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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
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The ABA and the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers

Published on 27 March 2018
The ABA and ILAB look back at a long history. The ABA is relaunching its flagship fair in London this year, the oldest antiquarian book fair in the world, under the auspices of ILAB. This text by the late Anthony Rota, ABA bookseller and ILAB President of Honour, was published in 2008 in the ABA Directory.
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ILAB History

ILAB History

Published on 17 July 2013
Today the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers unites 22 national associations under one roof. Some of them had already been established when the League was founded in 1947/1948. Five of them were the driving forces: the antiquarian booksellers of Great Britain, France, Denmark, Sweden and The Netherlands.
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ILAB History

Preliminary Conference

Published on 17 July 2013
In 1947 representatives from Great Britain, France, Denmark, Sweden and The Netherlands met in Amsterdam for a Preliminary Conference. They discussed Hertzberger’s idea of forming an organization that counteracted the animosity and suspicion engendered by the Second World War. The new International League of Antiquarian Booksellers should foster friendship and understanding between the nations as the mutual basis for a fair and professional trade in the future.
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ILAB History

Copenhague 1948

Published on 17 July 2013
The ILAB was formally incorporated in Copenhagen in September 1948, with ten participating countries. Representatives from Belgium, Finland, Switzerland, and Italy joined their colleagues from Great Britain, France, Sweden, Denmark and The Netherlands at the conference table. Denmark was holding a proxy for Norway
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ILAB History

1951-1960

Published on 17 July 2013
“Considering the dubiety with which our activities were treated it is pleasant to record that the Congresses in London in 1949 and in Paris in 1950 were very successful both socially and professionally, while the standard of hospitality in both cities was impeccable." (Muir)
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ILAB History

1961-1970

Published on 17 July 2013
The admission of Japan, the ILAB Bibliography Prize (now ILAB Breslauer Prize for Bibliography) and the first ILAB International Antiquarian Book Fair were the milestones of the 60s.
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

ILAB History

ABA History 1906-1984, Part 2

At this point - except for a tributory bow towards all those, named or not, who had set and kept the ABA in motion, and a passage on the then imminent fiftieth anniversary and tenth Congress - Dudley Massey's account concludes. To the far from dauntless continuator its coverage seems considerable and its evidence of determined burrowing in files and minutes impressive.
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Article

Ben Barrett-Forrest: The History of Typography, in Stop-Motion Animation

Built with 2454 photographs, 291 letters, and 140 hours of his life, Barrett-Forrest's animated short is a delight. As he guides us from the lowly beginnings of Guttenberg's printing press, all the way to the computer age, it becomes apparent that the art of type is a corollary for history. Like architecture and fashion, typography is a reflection of the world in which it's created. Barrett-Forrest explains his interest in type and the genesis of the project in an interview below.
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Article

Rare Kafka Letters Bought by the Bodleian Library (Oxford) and the Marbach Literary Archive

The Berlin based auction house J. A. Stargardt cancelled its upcoming sale of rare autograph letters written by Franz Kafka to his sister Ottilie in the years 1909 to 1924. The important series of 45 letters, 32 postcards and 34 picture postcards contains almost all the surviving letters and postcards that Kafka sent to his sister Ottilie, who was known as Ottla – the youngest of his three sisters, and the family member to whom he was closest. The auction was scheduled for April 19, 2011 in Berlin, a richly illustrated catalogue with a preface by Hans-Gerd Koch had been published.
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Article

You Cataracts and Hurricanoes! - A Treatise on Meteorology: From the Encyclopedia Metropolitana

I focus not on a reference book but on a single entry today — still, it's large enough to be published as a substantial book in its own right. This is George Harvey's entry on meteorology for the Encyclopedia Metropolitana — what Tom McArthur calls "the grand but ill-fated Encyclopaedia Metropolitana." Samuel Taylor Coleridge was involved in the planning, though he backed out as soon as it began appearing in 1818, as did most of the others who started it. A total of thirty quarto volumes, stretching to more than 22,000 pages and 565 plates, appeared over the next twenty-eight years.
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Article

The Silver Squirrel Prize for the Hungarian Rare Bookseller Ádám Bősze

Ádám Bősze, President of the Hungarian Antiquarian Booksellers Association (MAE), was awarded the Silver Squirrel Prize bestowed by the National Association of Hungarian Journalists for his outstanding professional achievements and for promoting and bringing about the membership of the MAE in the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers.
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Article

The London Antiquarian Book Fair Season 2012

With the 55th London International Antiquarian Book Fair the oldest and one of the biggest and most important fairs worldwide will open its doors to visitors from 24th to 26th May 2012. This years Fair at the National Hall (Olympia) will be the best yet; with more exhibitors, more books, maps, prints, ephemera and manuscripts in a bigger and better hall providing more space on stands, wider aisles, ample space to sit and relax in three different cafes. Nearly 200 exhibitors from the UK and all over the world will offer highlights of the trade, from a hand-written account of Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens to a very rare signed limited issue of Ian Fleming's On Her Majesty's Secret Service to a signed expense account for The Sex Pistols. Whatever you collect, whatever your subject, curiosity or indulgence, you will find something to capture your imagination and interest at the Olympia Fair - and not only there. The 55th International Antiquarian Book Fair - organised by the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association (ABA) - is the most outstanding in a series of book fairs held in London at the end of May. This is a short summary of all the fairs, with links to the official websites.
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