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Sala Gemma

GEMMA/’ʒemɐ/. [from latim] s. f. JEWEL, PRECIOUS STONE

Gemma is the space that Livraria Lello dedicates exclusively to its most precious jewels. Rare Books, Manuscripts, First Editions, Luxury Books and Object Books, valuable works that draw the first traces of a constantly growing collection and catalogue.

A privileged location, for those who seek the Book as an object of art, culture, pleasure and investment, but also an exhibition space, where lovers of literature can delight in the stories of some of the most particular works from around the world.



Collector's Editions

Books are unique objects of knowledge, culture, and art and can also be unique objects of investment. The value of each copy increases in proportion to the particularities that make it special, and the stories that are added to it translate into a monetary value, sometimes unimaginable.

Livraria Lello presents a selection of valuable rare books, luxury books and object books can be purchased na Gemma. We are talking, for example, about a first edition of Memorial do Convento, by José Saramago (on sale for €320), but also of the very rare first editions of Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov (on sale for €5,000), and Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (on sale for €9,500).

Some of these works are also available at Livraria Lello's online store, here.

History of Livraria Lello
Books, catalogues, letters and other unique records that tell stories of a century-old brand. In the iconic neo-gothic building at 144 Rua das Carmelitas, a story is told that begins long before its opening on January 13, 1906 and continues to this day. Among these documents are letters from such outstanding figures in Portuguese Literature as Camilo Castelo Branco and Eça de Queiroz!

Livraria Lello Estate
Livraria Lello has invested in the acquisition of rare and old Books, authentic Treasure Books, which, due to their stories and unique characteristics, contribute to culture and human thought. This collection includes works as particular as a copy of the first edition of Moby-Dick, or; The Whale, by Herman Melville, which belonged to Jim Morrison; an extremely rare copy of the first edition of Madame Bovary, by Gustave Flaubert, in installments, published by the Revue de Paris in 1856; signed copies of the first French and English editions of The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry; a copy of the first edition of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice; a first edition of The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde; and a very rare copy of the first edition of Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone, among many others.



At 100 years old, a Portuguese publishing house of great importance closed. Livraria Lello did not want this to be the last chapter in the history of Coimbra Editora and, therefore, rescued its valuable estate.
Founded on August 7, 1920, by a group of universitary professors, it distinguished itself from an early age as one of the main references in national academic literature. Therefore, there will be no academics, lawyers, judges, consultants or legislators to whom the name of Coimbra Editora is not familiar.

Among the copies purchased by Livraria Lello are works by important Portuguese writers, such as Miguel Torga – author several times considered by the Swedish Academy for the Nobel Prize in Literature –, by politicians, such as António de Oliveira Salazar, and by some of the main responsible for the national legislation, such as Bigotte Chorão, Antunes Varela or Pires de Lima. Through the history of Coimbra Editora and the stories that over time have been added to these copies, by the many who have leafed through them, the history of Law, Literature and Portuguese Thought is told.

Recalling the very expressive motto "Ab vno ad omnes" ("From one to many") that would become the brand image of this publisher, Livraria Lello allows with this rescue that the legacy of Coimbra Editora continues to be remembered and valued by all who visit the Most Beautiful Bookstore in the World.

Watch here the documentary "AB VNO AD OMNES - From one to many" that Livraria Lello produced to preserve the memory of Coimbra Editora, starting from it to reaffirm the urgency of valuing the Book as a heritage.


Behind the doors of a small apartment in New York (USA), Michael Seidenberg has hidden for more than three decades a unique space dedicated to Books and Literature, Brazenhead Books.
Translated literally as “Cabeça Sem-Vergonha”, Brazenhead quickly acquired the status of cultural, innovative, and daring refuge. It served as a bookstore, as a stage for poetry recitations, and as a therapeutic office, in which, above all, life was not lacking. It gained fame for its charismatic founder, distinguished with the epithet of “The Last Pirate of New York”, and for the truly unique sharing environment.

In 2019, news, chronicles, and tributes reported the death of Michael Seidenberg. The last pirated bookstore in New York disappeared, becoming a true myth and icon for book lovers.
In the collection that Michael gathered in his apartment, there are first editions, art, science fiction, humor, and cinema books, as well as young and completely unknown authors, distinguished and published by Brazenhead.

It is in order to preserve the memory of this unique Bookstore and Bookseller that Livraria Lello has acquired and exhibits a significant part of its estate, sharing it, and the stories and memories of Brazenhead Books, with all its readers.