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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

The poem that gave us Santa Claus

The poem that gave us Santa Claus as an American tradition was first published anonymously in the Troy (NY) Sentinel in 1823. For generations, the poem was attributed to Clement C. Moore, a wealthy Manhattan biblical scholar. Then about a decade ago, a literary sleuth from Vassar College advanced the notion that the famous poem was actually written by Henry Livingston Jr., a gentleman poet from Poughkeepsie. The literary landscape at Christmas time has never been the same since.
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Article

Rare Book News from Asia

Mitsuo Nitta is the doyen of the rare book trade. As one of the founding members of the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of Japan (ABAJ), initiator of many antiquarian book fairs in Japan, Corea and Hong Kong and, with Yushodo, as owner of one of the most famous antiquarian book companies in Japan and the world, he was – and still is – a key figure of the antiquarian book business in Asia. Some 10 years ago Nitta, who is ILAB Member of Honour, analyzed the general characteristics of the trade in Japan, Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
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Article

ILAB Internship Program 2011 for Students of the Moscow State University of the Printing Arts I

My internship took place from April 25 to May 28 2011. I travelled to Austria, the Netherlands and Hungary. I visited several bookstores such as Antiquariat Norbert Donhofer (Vienna), A. Gerits & Son (Amsterdam), Antiquariaat A. Kok & Zn. B.V. (Amsterdam), Musikantiquariat Ádám Bősze (Budapest), Földvári Antikvarium (Budapest), Központi Antikvárium (Budapest), etc., and also an auction house: Bubb Kuyper (Haarlem, The Netherlands). I managed to interview the current President of ILAB Arnoud Gerits, the President of The Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of Austria, Norbert Donhofer, the President of the Hungarian Association of the Antiquarian Booksellers, Ádám Bősze, the President of The Dutch Association of Antiquarian Booksellers, Ton Kok, and two Presidents of Honour: Anton Gerits and Michael Steinbach. I worked as a bibliographer and appraiser, took part in the preparations for the London International Antiquarian Book Fair at Olympia, and visited an auction. It was a learning process.
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Article

Highlights of the 56th Stuttgart Antiquarian Book Fair

The 56th Stuttgart Antiquarian Book Fair will soon open its doors (27-29th January) and presents 72 exhibitors from Germany, Great Britain, the United States, Switzerland, Austria, France and the Netherlands showing rare and valuable medieval manuscripts, books, autographs, and modern prints. The fair is affiliated to ILAB, the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers and organised by the German association, Verband der Antiquare. The fair organisers have just released some bibliophile treasures and true highlights that will be available for sale at the fair.
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Article

Thanks, Bruce McKinney!

Every once in a while we encounter events that we know will be benchmarks in our careers as antiquarian book dealers. The first shop, with its smell of fresh cut pine shelving, the first big buy, the first book fair, the biggest book fair, the biggest buy, the luckiest find, the first whale (dealer slang for a big buyer) … all these things will be chapter titles in the book of our days in the trade, written out as memoirs, or only recollected as memories. To their number must be added appraisals (for those of us who engage in such shenanigans) – the first one, the biggest one, the one that was challenged by heirs or IRS. The best one. I spent last week on a new chapter in my book of memories. It will filed in my memory bank as "Appraisals, Best."
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