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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
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Renaissance

Rare Books - When is an inscription not an inscription?

Published on 14 Oct. 2014
Two folks identified the key elements of this month's crocodile mystery in their comments: Misha Teramura correctly noted that the inscription in the middle of the page - "pp. 184-190 refer to the progress of religion westward toward America" - refers to George Herbert's final poem from The Temple, "The Church Militant." And David Shaw noted that the other inscriptions - "8652″ on the top left and "A176″ on the bottom right - look to be an accession number and a shelf mark. But let's back up for one moment to understand why I find these marks interesting. The book in question is a first edition of George Herbert's The Temple (STC 13183). It's an interesting work, and a popular one in the 17th century. And as you can see from the notations on the front pastedown and the recto of the first free flyleaf, it's a work that was prized by later collectors.This particular copy was owned by Sir Leicester Harmsworth before it came into the Folger Shakespeare Library collection, and its value is shown in part by the blue goatskin binding signed on the bottom turn-in by Riviere and Son. Its value is more obviously indicated by the inscription on the pastedown, "a copy sold in the Terry sale in Dec 1935 for $3600."
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Renaissance

The Giunti of Florence. A Renaissance Printing and Publishing Family

Published on 24 Oct. 2012
This ambitious project explores the history and output of the Giunti Press in Florence, covering the firm from its beginnings in 1497 to its end in 1625, and providing descriptions of each Giunti book published with extensive indication of the libraries holding copies of each edition. In doing so, it describes the literature and history of Florence in the late Renaissance as well as the development of the Italian language within this important period of time.
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Renaissance

The Library of Symbolism - A Glossary and Bibliography of Renaissance Symbolic Literature

Published on 09 Nov. 2010
"For 2,000 years, from the time of Plato in 400 BC until the start of the modern era of empirical science in approximately 1600 AD, the culture of Western Europe was dominated by a single mode of expression: the symbol. The symbol was the universal medium for the approach to God, for the investigation of the natural world, for the interpretation of the Scriptures and for an understanding of and a guide to proper moral conduct. Towards the end of the period, enabled by the invention of printing by movable type, this obsession was translated into a vast literature of symbolism of which some eighty distinct species were identified by contemporary writers and theorists." The Renaissance symbolism refers to a time in which human thinking and the human view of the World changed radically. On the one hand Renaissance symbolism is one of the most interesting research fields for scholars. On the other hand it is one of the most fascinating fields of bibliophily at the very beginning of the history of printing.
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Article

How Many Ways?

How many ways are there to do this business? Here is my old friend Adrian Connolly of Connolly's Book Shop, Cork City,Ireland ... Adrian once told me he buys his books by the pallet load from a jobber in London. Like bales of rags. He then prices them at € 3 - € 10 and shelves them. All day people wandering through the busy Paul Street square, or shopping at the adjacent Tesco supermarket drift into his shop, spot a book they've never seen before, and purchase it. There are many books on Adrian's shelves that people have never seen before, because most of them expired and disappeared very soon after publication.
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Article

Book Conservation - Ghosting and Sunning and Foxing, Oh My!

If you're new to the world of book collecting, you've undoubtedly encountered plenty of jargon already. Rare and antiquarian book dealers often painstakingly describe a book's condition because it's such an important aspect of the book's value. Reputable dealers are as accurate as possible in their descriptions, and it's not unusual to run into the terms "ghosting," "sunning," and "foxing," all of which refer to different causes of discoloration to paper.
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Article

51st California International Antiquarian Book Fair opens today!

Recognized as one of the world's largest and most prestigious exhibitions of antiquarian books, this eagerly anticipated bi-annual fair gives visitors the opportunity to see, learn about and purchase the finest in rare books, manuscripts, autographs, graphics, photographs and more.
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Article

Robert Wright, President of ABAC on bookselling in Canada

After the completely unexpected death of Michael Park earlier this year, who had served as ABAC President since November of 2015, Robert Wright of Robert Wright Books has taken on the role of Interim President. Mr. Wright spoke to us about bookselling in his home country and where the trade is going.
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