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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
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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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ILAB History

1971-1980

Published on 17 July 2013
Established in 1966, the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of Canada (ABAC) or Association de la Librairie Ancienne du Canada (ALAC) became an ILAB member at the Paris Presidents’ Meeting in 1970. Australia followed eight years later. The Australian and New Zealand Association of Antiquarian Booksellers (ANZAAB), created in 1977, belongs to the League since 1978.
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ILAB History

1981-1990

Published on 17 July 2013
By the 1980s the biennial congresses were attracting several hundred delegates. A certain amount of business gets transacted (the subjects cropping up most frequently being standards of collation, the training of new entrants to the trade, and relationships with the auction houses). Its harsher critics say that the League is only a talking-shop – and it is true that the social side of congress life is very pleasant, the national association sponsoring each congress taking great care to mount an interesting programme.
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Article

Attention Bibliophiles: World’s Largest Rare Book Fair Returns to San Francisco

Thousands of book lovers, buyers, browsers and sellers will come together in San Francisco at the 44th California International Antiquarian Book Fair from February 11 through Sunday, February 13. With collections and rare treasures offered by more than 200 booksellers from the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America (ABAA) and the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB), the world's largest rare book fair is a bibliophile's delight, featuring a rich selection of books, manuscripts, maps and other printed materials, including incunabula, fine bindings, first editions, children's and illustrated books, ephemera, and antiquarian books on all subject areas one can conceivably imagine.
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Article

Collecting Photography - A Thousand Words…

Neither of my kids, doubtless traumatized by having a bookseller for a father, is much of a reader, but both are splendidly visually literate. He's a photographer and she's a florist. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and all that other stuff I don't know how to work, is about images, not words. That's how we communicate with one another these days. Even our book descriptions depend on images now. Rare is the catalog that is not lavishly illustrated, and if our online listings hope to have any chance of selling, they'd better feature plenty of images. We're in the cradle period of images and imaging. Some day soon images will be text, and text will be arcane. We will be practitioners of black arts.
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Article

Why Are Some Dustjackets Clipped but Not Price-Clipped?

While browsing through Ralph Sipper's booth at this past weekend's Los Angeles Antiquarian Book Fair, I came upon an interesting copy of book that at first seemed a little out of place at the fair: John Sanford's Every Island Fled Away. It's a 1964 novel that, these days, is typically a $30 – $40 book in collectible condition, and not that much more when signed or inscribed. Usually the booths at the three fairs sponsored by the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America (there's also a New York show in April and a Boston show in November) are full of the best antiquarian books for sale in the country and the world (read highest quality, and consequently highest priced). Dealers usually trot out their top material, and Ralph's booth was full of many stunning copies of notable literary first editions. Some of them, like his beautiful copy of William Faulkner's first novel, Soldiers' Pay, are genuinely rare in such condition. By comparison, the John Sanford book seemed to be a grade schooler lost at the senior prom.
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Article

AUSTRIAN BOOKSELLERS LAUNCH THE ILAB POP UP WEEK

Last Saturday, the "heart of literacy" lay in Baden, next to Vienna. Dr. Paul Kainbacher launched the ILAB Pop Up Week in his antiquarian bookshop with a Bibliophile Evening dedicated to rare books on the history and exploration of Africa. The elegant rooms were crowded with books and visitors who enjoyed the lectures given by Walter Sauer and Martin Peter Pfitscher, both renowned authors and leading experts from the University of Vienna. Walter Sauer, Professor of Economic and Social History, compared Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" with the experiences of Austrian travelers to Central Africa, while Martin Peter Pfitscher, specialist in Ethnology, took the visitors on a photographic tour to Africa seen through the lense of author, adventurer and photographer Oscar Baumann.
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Article

Napoleon hair found in great novelist’s book on TV’s Antiques Roadshow

"The BBC's Antiques Roadshow is a TV programme which examines many fine and fascinating art and antiques, but as a general rule it is not known for valuing particularly weird memorabilia … When it was called to the former home of Sir Walter Scott in the Borders, however, the team made a rather surprising discovery in a blotter which had belonged to Napoleon. A small handwritten note dated 8 November 1827, written to Sir Walter Scott from a Mr Dalton was found inside which contains a lock of Napoleon's hair."
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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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