Frequently asked questions
Visiting the shop
Visitors are welcome daily (except Saturdays, Sundays, and bank holidays) from 10 am to 6 pm. No appointment is necessary. In our showroom your can view the 100-odd books, manuscripts and autographs that form our regularly changing exhibition.
Unfortunately not, our shelves must be accessed by employees only – a rule insisted upon by our art insurer due to the high value of many items. We are bound to enforce this provision without exception: it is one of the conditions for the coverage of all the risks of our business operations, including the automatic insurance of all shipments, extended to our customers at no extra cost.
Most of the books, manuscripts, and autographs we offer are stored on location and can be shown to you without delay. You are welcome to make a selection online or by phone and then to examine the items on our premises without any obligation. You can also discuss your collecting interests with an employee, who will be happy to show you appropriate items from our stock.
Orders and Shipping
Yes, we guarantee that all items we offer are genuine and in the condition described. We guarantee the authenticity of all autographs sold, without time limit, to the original purchaser. Upon request we will issue a Certificate of Authenticity for your records. Please read the page on our guarantee.
Yes, absolutely. Our email address and phone number are at the foot of this page, see here for further details.
Depending on the measurements and weight of the contents, shipments are packed in a variety of sturdy envelopes, cardboard boxes, or wooden crates, but always professionally and securely. Please read our shipping details.
Orders that reach us on working days before 2 pm are usually dispatched that same day. Austrian clients are served through TNT and should receive their orders on the next working day. International orders are shipped by FedEx and reach most destinations within three working days; overnight services are available for several cities in Europe and the U.S. Please see our shipping details.
Yes, our art insurer covers, at full value, all shipments that leave our house as well as certain shipments addressed to us. If you intend to send us something that needs to be covered by our insurance, please contact us before you ship.
Yes. We are happy to let you know the FedEx tracking number or Austrian Mail shipment number as soon as the item leaves our house. That way you can track your order through the various carriers’ websites from door to door.
Yes, any item may be returned within 14 days if found unsatisfactory. Please consult our returns information for details.
No. We store your personal data, such as name, address, email address and phone number, only to carry out your orders and, if you signed up for it, send you our email newletter, from which you may opt out at any time. We will not share this information with anyone. We will communicate to you all relevant data we have stored and change or delete them at your request.
Buying and Valuations
Not necessarily, but we must be able to inspect the book in person. You are welcome to send us a few images by email first (this should include at least binding and title-page); if we are interested, we will get in touch about insured shipping for a final examination.
No, we are not an auction house. We buy and sell on our own account at market prices. As the seller, you will be paid immediately and unconditionally, without any commissions deducted; for the buyer there are no premiums added to the price.
As a rule, we buy for our own stock, at market prices, which has the advantage of your sale being effected unconditionally and directly. In special cases individual agreements can be negotiated. Please contact us for details.
Comparable recent auction results provide some guidance. An informed appraisal will also require a good knowledge of the current market situation: occasionally, such a valuation will be considerably higher than past auction results or even current estimates provided by auction houses. Quite generally, the rarity of a book and its historical importance are factors, as is condition: any mildew or missing pages/engravings severely diminish a book’s value; a book in an unsophisticated contemporary binding can be significantly more valuable than the same work in seemingly splendid modern covers. Provenance can improve a book’s value; please never erase any ownerships or stamps. The value of autographs is also determined by the historical importance of the writer and the recipient, the length and the content, as well as by condition.
Every investment bears an element of risk: this also applies to old books and manuscripts. Even if this area of the art market is less subject to fluctuations than others, we do not advise customers to buy books or autographs for the exclusive purpose of investment. Well-rounded private collections are the products of their collectors’ passion and expertise (in time, the one tends to grow with the other). After many years, with any luck, such a collection will not only have preserved its value, but even have appreciated substantially.
Inlibris Gilhofer Nfg.
The Gilhofer bookshop was founded by Hermann Gilhofer in 1883. In 1903 he left the company that would continue to bear his name. In 2004/05 the company was taken over by Antiquariat Inlibris, a rare bookseller founded in 1993, and now does business as Inlibris Gilhofer Nachfolger (Inlibris, Gilhofer’s successor). Read an extensive company history here.
In roughly equal shares: private collectors, institutions such as libraries, museums, and archives, and the fellow trade.
Largely from dispersed private and institutional collections, supplemented by specific, individual acquisitions. We actively participate in the market, attending all important fairs and carefully observing the relevant auctions, and thus are able to seize opportunities as they present themselves. We travel a lot and cultivate contacts internationally, which has helped us source many surprising and outstanding items.
Since our founding in 1883 our company has sold hundreds of thousands of books and manuscripts in Austria alone. A few of them keep finding their way back to us. Offers from private collections are always appreciated.
All our staff have read a lot and continue to do so, even if not always the ever-changing books they sell. A large part of our time is spent on research among hard-to-find specialist literature and bibliographies, both in our well-stocked own reference section and in academic libraries.
There are no vacancies at the moment. Speculative applications are welcome, even if we cannot answer them all.
The terminology of rare book and manuscript catalogues includes a wealth of long-established abbreviations that saved the cataloguer time and paper. A list of the most frequent ones is provided here.
At the end of our book descriptions we cite bibliographies or other literature that identify or otherwise discuss the edition in question. A list of only the most important of these standard works and their common short-title representations is provided here. Please inquire by email for any reference not found there.
In 1930 Gilhofer was involved in the sale of the first book ever printed with moveable type, Gutenberg’s 42-line Bible from 1454. Today, we still stock quite a number of incunabula, usually including some from the 1460s and 1470s. The book-bound manuscripts we offer reach back far into the Middle Ages.
Several books we have sold cost a million Euros as more, including an inscribed first edition of Karl Marx’s Kapital. A few of our currently offered books fall in the same price range.
Usually you can meet us in our Vienna office during normal office hours. We also regularly travel internationally and often will be able to visit you at your home. Another good opportunity are the important antiquarian book fairs where we exhibit regularly. We are happy to take along specific books from our shelves for you to examine, and you are welcome to bring along your own books to show and offer them to us. Consult our current fair calendar here. We are always glad to meet new (as well as long-serving) customers in person! Please contact us first for an appointment.