I gathered in short order information about wine bookplates and related literature via the internet. I discovered the site of Ex Libris Aboensis and I joined this Finnish society. The decision to join was prompted by the acquisition of my first book on wine ex libris two weeks earlier. This German book is entitled Wein-Ex Libris aus 21 Ländern by Herman Jung (1973). The book justifies the wine theme as a worthy aspect of collecting bookplates which furthered by interest in this subject.
At the same time as I joined the EA, I received an important note from the president of the society concerning the catalogue of an exhibition on wine ex libris, organized in connection with the meeting at Fredrikshavn just some weeks earlier. The exhibition was based on bookplates from the collections of the well-known Danish collector, Dr. Erik Skovenborg. There was still hope of an extra copy of the catalogue to be found in Denmark. This hope came true. My membership could hardly have begun at a better time.
Making use of the information I got from the internet, I then sent e-mails to many recipients. I continued visiting many web forums and left messages about my interest in collecting wine bookplates and related books. As a result, the number of items in my collections of wine ex libris and related literature increased quickly during winter and even more later on, during the spring. I now have hundreds of wine bookplates, but only a dozen of them can be classified as Finnish wine bookplates. Books, catalogues and articles are 17 in number, two of which are with a dedication, and signed by the author. These numbers greatly exceed the numbers that I thought would be possible to collect during my first year. It seems as wine ex libris collecting has taken my breath away.
The greatest surprise to me was the level of interest in bookplates so highly developed and wide spread in the countries of Eastern Europe. I have received wine bookplates from collectors from these countries more than France. France is one of the classic great powers in literature and, of course, wines. One hopes that a place of such fine food and wine would offer some fine ex libris, too.
Some of the bookplates in my collection are extraordinarily interesting. One of these is the first wine ex libris of Norbert Lippóczy, who is perhaps the most famous collector of wine bookplates that ever lived. Lippóczy (1902-1996) was a Hungarian-Polish collector and began to collect wine ex libris in 1957. in this year, commissioned his first bookplate which was designed by the Polish artist Jósef Szuszkiewics (1912–1982). After this turning point, Lippóczy went on to collect thousands of bookplates.
Many exhibitions have been organized being based on the collection of Mr. Lippóczy. In some books and exhibition catalogues are described in words the first ex libris of Lippóczy, “with which all that began”, but I have not seen the image until quite recently. A few weeks ago I managed to get two copies of the bookplate. The first one was found among 30 bookplates sent to me by a German antiquarian bookshop.