Currently I have 135 in my cataloged collection (maybe more waiting in the wings of uncataloged boxes). I have found them in almost every category, so what follows are some examples showing their variety and clues for finding them.
Bookstores, of course, are good sources because they often use books on their namesake bookmarks. From De Heksenkelder Internationale Feministiese Boekhandel, there are two--one on the side for the bookstore, a miniature image of the bookmark itself, and the other featuring a different book alongside a glass of wine, for De Heksenketel Café. Antiquariaat Tweedehandsboekhandel also has a bookmark on each side, in this case of the same image of a medieval scholar gazing at his open book with a subtle bookmark. Scenes of people reading are good candidates for finding companion bookmarks.
Sometimes a cozy scene, even without a reader, can reveal a bookmark. Here are two similar scenes of a fireplace, a comfy chair, a companion to keep company (cat and dog), and groups of books, one open, the other closed with visible bookmarks. These “cosy nook” themes were popular in the 1920s-1940s.
So too were those with greetings about remembrance and friendship like this one with a blue bookmark sporting a medallion at the end. Themes of friendship based on a shared appreciation of books and reading often have books with bookmarks, similar to this one with an unusual teal marble-like background.
Besides bookstores, businesses seem less likely to use images of books, favoring instead their own products or pretty ladies. An unexpected example is from Gold Medal Flour with bookshelf, candles, open book and red bookmark. Perhaps this is a category for a challenge to find more examples.
There are plenty of other bookmark producers that regularly feature books, however. Religious publishers often depict the Bible and indeed bookmarks are popular gifts and giveaways for bible readers. This example features another cozy nook for bible study along with suggestions on passages by topic. An unexpected, rather mysterious bookmark was revealed in this metal bookmark with holographic images of praying hands, reversing to a book with bookmark.
Any number of organizations might use books, but for an especially nice example, we can look to The Bookmark Society. They produce a custom bookmark each year for members; this one for their 25th anniversary features a prominent bookmark on an illustrated book with a lovely background.
Of course, libraries use illustrations of books and they often produce instructional bookmarks to encourage their use, as in this examples from the National Library of Australia which has a subtle and humorous message. The University of California, San Diego also uses humor as well as a quiz to promote the benefits of using a bookmark, printed as noted on acid-free paper, another bonus. This charming green leather gift bookmark simply says “Don’t take me out” and its recipient seemed to heed that advice as indicated by the darkened and tattered ends with the middle in pristine condition from remaining in the book.
The bonanza bookmarks on bookmarks in my collection were created by Domenec Martinez and Col.leccio Costa in 2008 documenting the history of bookmarks. Almost every one of the series of twelve has an illustration of a bookmark from different time periods. The examples here feature rotating Medieval bookmarks (No.2) and a knob type from the 16th century (No. 8). The knob is even embossed to give it a dimensional effect. An extra bonus is that No. 8 is also an example of bookmarks in art. [Note: can anyone translate the text to English?]
I will end with two bookmarks produced by Asim Maner advertising his now defunct company, Mirage Bookmark’s lines of bookmarks. The metal bookmarks were custom produced and featured precision designs, sometimes with cut outs as in this example. The other line featured beautiful art bookmarks. When Asim heard about my specialty, he was delighted and sent me a batch of his own bookmarks on bookmarks. He also encouraged me to write about them, so after many months and good intentions, I have fulfilled my promise, and I hope you enjoy this short preview. These examples and a few others are in a special gallery. Please send any from your own collection to the IFOB editor to add.