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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
 
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ALAI History

ALAI History 1947-2011

Published on 01 Dec. 2010
On an autumn day in 1947, a small group of book dealers met in Milan to give life to the Circolo dei Librai Antiquari. They were not many, but they were set on granting a cultural dignity to the trade of antiquarian bookselling, on fostering friendship and understanding with foreign colleagues, on cooperating with libraries and institutions for the conservation of cultural property, and on providing collectors with a code of ethics that guaranteed a fair and professional relationship between rare book dealers and their customers. In 1971, the members of the association had increased to a few dozen when the Circle became the Associazione Librai Antiquari d'Italia. The history of the ALAI, the Italian Antiquarian Booksellers' Association, by:
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Article

British Map Engravers: A Dictionary of Engravers, Lithographers and Their Principal Employers to 1850

The ultimate guide to the identification of British antique maps and their makers: An illustrated dictionary of over 1,500 members of the map trade in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, of British-born engravers working overseas and foreign engravers working in the British Isles, from the beginnings until the mid 19th century. Included are all the known engravers and lithographers, globemakers and retailers, the principal map sellers and publishers, key cartographers, makers of map-based games and puzzles, but also the remarkable lives of many artists, dealers and publishers, whose fates have been unknown so far.
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Article

Rare Book Week Comes to New York City in April 2014

Antiquarian book dealers, collectors, and the intellectually curious will gather in New York City for Rare Book Week from 1st to 8th April 2014 - the largest gathering of its kind anywhere in the world. It is headlined by the 54th annual New York Antiquarian Book Fair, which runs from 3rd to 6th April, but is preceded by several rare book and manuscript auctions, including those at Christie's, Heritage Auctions, Sotheby's, and Swann Galleries. Several more auction houses, including Bonhams and Doyle New York, will offer collections to round out Rare Book Week after the fair weekend. Rare Book Week also includes The Manhattan Vintage Book & Ephemera Fair, known as the "Shadow Show," and The Professional Autograph Dealer Association (PADA) Show.
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Article

New Trends in the International Antiquarian Book Trade

We all blame the internet for dramatic changes in the rare book trade. But have our problems really changed within the last decades? Reading Anthony Rota's lecture given in Tokyo in 1990 you could be inclined to say: No! He writes: "Booksellers, like the collectors and librarians they serve, are conservative creatures. By their very nature they are resistant to change; yet they are caught up in the changes that beset us today, and if they do not welcome them they must at least learn to adapt to them if they are to flourish. The antiquarian book trade has managed to cope with changes over a number of centuries now, and I do not doubt for a moment that it will continue to do so."
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“When I have a little money, I buy books; and if I have any left, I buy food and clothes.”

Are you a book collector who fully comprehends this sentiment expressed by the Dutch philosopher and humanist, Erasmus of Rotterdam?
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Article

Six Famous Authors Who Were Also Ghostwriters

Halloween is the time for ghouls, goblins, witches, and ... ghosts. In the art world, ghosts aren't merely the phantoms, banshees, and spooks of horror stories; there are also ghosts of the pen. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart would ghostwrite music for wealthy patrons, and plenty of famous authors have written works on behalf of others as well.
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