We all know the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover”. However, some antique books have such beautiful covers, it’s worth collecting them for that reason alone.

Here is a gallery of the most beautiful antique books which would look great in your home library.

Jules Verne, Voyages Extraordinaires

Written by the French writer Jules Verne and published between 1863 and 1905, Voyages Extraordinaires is a sequence of fifty-four novels aimed at outlining the geographical, geological, physical, and astronomical knowledge gathered by modern science and to recount the history of the universe in an entertaining and picturesque way. Some of the novels featured in this series are Journey to the Center of the Earth, Twenty-Thousand Leagues under the Seas, and The Archipelago on Fire.

Thomas Nelson Page, On Newfound River

On Newfound River was published in 1891 in New York by Charles Scribner’s Sons. Its author, Thomas Nelson Page was born in Hanover County, Virginia, and became a lawyer after the civil war because his family became impoverished during the reconstruction years. Shortly after being admitted to the Virginia Bar Association, he began writing and kept up the practice until his death in 1922.

On Newfound River-Thomas Nelson Page

Henry Van Dykes, The Golden Key: Stories of Deliverance

The Golden Key: Stories of Deliverance presents readers with twelve tales about life, and the darkness that often leads to liberty. The golden key is a symbol for readers to interpret as they will. Henry Van Dyke, author of The Golden Key, was an American author, educator, and clergyman whose family emigrated from Holland to North America in 1652. He was a friend of President Woodrow Wilson and Helen Keller and his most famous works include “The Other Wise Man” (1896) and “The Christmas Tree” (1897).

The Golden Key-Henry Van Dyke

Sir Walter Scott, The Lady of the Lake

Published in 1810, The Lady of the Lake is a narrative poem by Sir Walter Scott that is the set in the Trossachs region of Scotland and centered around three main plots: the first of which three men are in contest to win the love of a woman, the second of which about the reconciliation between King James V of Scotland and James Douglas, and the last about the war between the lowland clans and Highland clans of Scotland. This poem was very influential in the 19th century as it inspired the Highland Revival.

Alfred W. Rees, Creatures of the Night

Creatures of the Night discusses studies of animal life through short stories, some of which include “The Otter”; ”The Water Vole”; and “The Fox”. Alfred W. Rees is a British author, famous for other works such as The Heron of Castle Creek and Other Sketches of Bird Life (1920) and Ianto the Fisherman and Other Sketches of Country Life (1904).

Creatures of the Night-Alfred W Rees

Edgar Allen Poe, Poe’s Poems 

Published sometime in the 1890s by the Henneberry Company in Chicago and New York, Poe’s Poems is a posthumous collection of many of Edgar Allen Poe’s poems including “The Raven”, “Annabel Lee” and “Dreamland”. Poe was an American writer, editor, and literary critic, and is considered to be the inventor of detective fiction, and is considered the central figure of Romanticism in American Literature in the United States. 

Poe's Poems-Edgar Allen Poe

Oliver Goldsmith, The Vicar of Wakefield

Published in 1855 by John van Voorst, The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith features a binding designed by Henry Shaw, and it may have been the only binding ever designed by him. Written in 1762, The Vicar of Wakefield was one of the most popular 18th-century novels among Victorians and is about a generous vicar who lives contentedly with his family until his life is interrupted by bankruptcy and his daughter’s abduction.

Vicar of Wakefield- Oliver Goldsmith

W.H. Bartlett, The Nile Boat

Complete with elaborate Egyptian vignettes in gilt on covers and spine, The Nile Boat details Bartlett’s travel along the Nile River in Egypt, in which he sees all the great monuments and cities. Best known as an engraver of steel, W.H. Barlett was also an artist. All illustrations within the book are known to have been drawn on the spot by Bartlett, many of them with the Camera Lucida, an optical device used to superimpose the subject being viewed by the artist upon the surface on which the artist is drawing.

The Nile Boat- WH Bartlett

Robert Aris Willmott, The Poets of the Nineteenth Century

Published in 1857, The Poets of the Nineteenth Century is a collection of prominent poetry of the time, bound in leather with gilt lettering and decoration. It features works from Radcliffe, H. More, Rogers, Byron, Shelley, and Wordsworth, among many others. As a clergyman, Robert Aris Willmott wrote several seminal works including Lives of Sacred Poets, Pictures of Christian Life, and English Sacred Poetry. He also contributed to the Church of England Quarterly Review, Fraser’s Magazine, London Magazine, and Asiatic Journal

Poets of the Nineteenth Century

Mary C. Dickerson, Moths and Butterflies

Moths and Butterflies was first printed in 1901 and includes illustrated photographs of specimens that Dickerson took herself. It was well received by critics, with The American Naturalist says it “is a really excellent book, both in conception and in execution.” Mary C. Dickerson was born in Hastings, Michigan in 1866 and earned a degree in science from the University of Chicago which she used at the Rhode Island Normal School where she was head of zoology and botany.

Moths and Butterflies-Mary C Dickerson

Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Published in 1865, this edition of Alice in Wonderland from the 19th century features a Sangorski and Sutcliffe binding complete with intricate gilt floral designs and a red inlaid morocco in the center. Though aimed at delighting children with its fantasy themes, Alice in Wonderland has become an all-time classic and is loved by readers of all ages. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, also known by his pen name as Lewis Carroll, is best known for this works Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, but he was also an illustrator, photographer, and deacon,  and wrote several works including but not limited to The Hunting of the Snark, What the Tortoise Said to Achilles, and Sylvie and Bruno

Alice in Wonderland-Lewis Carroll

W.B. Yeats, The Secret Rose

The Secret Rose is a compilation of love poems written by W.B. Yeats, first published in 1893. It offers a glimpse of Yeats early beginnings and displays the romantic idealism of youth while also providing a sardonic treatment of sexuality. W.B. Yeats is considered a pillar of both British and Irish literature and helped to found the Abbey Theater as well as the Irish Literary Revival. He also won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1923. 

Secret Rose-WB Yeats

Have a favorite antique book which you don’t see on our list? Comment below!