The Archives Fine Book Collecting Prize

British Sport Past and Present  Napier's Favourite Scots SongsEarthquakes, inscribed by the author


 The 2022 Archives Fine Book Collecting Prize is now open to receive applications. 




The Archives Fine Book Collecting Prize is a biennial prize with a combined value of over $1000 awarded for an outstanding book collection conceived of and built by a young collector of the Greater Brisbane region. Following in the tradition of similar book collecting competitions overseas, the prize aims to cultivate an appreciation for books and other ephemeral items as important documents in understanding developments in social history, the canon of literature, the sciences, art & design and the book arts.

The aim of the prize is to acknowledge young Brisbane collectors (up to the age of 35) and encourage them in their pursuits. We expect applicants’ collections to be embryonic, therefore size, age and value are irrelevant. What matters is the enthusiasm and commitment of the collector, the interest of the theme and the vision for how the collection will continue to be developed.

“A personal library is a reflection of who you are and who you want to be, of what you value and what you desire, of how much you know and how much more you’d like to know. . . Digital texts are all well and good, but books on shelves are a presence in your life. As such, they become a part of your day-to-day existence, reminding you, chastising you, calling to you. Plus, book collecting is, hands down, the greatest pastime in the world.” – Michael Dirda.

In 2020 the Archives Fine Book Collecting Prize was awarded to Ms Emily Porter of Bray Park for her essay A Horse Lover’s Library.

Mr Timothy Roberts ran a close second with his essay Love, Leather and Literature – building a collection of LGBT text resources.

For information on how to apply write to Dawn Albinger


We would like to thank our partners in establishing the Prize:

The Bibliographic Society of Australia and New Zealand                                                 The Book Collectors' Society of Australia


Suggested resources (this list is in its infancy and will be added to over time):

CARTER, John. ABC For Book Collectors.  London: Hart-Davis, MacGibbon or New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Books (any edition you can find).

GASKELL, Philip. New Introduction to Bibliography. Oxford University Press, 1972 (frequently revised).

CURREY, L.W. Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors: a bibliography of first printings of their fiction and selected non-fiction. Olathe, KS: RB Publishing 2002.

GASCOIGNE, Bamber. How to identify prints. London: Thames and Hudson, 2004.

LOKER, Chris. One hundred books famous in children's literature. NY: The Grolier Club, 2014.

MUIR, Marcie. A Bibliography of Australian Children's Books. London: Andre Deutsch, 1970 (first edition) or Melbourne University Press, 1992 (3 volumes).

FERGUSON, John A. Bibliography of Australia (7 volumes). Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1941.

WANTRUP, Jonathan.  Australian Rare Books. Sydney: Hordern House, 1987.


Suggested online resources: have a number of great articles on collecting. If you are new to collecting you might want to start with these three:

Another great article by Jim Finck can be found on the Vialibri website:


Terms and Conditions

  • Applicants must be 35 years or younger at January 1, 2022;
  • Applicants must reside within the Greater Brisbane Area: Brisbane, Ipswich, Logan, Moreton Bay, Redland City
  • The winning applicant must be available to travel to the Sydney Rare Book Fair in 2022 (currently scheduled for late October);
  • The winner agrees to be profiled together with the winning essay on the Archives Fine Books website and Social Media; to participate in three promotional events during their tenure; and to publicly acknowledge Archives Fine Books in any other promotional activities undertaken as the prize recipient.