The Colin Franklin Prize for Book Collecting

We note with sadness the passing of Colin Franklin for whom this prize is named. Colin Franklin (1923-2020) was a distinguished author, book collector and bookseller who over many decades encouraged numerous young book collectors at the University.

2020-21 contest: deadline for entries 19 March 2021


Entry form 

The Centre for the Study of the Book offers a prize to an under-graduate or post-graduate student of the University of Oxford for a collection of books or other printed materials. The prize will be of two parts: a payment of £600 to the winner, and an allowance of £300 for a book to be purchased for the Bodleian Library’s collections, selected by the winner in co-operation with the Bodleian’s Curator of Rare Books. The prize is funded from a donation by Anthony Davis.

The prize follows the tradition of similar prizes awarded at Cambridge and London and at universities in the United States and Canada. Collections which have won these prizes include a collection of books representing changes in the popular canon and a collection of Oscar Wilde books used for teaching in an inner city school; Japanese popular books; books on Wales or Kurdistan; books on ornithology and canvassing books, among many examples. Further information on some of the other prizes – and the kind of collections that have won them - can be found at the following links: The Rose Book Collecting Prize, Cambridge University Library, the Anthony Davis Book Collecting Prize, London University, The Adrian Van Sinderen Book Collecting Prize, Yale University Philip Hofer Prize for Collecting Books or Art, Houghton Library, Harvard The Elmer Adler Undergraduate Book Collecting Prize, Princeton University.

The prize is intended to encourage book collecting by under-graduates and graduate students of the University by recognising a collection formed by a student at the university. Judges will take into consideration the interest, originality, thoughtfulness, promise and creativity of the collection and persistence of the collector. Age, size and monetary value of the collection will not be relevant criteria. It is possible and even encouraged to enter the prize more than once if you are still at the university and still qualify.

There is no minimum size of the collection but as a guideline it should normally consist of not less than 10 items, comprising printed books or manuscripts and/or printed ephemera and/or other printed materials with a common theme. For example, a thoughtful and interesting collection of pamphlets or paperbacks might qualify. So might books on a particular historical, geographical, linguistic or literary theme, or with common bibliographic or literary qualities, interesting printing or unusual bindings.
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