Top 5 Favourite Oxfam Finds

As you may be aware, in the last few months I have started volunteering at Oxfam Books and Music. So far it’s been great. I get to sort through, price and sell books. I even quite like that musty, old book smell. But most exciting of all; I get first pick of the books! Another thing that I love about used books is finding unexpected items inside. I can completely understand these bookworms that accidentally leave postcards, train tickets and scraps of paper between the pages of their books because I do exactly the same thing. I usually grab the nearest thing to mark my place and often these can become nice memories when I find them months or years later hidden in an old read. I’ve found some pretty weird and wonderful things that people have used for bookmarks. Here are a few of my favourite!

This is such  a sweet gesture from a grandchild to their grandad. This little card makes me wonder what happened to that grandad. Is he still alive? He must have loved opening up his book to find the small card from his grandchild.

Although I use random bits of paper, tickets, photos and god knows what else to keep my place in a book, I do sometimes use actual bookmarks. And here’s one that I found in a crumbling, old book a couple of weeks ago. It’s a particularly bookish bookmark, sharing the love and joy of reading.

I imagine whoever kept this train ticket in their book to be very like me. I have done the exact same journey between St. Pancras and Nottingham on many occasions and often used the ticket as a bookmark!

This postcard was my very first Oxfam find and I still really like it! I discovered it in a book about Art History, a subject I am interested in. I love the colours and often use this as a bookmark now myself. In fact, I’m currently using it in The Story of Art –  I thought it quite appropriate! I’m sure whoever lost this postcard is not happy about it!

This is my very, very favourite find. A few weeks ago I came across a bag full of old Enid Blyton books and was immediately taken back to when I was younger and spent days absorbed in the very same books. The books were lovingly covered in protected paper and someone was obviously lending them out to friends. They made a very special returns record which has survived on the first page for four decades. It doesn’t look like The Mountain of Adventure was very popular…

I can’t wait to see what else I find in the donations pile in the future! What odd and interesting things have you discovered in second hand books?

15 thoughts on “Top 5 Favourite Oxfam Finds

  1. Sounds a like a great place to volunteer. I like the musty smell of books too, and how interesting to see what’s been left behind of the pages of a book. A book can be so touching that it can leave its impression on a reader, but with your Oxfam finds it’s the other way around. 🙂


  2. I have a lovely bookmark that I found in a copy of The Decameron when I bought it from a York secondhand bookshop. Someone made it by gluing a Japanese train ticket to a Tokyo bookstore’s bookmark. I’ve never been to Japan but it always makes me think ‘one day’… 🙂


  3. So cute! A window into unknown people’s lives! I have a draft post called “things I’ve found in books” and although I don’t have the luxury of working in an Oxfam bookshop (although I regularly shop at my local one), I do often find random things in my own books. The funniest was an old shopping list. All it had on it was gin, yoghurt and washing powder! What does that say about me?!!


  4. What aa winsome and engaging account of a book enthusiast’s joy in navigating and discovering books. The way this is tied up with the curious finds found within the pages ostensibly used as bookmarkers make the entry very touching because we all use objects such as those to mark points attained in reading the book. I enjoyed it so much.


    • Thank you very much for the comment! I’m glad you enjoyed it. I’ve already discovered more items left between pages from donations so I’ll probably have to do another post in a few months time!


  5. What a lovely post! I bought a Sartre novel years ago in a second-hand bookshop in a small French town, and there was a love letter in it! Just a romatic message about where and when to meet, but I often wondered about that…


    • That must surely be one of the best things to find in a book! You have to wonder how that relationship went. Where are they now? Are they still together? What a brilliant bookmark!


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