“I’ve got my farmer, I’ve got my lavender and I’ve got my books,” said a beaming Rosalind Reichner, surrounded by a collection of 15,000 books waiting to be unpacked. The farmer is her husband, Mike Reichner, the lavender is Purple Haze and the books are her third passion — Hart’s Fine Books, opening in late October or early November at 161 W. Washington St.
Widowed in 2004, Rosalind decided to name the vintage bookstore after her late husband, William S. Hart Jr., a consummate collector of rare books until his death at age 81. Mike thought it fitting as well and the two are in the process of putting together a store for bibliophiles that will have a “cozy, inviting, Old World eclectic” feel in downtown Sequim.
Hart’s collection includes, Rosalind said, “every genre from the last hundred years — history, the Civil War, the film industry, art books, a lot of early 20th-century fiction. There are quite a few signed first editions plus readers copies that are affordable for most everyone.”
The oldest books date from the late 1700s with the majority from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Rosalind and Hart lived in a Bainbridge Island home brimming with antiques and some of the furniture, including an intricately carver oak buffet, chairs and tables, will be used as book displays and be for sale, too.
Mike and Rosalind met and married about seven years ago and as she fell in love with him, she also fell in love with Sequim.
Sharing the love
The concept of a vintage fine book store sparked because, “I love Sequim and I already had the inventory. I love books and sharing out-of-print books,” Rosalind said. “It’s my second lifelong wish after having a lavender farm and I’m really happy about that.”
With Hart as her tutor on rare books for many years, and by her own initiative, Rosalind is self-taught on all the facets that make a book rare and expensive.
“There’s supply and demand, scarcity, if it’s a first edition, the dust jacket’s in mint condition and it’s inscribed by the author,” she said. “Age sometime factors in because there are so few left — but sometimes they do surface at garage and estate sales and book shows. Sometimes you come across something spectacular! I’ve always been interested in scarce, rare and out-of-print books and I think Mike is just as excited as I am about opening the store.”
Rosalind said she’d welcome using her expertise to search for a particular book a customer might want and plans to have a website up and running in the near future. She noted that people who want to estimate the value of books they have may go to the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America website at www.abaa.org.
“Everybody I’ve talked to seems very excited and we’re very positive about it,” Rosalind said, adding that this quote from Cicero, a Roman author, orator and politician, sums up her affinity for rare books and rare book aficionados: “A room without a book is like a body without a soul.”