both he and his brother Jonathan, as they seemed to live in a small cave carved out of the surrounding bookery.
They have been in business since 1991, starting out in what is now 44 Stanley Street, and making their way eastwards to their present address, where they have traded since. They describe themselves as having, “…the largest used and rare book shop in Africa, and in the Southern Hemisphere, having 1,000,000 plus items on hand. In addition to books, there are substantial offerings of maps, old engravings and prints, printed ephemera, periodicals, newspapers and photographica. Collectors Treasury also deals extensively in records, with a stock of over 300,000 vinyl and 78rpm discs. We also have an extensive range of small antiques and collectables, with strong emphasis on the decorative arts 1870-1970.”
The collection covers almost every subject available. Here I found the William books, by Richmal Crompton, and Biggles, on the one hand, and great sets of Churchill’s History of the Second World War and The Barbarian Invasions of the Roman Empire, on the other. Scott’s Last Expedition was not far from the Cricket section that included Jackie McGlew, Pelham Warner and some ancient Wisdens. I came across a book on Polynesian Myths and Legends, near the astounding collection of vinyl records. There is an assortment of sheet music as well as a number of old albums and photographs.
The hardest for me to leave behind were the rare, and hence expensive volumes. Some were beautifully bound and included Africana.
Apart from the books, the large displays of antiques and small collectables were fascinating, and deserved their own browse time. I spent a very happy couple of hours there and could easily have stayed longer, if my credit card had not developed hiccups.
The premises are easy to find and secure parking can be arranged at Jewel City next door. Although they do not have their own website, some 70 000 books are listed on various other sites, through which they may be ordered.
Address: CTP House, 244 Commissioner St, City and Suburban, Johannesburg, 2001
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CollectorsTreasury/