Quirky treasures left in books donated to Red Cross for Hamilton book fair, organisers say

Les Vuletich has been volunteering in the collector section of the Red Cross Hamilton Book Fair for five years.
TOM LEE/STUFF

Les Vuletich has been volunteering in the collector section of the Red Cross Hamilton Book Fair for five years.

Quirky extras can be found nestled between the pages of books donated to the Red Cross book fair. 

Amidst the boxes and bags stuffed with donated books, people also leave letters, newspaper cuttings and diaries. 

Books are donated all year for Hamilton's annual Red Cross book fair. All profits go to Red Cross community and youth programmes.  

Quirky treasures are sometimes found between the pages.
TOM LEE/STUFF

Quirky treasures are sometimes found between the pages.

This year, a team of volunteers spent four days unpacking 2400 banana boxes crammed with books - around 50,000 of them. 

READ MORE: 
* Red Cross book fair reaches 20th year
* Unwanted books wanted for Red Cross book fair
* More books than ever at the Red Cross book fair

Book fair organiser Philippa Robertson, who's notched up 19 of the event's 21 years - said volunteers find some fascinating items.

About 50,000 books were for sale at the book fair, held at Te Rapa racecourse on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
TOM LEE/STUFF

About 50,000 books were for sale at the book fair, held at Te Rapa racecourse on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

"We often get photographs and all sorts of things," Robertson said. "Diaries, photos calenders - none of those we can use. But we [also] get fabulous books. People are very generous." 

On the first day of the annual fair, a mother and daughter found small paintings tucked between the pages of a book, possibly from the 1960s or '70s. 

Often names along with a loving message or poem are scribbled on the inside of the covers. 

Six-year-old Piper Armistead went for a Star Wars 3D book.
TOM LEE/STUFF

Six-year-old Piper Armistead went for a Star Wars 3D book.

Robertson and her sister Jenny Beckett, who also helps organise the fair, once found their dad's name written at the front. Another organiser found her mum's. 

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And sometimes it's the books themselves that are the most interesting - this year, there's a Bible from 1840 with Queen Victoria's crest on the first page. Its pricetag was $50. 

Les Vuletich​, a volunteer specialising in old and collector books, said he often finds personal items tucked between the pages - old photos and letters. 

"I think a lot of people either use them as a book marker or it's a memory thing from a family member. They just sort of put it in there."

Lovely as it all is, most of it winds up in the bin.

"But with the photos, what we do is we have put them aside and try to trace the person."

For next year's fair, organisers are considering setting up a board covered with photos found within the books so the rightful owners might stumble across them while visiting the fair.

"Someone may be looking for it," Vuletich said. 

 

 

 

 

 - Stuff

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