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Rare, out-of-print Okanagan history books on sale next month

David Ellis will be selling roughly 2,000 out-of-print Okanagan history books at the Westbank Museum next month.
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April 28, 2016 - 8:30 AM

WEST KELOWNA - Thousands of rare books from the world’s largest collection of out-of-print B.C. history books will be on display at the Westbank Museum next month – and they will all be for sale.

The books belong to Vancouver book dealer David Ellis who, along with his father, has been compiling the collection for more than four decades.

“Name a town in B.C. and I’ve got a history book on it,” he says. “It’s the largest out-of-print collection of B.C. books in the world. By far.”

For three days in May, roughly 2,000 books about Okanagan history will be for sale at the Westbank Museum. Museum board vice president Poppy Angus says the sale is so popular they devote the entire front entrance to the display.

“Oh my goodness, last year he had four very long tables and they were chock o’ block full. And he still had boxes in his vehicle,” she says. “It brings a lot of people into the museum.”

Topics include local languages, recent history, archeology, basketry, geology, mining, fisheries, ranching, ethnobotany, pipelines and even First Nations children’s books.

Ellis says roughly 50 per cent of the books he will bring to West Kelowna will be about local First Nations.

“The majority of the local histories aren’t available anymore,” he says. “My job is to collect them, hoard them... and once in a while I sell them to the nice people in the Okanagan.”

Prices will range from under $20 to more than $100.

“The Valley of Youth is one of the rarest ones,” he says. “It can be $100 if it’s in good condition. Most titles tend to be around $60.”

The Westbank Museum display will be open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. May 6 to 8.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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