Franklin Report Report Card for Imperial Fine Books  in New York City
★ Franklin Report Card
Imperial Fine Books
790 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10065
(212) 861-6620
Main Contact: Bibi Mohamed
Rare Books Appraisal
Book Repair & Binding

Services & Specialties
Esteemed dealer of rare, leather-bound books; book binding and binding repairs

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FR Review:
Bibliophiles rejoice over Imperial Fine Books for its commitment to preserving a regal but dwindling pastime: the collecting (and sometimes even reading!) of leather-bound books. Curator and owner Bibi Mohamed’s store, nestled between the elite retailers of Madison avenue, is an oak encased, velvet and leather upholstered, oriental rug adorned haven where Shakespeare, Plato, and Napoleon reside, waiting for their next “guardian.” Longtime collectors looking to complete their shelves, book romantics in search of a first edition, interior designers hoping to add some literary stature to a room, and even current authors ready to bind their own work can all expect a warm welcome – and a hot cup of tea – when entering Mohamed’s literary sanctuary.

A fast typer and master of short-hand at the ripe age of 17, Mohamed was recommended by her high school dean to work as a secretary at the legendary J.N. Bartfield art gallery, where she stayed for thirteen years. There she developed an appreciation for things antiquated and rare, prompting her to start Imperial Fine Books in 1989, at first out of her parents’ Bronx basement. Her first sale was to the legendary Lars Bolander, a deal following a chance encounter on a late night train to a trade show. From there she was introduced to big time collectors (including the Bronfman family, Saudi Arabian royalty, and Hollywood A-listers) and has run in this close and coveted circle ever since. With the help of her sister Selina, who clients say balances Mohamed perfectly (“she’s a riot!”), and three others, Mohamed continues to be the one-stop shop for the collecting world’s discerning demands.

This intellectual subculture is by nature one for those with finer taste – and a bank account to match. Collectors go to Imperial when they want the best – complete sets, earliest edition, mint condition, translated into English, original notes and letters intact, – and are ready to pay for it. Sets and - even individual books - can cost up to $45,000, but we’re talking first edition, water-colored copies with hand-written correspondence between US presidents tucked in the back jackets. What customers love even more than Mohamed’s inventory, though, is her eagerness to help complete any collection; there are certainly copies that will only set devoted readers back a couple hundred, and Mohamed is always open to negotiating a price that will give the book a loving home.

Representative Client Comments:
"Imperial is my home away from home-library." "The inventory and quality is unmatched." "When one of my clients wants the best of the best, regardless of price, I know Bibi has it. And I NEVER have to worry about the condition, it's consistently perfect." "I think its admirable that Bibi runs a business selling such precious, authentic goods. It's old fashioned, it's appreciated, and it shows integrity." "Bibi is a delight and the store is nothing short of charming." "Her kindness is just as rare as her collection, so she's really the one and only source." "Bibi has a vast knowledge of literature and her collection is very curated. This is so crucial, especially given the demise of books." "Bibi is a doll. She has so much energy and is always willing to work with you on prices, since it is a large investment. I give her my highest regard." "There's never any pressure to buy; they don't just want to fill the gaps on your shelves. All they care about is your happiness, and that's why all of their customers are repeat customers."

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