How Oak Knoll acquired the Indian Type collection from Arivind Patel
Arivind Patel owned a type foundry in India and occasionally bought books from Oak Knoll. About six years ago, I received a beautifully hand-written letter from him with an enclosed catalogue of his books. His letter stated that he was getting along in years and now wanted to sell his collection. I looked over the catalogue and found some interesting items, in addition to the more common books on typography and printing. If the collection had been located in the United States, I would have offered to come view the books and make an offer. But what was I to do with a collection in India and the great potential for condition problems? After pondering over the collection for a week or so, I wrote back to him and said that in all fairness, I could not make him an offer without seeing the books, and they weren’t going to be worth enough for me to visit him in India. Off went the letter, and I placed the catalogue in my files, along with its brothers and sisters in the archives of collections never bought by Oak Knoll.
Fast forward five years – then the phone call came. “Mr. Fleck – the books are now in New Jersey, as my grandfather sent them to me for you to view.” My son and I drove to look at the books, made a fair offer, and now here they are in our collection. Although there was some damage, most had been preserved because they were wrapped in clear plastic to keep the insects away. In addition to the collection, there were a number of letters from all others who corresponded with him about type and specimens. The letters went to an institution, and I am sure he will be pleased to see his material go out to other collectors.
Click here to view the collection.