Quirky treasures left in books donated to Red Cross for Hamilton book fair, organisers say
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.
This year, a team of volunteers spent four days unpacking 2400 banana boxes crammed with books - around 50,000 of them.
Book fair organiser Philippa Robertson, who's notched up 19 of the event's 21 years - said volunteers find some fascinating items.
"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.
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.
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.