10 Weird and Wonderful Things Found Inside Old Books.

By January 2, 2016Reading Habits

If you’re like me and you just cannot get home before sampling your latest literary purchase, you will have undoubtedly used anything to hand as a bookmark.

I’ve used receipts, bus tickets, tissues (clean of course), salt or sugar sachets and labels from new clothes among other less desirable and definitely less shareable items as an impromptu page marker and I am sure that there are people who are now in possession of one of my old books who are wondering why on earth there is a knicker label on page 17.

Fortunately it appears I’m not the only one.

Seven razor blades found in Stenciling with Style by Jim Boleach.


Embedded BBs or buckshot pellets found in “Herbert Hoover: A Reminiscent Biography” by Will Irwin.


A note intended to be uplifting but actually really rather unnerving.

Dear stranger,

You’re stunning, you are. You are holding my favorite Vonnegut book and you are positively stunning. I need you to promise me that you will never let life get you down, because someone as fantastic as you should never be down. I know it’s hard but I need you to try, I know you can do it just as I know there is no insignificant human. And you, you are most certainly not insignificant. For one thing, you’re in a public library. For another you’re tackling Vonnegut. Never forget how truly beautiful you are.
DFTBA (Don’t Forget To Be Awesome)



Notes warning of what is to come.

This book was hilarious but if you start noticing the misspelled words, it will drive you NUTS!


A rather sweet pledge, dated December 3, 1899:

“We the undersigned solemnly promise God being our helper to abstain from the use of intoxicating liquors as a beverage.

John P. Bugden

Frank E. Bugden

Nellie L. Bugden

M. Clara Bugden”

I wonder if they kept to it?


A proposition!

Whats ya name? C I would ask out loud but you suppose to be quiet in da library….
My name is Cash or Tony.
Do you got a number so I can call you late and we can get to know each other?


Two tickets to the 1974 Afton, NY fair.

Found in “The Far Side Observer” by Gary Larson.


A key found in “The Diplomacy of the American Revolution” by Samuel Flagg Bemis


Photocopied sign: “GO AHEAD – PARK HERE AGAIN A**HOLE.” Found in Bruce Catton’s America edited by Oliver Jensen.


A marriage certificate, dated October 18, 1899.

Found in “The Holy Bible” published by Samuel T. Armstrong, no date, circa 1850.


Other weird and wonderful finds (without any photographic evidence unfortunately) include:

Monopoly Money
Real Money
A Hairnet
A medical prescription dated 1785.
A hotel cocktail napkin with a name and a room number on it. 
A golf scorecard signed by Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale.
Two printed lists of upcoming surgeries at a hospital.
World War II US ration book (with stamps remaining)
A holographic image of a lady who sheds her clothing.
A condom (unused), a cockroach (dead), and a strip of bacon.

What’s the most unusual thing you’ve found in an old book? Mine is a newspaper clipping showing a photograph of a man and a lock of hair.

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  • Amy says:

    I’ve collected foreign paper money on my travels and I use them as book marks. They are durable, colorful and they stir up good memories.

  • Katie says:

    In the early 2000s when the mini Polaroids that had sticker backs were popular, I found one on the dedication page of an overweight man’s hairy chest. I was working in a middle school.

  • ahappybutterfly says:

    a laminated obituary

  • Christine Call says:

    Wet gym socks. They were stuffed in a large print book which was then put back on the shelf for library staff to find.

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