Sacramento home of the day
Sacramento home of the day

library card catalogs for sale on Craigslist & elsewhere, part 3

I'm not sure if it's the amount of knickknacks we tend to accrue these days or just an innate interest in the grid, but whatever the reason is, folks really seem to like old wooden library card catalogs. I've seen them repurposed for storing everything from digital media to art objects to painting supplies and even small books. One collector of postcards used a large unit to house his more than 10,000 historic postcards, all organized by topic and cross-referenced by year of printing! I'm sure Baudrillard would find something amusingly meta in using a device that once held references to other objects to hold the objects themselves.

In 2007, I combed Craigslist and a few other vendors for these items of furniture and I did the same earlier this year; consider this part 3 in an ongoing series.

  • you can pay a premium for provenance, if you wish; this card catalog supposedly comes from Yale University, and costs about four times what a similar card catalog from any university might cost (with the exception of the architecturally significant one listed next): $1300 / New Haven CT
  • enormous, almost sculptural / architectural 312-drawer double-sided catalog, circa 1910, from UC Berkeley; includes brass fittings and multiple pull-out shelves & corner pillars designed to match those at the Doe library, "works well as a room divider" - for a big enoug room, no doubt, and makes the Yale model above look like a bargain: $5000 / Berkeley CA
  • three oak catalogs, in a 1950s design: $offers / Middlebury CT
  • two somewhat similar 15-drawer cabinets: $65 ea / Omaha NB
  • vintage Globe Mfg cabinet, 24 extra-large drawers: $600 / Raleigh NC
  • possibly "library style" chest: $190 / Charlotte NC
  • attractive & enormous 84-drawer catalog with pull-out tables/drawer-rests: $155 / Crozet VA
  • overpriced but big well-used large oak ex-school card catalog: $499 / Austin TX
  • interesting vertical file (or are they stacked?) with extra legs, tops & case: $350 / Schertz TX
  • single 15-drawer catalog section with platic handles, some broken: $25 / St. Louis MO
  • pretty and well-maintained maple catalog with pull-out tables & shiny brass fittings circa 1972: $650 / Springfield MO
  • vertical 4-(large) drawer catalog: $125 / Wichita KS
  • 30-drawer catalog with pull-out table: $200 / Chicago IL
  • mid-century / modern design 24-drawer cabinet: $100 / Colorado Springs CO
  • 12-drawer catalog with brass fittings: $60 / Portland OR
  • big 60-drawer oak catalog with brass fittings: $400 / Stockton CA