The museum houses an enormous collection of bookplates or ex-libris, among others several extraordinary leaves, such as a woodcut with the coat of arms of the monk Hilprandus Brandenburg (the “incunabula of bookplates”); bookplates of the 18th century for Lavater, Nicolai, and the Bibliotheca Palatina; an etching by Piranesi; outstanding leaves of Art Nouveau and Expressionism. Many of the owners of these bookplates were crowned heads or belonged to ancient noble families, artists or political personalities. Various libraries and other institutions, such as banks, insurance companies, publishing houses and book trade, specialized libraries of companies, Freemasonry, college fraternities, all kinds of associations, cloisters and churches, local and national institutions, medical facilities, and many more have their bookplates exhibited in the museum.
Worth mentioning are as well the Erich Aber Collection (c. 6,000, mainly Scandinavian, ex-libris), the Bernhard Kuhlmann collection (c. 11,000 ex-libris of the 20th century), and the Gerd Meyer Legacy which is with c. 1,500 bookplates depicting chess motifs the world’s most comprehensive ex-libris collection of its kind. The museum has about 100,000 bookplates that represent more than 7,000 artists and cover a period of more than 500 years. There is a printed graphics’ collection of many thousands that are currently being catalogued by compute and a replica of Gutenberg’s workshop. Type founding, typesetting and printing are demonstrated visually. The Library is a specialist library covering all aspects of printing, book history, and history of writing. It has about 80,000 volumes and periodicals.
Address: Liebfrauenplatz 5