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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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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Article

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Blood and Laughter

For a few brief months the journals spoke with the great and unprecedented rage that neither arrest not exile could silence. At first their approach was oblique, their allusions veiled, and they fell victim to the censor's pencil. But people had suffered censorship for too long. Satirists constantly expanded their targets of attack, demolishing one obstacle after another as they went, thriving on censorship.
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Article

CHELSEA DREAMS - Chelsea Antiquarian Book Fair, 7 to 8 November 2014

So – here I am (in my freshly tidied book-room) dreaming about all the treasures I'm going to find at this week's Chelsea Book Fair. Well – I say freshly tidied (see last post). It just about passed muster at this morning's inspection. Just about. The exact rhetorical diasyrm used was a kindly and encouraging, "Well, I can see you have been trying". Enough of that – I now have some freshly excavated shelf-space and I've found the cheque-book. No other way this can end but in some determined book-hunting at Chelsea. Better still, I don't have to say too much this week because I'm going to see you all there – at least I hope so. What excuse could you possibly have for not being there?
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Article

Winner of the James D. Forbes Collecting Prize 2017 - University of St Andrews (UK)

Arthur der Weduwen, PHD candidate at the University of St. Andrews in the UK, has just received the James D. Forbes Collecting Prize which has been awarded annually since its inauguration in 2015. The prize is named after the university's famous graduate and later professor (1833) and principal (1859), James David Forbes (1809 - 1868). Arthur der Weduwen has permitted ILAB to publish his report here.
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Article

A Picture with Booksellers - The Founding of the League, Copenhagen 1948

Poul Jan Poulsen, ILAB's Treasurer and Committee Member for many many years, discovered a real treasure in his archives: a photograph taken in the Town Hall in Copenhagen in 1948. This was the year in which the League was officially founded. 92 booksellers attended the first ILAB Congress in Denmark which followed the Preliminary Conference held in Amsterdam in 1947. They elected the first ILAB President William S. Kundig as well as the first Committee with Percy H. Muir, Einar Grønholt Pedersen, Menno Hertzberger and André Poursin as members.
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Article

From Dickens to Hitchcock to the Sex Pistols! - “Written” Highlights at the London International Antiquarian Book Fair 2012

"We are very pleased about the new location, which will make the 2012 the biggest and best yet; more exhibitors, more books, maps, prints, ephemera & manuscripts in a bigger and better hall providing more space on stands, wider aisles, with ample space to sit and relax in three different cafés. We are delighted that the ABA's partner will be the National Trust, which will be promoting the many important libraries, containing over 2 million books, under its management" (Brian Lake) A hand-written account of Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens and the original illustrations for Roald Dahl's Danny, Champion of the World are among the 'written' wonders that will be on sale at the 55th London International Antiquarian Book Fair. The Fair, which will be held for the first time in the bigger National Hall at Olympia (London W14) from Thursday, 24th May to Saturday, 26th May, 2012 has more exhibitors than ever before, who are travelling from all corners of the globe to take part in the oldest Fair in the UK.
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Congress

1947 - Amsterdam

Barbara Kaye Muir: A Bookseller's Wife Looks at Her Diary
In 1977, the 24th ILAB Congress and 7th ILAB International Antiquarian Book Fair took place in Düsseldorf, Germany. On this occasion, Karl H. Pressler, former editor of the German booksellers' magazine "Aus dem Antiquariat", published a special issue with articles about the League and its history written by representatives of the international rare book trade such as Menno Hertzberger, Helmuth Domizlaff, Percy H. Muir, Georges A. Deny, Dr. Lotte Roth-Wölfle, Stanley Crowe, and Barbara Kaye Muir.The wife of Percy H. Muir, a celebrated author, accompanied her husband to many congresses and meetings from the beginnings in 1947 up to the 1960s. Some of her memoirs were published in her books "Second Impression" and "The Company We Kept", published by Oak Knoll Press and Werner Shaw Ltd. In 1947 Barbara Kaye Muir joined her husband Percy on his trip to the Preliminary Conference in Amsterdam where the Presidents of the ten founding associations of the League came together on invitation of Menno Hertzberger. She witnessed the official discussions and talks behind the scenes along with the life and economic situation in Post War Amsterdam - and she received a lesson in drinking Dutch Genever.
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