1981-2013, THIRTY-TWO YEARS
Now Exhibiting at Owl & Company Bookshop
3941 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland CA 94611
11am to 6pm, Everyday, till 10pm Thursday-Saturday
Todd Leif Pratum
PRATUM BOOK COMPANY
Antiquarian & Scholarly Books
Mail: 263 Athol Avenue, No.8, Oakland CA, 94606
Parcels: 3941 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland CA 94611
510.932.0273 ❦ Knowledge@Pratum.com
(To visit my library site click here)
FULL TIME DEALER SINCE 1981 IN ALL VARIETY OF BOOKS FROM
EVERYDAY USED VOLUMES TO RARE EARLY PRINTED BOOKS.
SPECIALIST IN ANCIENT & MEDIEVAL HISTORY,
RELIGION, PHILOSOPHY AND PSYCHOLOGY.
Individual Books and Complete
NEWS, APRIL 2013
I have sold my shop, Owl & Company Bookshop to my old friend and colleague Michael Calvello. However thousands of my books are shelved there and for sale, mostly in the back area and behind the front counter.
With the demise of Fields Book Store (after 81 years, replaced by a nail salon) I have moved all my consigned books to the Owl. I will also be restarting my online book business, located on this website. If you want updates just send me an email with "updates" in the subject field and I will email you when stock is shelved or posted.
CURRENTLY WE ARE EXCLUSIVE BROKERS FOR A WORLD CLASS LIBRARY ON PARAPSYCHOLOGY. We have a complete catalog of all the 10,000 books and documents, and photos of some of the rare books. We can mail this to interested parties.
WE CONTINUE TO BUY IN ALL FIELDS, but mainly in my specialties, history, religion, philosophy esotericism, and psychology. I'm also still buying children's books (all ages and periods), books on education, parenting, childhood and nature study, old, new, rare.
We are one of America's leading dealers in Hermetic Philosophy. We are familiar with most historical periods and have relationships with major academic and research libraries, professional book societies, and private collectors. If you are serious about your books let us know what your needs are whether buying or selling.
A Bit of History
My first book store opened in 1981 in a 1,000 sf storefront at 520 Waller Street, San Francisco. It was named Mantic Hands Book Gallery. Always with an eye out for promoting local artists I moved in 1983 to a much larger store front around the corner, with separate art gallery at 518 Haight Street (near Fillmore). That store was first named Bibliomancy Book Gallery, but since nobody could remember the name I changed it to The Haight Fillmore Book Gallery. A few years later I opened another book store in the small town of Boonville, in Mendocino County called Diluvian Books. After the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989 I moved to Sonoma County where I was to remain for 12 years, opening The Pratum Book Company on the plaza of the beautiful town of Healdsburg, about one hour north of the Golden Gate. 2000 was a very difficult year and I had to close the Healdsburg shop and move into a large warehouse/bookshop in Richmond on Central Avenue where I built magnificent shelving 17' tall and filled the space with a huge stock of books I slowly purchased from a series of bookstores that were going out of business. But the fates were against me and again I had to move, squeezing most of the shelving and stock into a cavernous apartment I rented in Oakland right off Lake Merritt where I continue to operate today (2013).
My Stock at the Moment
At this time I have a very disparate stock, a few highlights:
About 1,000 rare bibliographies and bound catalogs on alchemy and hermetic science, offered as a group, $35,000.
About 3,000 bookdealer catalogs of antiquarian, scholarly and 1st edition books. My plan was to issue a "Catalog of Catalogs" catalog and I still might get around to that someday, many of them are from the 19th century including a few cases of older Quaritch and Maggs Brothers catalogs but also obscure, common, boring, and unfashionable collections, (Goodspeeds, old hyper-firsts, William H. Allen,...) and I am interested in selling as a lot. At the moment they are in boxes in storage and can't be viewed except for a few hundred of the more interesting ones at my apartment.
Quite a few nice antiquarian titles on science, literary criticism, folklore, books in Greek & Latin, Americana, William Blake, freemasonry, and of course many books on philosophy and religion, individually priced.
A world class collection of about 100 books on the 'authorship' question, and Baconiana. This is scattered in a few locations (in storage) and not cataloged.
150+ tarot decks many from Italy, priced individually.
A fine collection of bibliography and books about books many of which are from the library of the famed manuscript dealer Bernard M. Rosenthal, who just turned 90 a few months ago here in Berkeley.
In storage I have all kinds of books, some rare, some 19th century non-fiction in many subjects, letters, MSS, (including a few illuminated MSS), sets, ephemera, catalogs and scholarly journals for sale.
Old Catalogs of Mine Available.
Want some of my old catalogs? I have unearthed half a dozen boxes of them so let me know and I can mail you some for a nominal charge. Since I don't have that many copies of the early ones, old customers will get preference for those, but it does not hurt to ask, and some catalogs I have in large quantities, even really old numbers like seven and 11.
A Few Books at Abebooks.
In January 2010 I had a horrible data loss and 13,000 book records went into the digital void. Since then I have concentrated on cataloging my most valuable books and listing them on Abebooks.com but only a hundred or so titles at this point. I hesitate to direct my customers to this site as there are a lot of crappy books and sloppy dealers there but for the time being it suits my purposes. Click here to view them, but please, if you don't mind, place your orders directly with me, this saves me 15%.
Some Random Photos:
Myself (left) with the famed Michael Goth, founder of The Globe Book Shop, of Los Angeles, photographed while browsing the shelves at Fields Book Store in San Francisco, 2008.
1981. My very first book store, 520 Waller Street, near the corner of Steiner, in San Francisco. It began as an art studio but after three years of trying to make it there as an abstract painter and art gallery I filled it with books and opened in 1981, calling it the Mantic Hands Book Gallery, mantic being the art of divination. A lot of the stock came from the psychiatric library of my father, Dr. Leif K. Pratum. But I was also a dedicated "dumpster diver" and we found amazing books that had been thrown away, including many scarce volumes that had been thrown out by the San Francisco Public Library. In 1983 later I moved to 518 Haight Street right off the corner of Fillmore. I renamed the business Bibliomancy Book Gallery. At the time my main specialties were art, metaphysics, philosophy, and recent literature and poetry. Note the spiral sign!
Here is a birds-eye view of the front counter of the shop on Haight Street, 1984, with me on the phone.
Inside 518 Haight Street, circa 1985. The large painting on the wall is by Scott Williams.
His remarkable art can be viewed at www.stencilarchive.org.
Below are a few shots of the back of Owl and Company Bookshop, opened in 2011, where I have about 1500 volumes shelved, priced from $50.00 to $150.00+, plus rare vellum manuscript letters, documents, ephemera & pamphlets.
The rare book area is by appointment, the shop is open 11-6 everyday,
and till 10pm Thursday-Saturday.
More photos to come.