There is no doubt that whenever Pawn Stars book expert Rebecca Romney has appeared on the popular History Channel show, she has brought her special sort of expertise that book geeks like Rick Harrison can greatly appreciate. Her brand new book Printer’s Error is about the stories behind those little mistakes and secrets that can inadvertently make a book valuable and the hunt for rare books intoxicating and addictive.
— Rebecca Romney (@rebeccaromney) March 14, 2017
While Rebecca may be the only person to have ever rendered the awestruck Chumlee speechless, Rick Harrison has always made it clear that the reputation of The World Famous Gold and Silver Pawn Shop is all in the hands of his valued experts that he implicitly trusts. Romney is definitely one of those valued experts.
In her new non-fiction book, Printer’s Error, she, along with her co-writer, J.P. Romney, delve into the fascinating stories and “colorful characters” of those who shaped the printed word.
Speaking to AM NewYork, the Pawn Stars expert was asked about her favorite book error, hoping that it is a bit irreverent, as the full title Printer’s Error: Irreverent Stories From Book History teases.
— amNewYork (@amNewYork) March 14, 2017
While it appeared difficult for the expert to pick just one error because some errors may just be insider’s jokes, Rebecca found an error that may or may not have been a mistake by a printer: The Wicked Bible.
My inaugural takeover post at the @harpercollinsus Instagram page – look, it's me, @rebecca.romney, with my book #PrintersError, in the @honeyandwaxbks offices where I work in #Brooklyn. See those shelves behind me? More of that to come. #bookporn #books #bookstagram #rarebooks #antiquarian #collecting #firsteditions www.rebeccaromney.com
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So, why is this particular Bible called “wicked”? There was a little omission of a three-letter word in a one of the Ten Commandments that makes an enormous difference to anyone reading and following the words of God.
“The one that I think is the easiest to explain that is endlessly funny is the Wicked Bible. The Wicked Bible [says] ‘Thou shalt commit adultery’ instead of ‘Thou shalt not.’ That’s one of my favorites. That one it’s unclear whether or not it was on purpose, like some sort of sabotage by a fellow printer.”
In addition to this humorous revelation, this book includes Ben Franklin’s story of love and revenge, William Blake’s conversations with his dead brother that led to his new engraving techniques and why the Gutenberg Bible was never meant to go to the new land.
This is a 1902 #finepress edition of Francis Bacon's essay on Gardens on the shelves @honeyandwaxbks. The Eragny Press followed the path of William Morris and Emery Walker, who brought the Private Press movement to life – a revolution of beauty that deeply influenced 20th c. book design. As featured in my book #PrintersError, in the chapter on the Doves Press typeface. #dovespress #typography #design #williammorris #books #bookstagram #rarebooks #antiquarian #collecting www.rebeccaromney.com Author of #PrintersError @rebecca.romney
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In Printer’s Error, the duo chronicles when publishers discovered how to attract more sales by using such words as “prostitute.” How they actually discovered this without the modern-day help of a Google should make for quite a clever and entertaining story.
All of these fascinating stories and facts that Rebecca has been collecting over the years are sure to make bookworms and Pawn Stars fans entertained. In fact, Pawn Stars patriarch Rick Harrison even wrote a glowing recommendation for the book. Any fan of the show could imagine him giggling over stories like that of The Wicked Bible.
“Who knew the printed book could be so fun? J.P. and Rebecca have written a real page turner. Printer’s Error is truly a rare treasure.”
Now having left Vegas for the east coast, Rebecca continues to peruse shelves, cataloging and searching for rare books. It is in her DNA. She also blogs at Aldine, the blog she named after 15th century Venetian printer Aldus Manutius. In addition, she podcasts at Bibliocast, a delightful podcast that is “fighting book snobbery ten minutes at a time,” focused on enjoying books by appreciating a “turn of a phrase.”
So, how does she “get out of her head” and let loose? Video games and intensive exercise!
“I’ve found I need frequent physical activity, or I tend to get lost in my head rather too often. I do Krav Maga and try to lap swim regularly. I’m also partial to video games, which I know is a rather unpopular stance in our world. You can argue the merits of that last choice with me if you’re inclined, but play Portal first. Then tell me if you still feel that way.”
It is hard to believe that Rebecca’s career in rare books was “pure serendipity.” She told Fine Books Magazine that she started out her career by accident. After teaching English abroad in Japan, Romney was too late to attend fall semester of graduate school. So, instead of studying for her Master’s degree in Japanese Literature, she found herself in Vegas, with family, working at Bauman in an “old school apprenticeship.” She became an expert on Pawn Stars in 2011, after Rick Harrison approached her to be on the show as an expert. Over the years, she has appeared on the show over 60 times. That, folks, is all history.
Are you a Pawn Stars fan and have seen Rebecca Romney and her fascinating stories about rare books? Do you have a favorite book that she appraised on the History Channel show?
[Featured Image by Matt Cardy/Getty Images]