Library Services


The Anthony Davis Book Collecting Prize

UCL Special Collections is offering a prize to any student studying for a degree at a University in London for a coherent collection of printed and/or manuscript materials.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, we have decided to extend the closing date for the Prize to the 25th of May 2020 .

For further information on UCL’s response to COVID-19, please visit our webpage and the Library response webpage.

About the Prize

The winner will receive £600, an allowance of £300 to purchase a book for UCL Special Collections in collaboration with library staff, and the opportunity to give a talk on his or her collection as part of the UCL Special Collections events programme. There will also be the opportunity for the winner to display or exhibit part of their collection within UCL to inspire other collectors and encourage future applicants for this prize.

The prize is generously funded by Mr Anthony Davis, a graduate of London University.

Entries will open on the 16th of January and will close on the 27th of April 2020.

Its purpose

The prize is intended to encourage the collecting of books, printed and manuscript materials by students by recognising a collection formed by a London student at an early stage in their collecting career. All current undergraduates and postgraduates of London-based Universities, both part-time and full-time, are eligible to enter for the prize.

Building your collection

The collection must consist of no fewer than 8 printed and/or manuscript items reflecting a common theme, which the collector has deliberately assembled as the start of a collection and intends to grow.

We stress that the intention is to encourage collecting and we expect that applicants’ collections will be embryonic, so their size, age and value are irrelevant. What is much more important is the enthusiasm and commitment of the collector, the interest of the theme and the vision of how the collection will be developed.

What is a collection?

One question often asked is, what is a collection? There is no good definition – it is sometimes said that a collection is assembled for its own sake, consisting of a number of items related in some way, by someone who is interested in them as objects, rather than being purely used as tools for research, for example.

To guide you

The prize follows the tradition of similar prizes awarded at universities in the United Kingdom and United States. You may find it helpful to look at the following links to get an idea of the kind of collections which are likely to interest the judges:

Further information

If you require any more information please contact the Head of Rare Books at spec.coll@ucl.ac.uk