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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

Article

Peering Into the Exquisite Life of Rare Books

Snippets from Jennifer Schuessler's article on one of the most important institutions for young booksellers and the whole rare book trade: Rare Book School at the University of Virginia.
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Article

Young Dealers / Old Books - An Ideal Career, or: How to become a rare bookseller

"Four months after my initial training from Heidi, I'm still making my way through the ins and outs of cataloging. What edition is this? Near fine or very good? When I mentioned the rating scale to my mom she answered with, "If I heard something was good I would not think it was trash," but she would be wrong. I've learned to really get behind the treasure hunt; thrilled to find first editions that happen to have their dustwrapper in decent shape, the eternal heartache of the "book club edition." Most of all I've learned to respect the medium through which great writers, such as Wilde, have presented their art to the world. Guess I have found myself back in the family business." Ashley Wildes, cataloguer at Between the Covers Rare Books, says: If you ever have the opportunity to become a rare bookseller, don't miss it!
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Article

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions: Booth Tarkington

Ask any rare book collector or dealer who have been around for a long time and they'll probably shrug – who cares about Booth Tarkington? But the funny thing is that he has more collected books than many more highly regarded authors. He wrote two of the first four Pulitzer Prize novels, The Magnicent Ambersons (1919) and Alice Adams (1922), both of which are wicked scarce in jacket.
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Article

Organising the Private Book Collection

You've been buying books for a while now but in a haphazard fashion, buying them as the subject matter or some other aspect of them e.g., binding or association inscriptions, illustrations or bookplates or indeed anything at all, appealed to you. There are so many of them now that you begin to think that you have a "collection", particularly as you now seem to be mostly buying books in a field which has become of particular interest to you...
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