While Palm Beach, Florida has been in the news more recently as the new home of the “winter White House”, for serious readers and book collectors the most interesting news has been the opening of Raptis Rare Books’ new location on Palm Beach’s prestigious Worth Avenue shopping district. It’s a storied town with a storied history replete with Addison Mizner Mediterranean and Spanish Colonial architecture. It is also near enough to where Ponce de Leon is said to have landed in 1513, for Palm Beach and the Raptis Rare Book Company to argue they are at the place in the New World where the European experience began.
The owners, Matthew and Adrienne Raptis, both enjoy travelling and have been to over seventy-five countries. They travel frequently to Europe and Italy, in particular, which is why, until recently, they had been operating out of a beautiful Italianate villa built by an opera singer that they discovered in southern Vermont and just had to purchase. They planted a vineyard there with four varietals of vinifera and built a wine cellar as well. "It felt like a little slice of Italy, except for the weather," Adrienne states. Matthew, however, desired to have more direct contact with his clients and both longed for warmer weather.
The store officially opened its doors in November at the start of the Palm Beach "season", and held its grand opening celebration in January, after the rush of the holidays, which was complete with live operatic performances. The store has had a very welcome reception and been featured in many news articles and programs. For book collectors, it is like walking into a dream that you never want to leave. For those unfamiliar with book collecting, it has introduced many people to the world of books we love so dearly.
The location at 226 Worth Avenue, alongside the likes of Gucci, Tiffany's, Sacks Fifth Avenue, Ralph Lauren and the like, serves the wealthy clientele on the island and vicinity, as well as the numerous visitors who come each year for world class polo and horse jumping, boating, or simply to escape the winter weather. As you sit down to have a cup of cappuccino on the lovely library chairs surrounded by first editions of all ages and genres, with palm trees swaying just outside, for a book lover, it doesn't get much better than this.
Raptis Rare Books still holds a large online presence and continues to issue lovely full color catalogs, the most recent of which came to the presses a few weeks ago. You can see it here or request a hard copy in the mail. And if you happen to be able to visit Palm Beach and stop by their store, you may just find that you never want to leave.
Raptis Rare Books
226 Worth Avenue
Palm Beach, FL 33480
1 800 RARE BOOK (727 - 3266)