This article was first published on the website of Archives Fine Books in Australia, member of ANZAAB and affiliated to ILAB. It is published here with the permission of the author Dawn Albinger and shows the integrity of our trade. Taking our book sleuthing to a new level in 2017…
How we cracked the cold case of a book missing from the rare books department of a major institution.
Only a few months ago the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF) had to report the theft of a considerable number of works by Pieter Bruegel along with rare and valuable maps and atlases. The BnF immediately got into contact with the European libraries and with the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB). An ILAB security message was sent out to all affiliates worldwide, the theft was announced on the ILAB Stolen Books Database. Now the French police reports that the thief has been caught.
In the 1990s rare and valuable 17th century books were stolen from the National Library of Sweden. Now some of them have been returned to Sweden with the help of two American antiquarian booksellers. The official repatriation ceremony took place in Manhattan, New York. (Reblogged from The Art Newspaper)
Do we need more drastic measures to prevent the theft of books, maps, manuscripts and other art on paper? On 26 June 2015 internationally renowned experts – librarians, archivists, lawyers, auctioneers and rare book dealers – discussed one of the global problems of the antiquarian book trade in the 21st century: the theft of books, manuscripts and prints from public collections such as, in recent years, the Girolamini Library in Naples, the National Library of Sweden, the Danish Royal Library in Copenhagen and, right now, from the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris. "Thefts of rare books, maps and manuscripts from libraries are a growing, global problem", the Art Newspaper summarizes. "The portable nature of these works and the fact that many libraries lack up-to-date catalogues of their sizable collections - some of which were assembled centuries ago - make them prime targets. Two weeks before the conference, the Bibliothèque Nationale de France announced that several 16th- and 17th-century engravings by Brueghel as well as atlases dating from the 16th to 18th centuries had been stolen from its collection. An investigation is currently underway." ILAB President Norbert Donhofer was invited to speak at the conference at the British Library, which will be followed up by another international meeting in New York in 2016.
Recent news concerning the Girolamini thefts and the ongoing investigations: In an official press release the Bavarian authorities announce that they will return some 500 books which were confiscated at the Munich auction house Zisska & Schauer (now Zisska & Lacher) in May 2012 in connection with the thefts from the Girolamini Library in Naples. The books dating from 16th and 17th centuries and worth over 2 million euros will be handed over to Italian judicial authorities in Munich on 13th February 2015.
On Sunday, November 9th, Il Sole 24 Ore devoted an entire page to recent problems in the Italian rare book trade, featuring two excellent articles by Daniele Danesi and Fabrizio Govi. These articles moved me to speak a few words prior to the Bloomsbury Rome auction of November 12, with its books "released from confiscation" ("dissequestrati"). Had he not been abroad, I am certain that Fabrizio, who succeeded me as president of the ALAI in 2010, would have done exactly the same. I recognize that in this time of severe economic crisis and in the aftermath of the "Girolamini Affair" and related criminal activities, Fabrizio has demonstrated outstanding leadership in speaking out on behalf of ALAI members, and defending them against irresponsible allegations and harassment by Italian authorities.
The Legacy Press, established in 1997 and located in Ann Arbor (Michigan), publishes finely designed and crafted letterpress and offset printed books concerning all aspects of printing, paper, and bookbinding. Two recent publications cover the inside and the outside of The Book: Cathleen A. Baker: From the Hand to the Machine. Nineteenth-Century American Paper and Mediums: Technologies, Materials, and Conservation. Julia Miller: Books Will Speak Plain: A Handbook for Identifying and Describing Historical Bindings.
This year is the 125th anniversary of the first appearance of Three Men in a Boat, published by J. W. Arrowsmith in Bristol (who, three years later, was to bring out that other classic comic novel, George and Weedon Grossmith's The Diary of a Nobody). Although slated by some critics at the time, the book sold in huge numbers, leading Arrowsmith to comment: 'I pay Jerome so much in royalties, I cannot imagine what becomes of all the copies of that book I issue. I often think the public must eat them.' It has never been out of print since.
From manuscripts to avant-garde, from a letter by François I to the drafts of Marcel Proust, from a 13th century psalm book to a futurist manifesto, dealers and collectors will browse the shelves of more than 150 antiquarian booksellers with thousands of stunningly diverse documents. Around 20.000 book fair visitors will meander through the Grand Palais and discover first editions, precious bindings, travel accounts, old and modern prints and photographies, handwritten letters and documents by artists, politicians and scientists, scores of famous musicians, treatises on medicine, astronomy, philosophy and other milestones in the history of science alongside with fine illustrated books, modern art and beautiful children's books.
The ILAB Breslauer Prize for Bibliography will be awarded again in 2018 and is one of the most prestigious prizes in the field of bibliography.
A prize with longstanding tradition and a strong support for scholarship: The ILAB Breslauer Prize for Bibliography, worth US$10,000, is one of the most important prizes in the field of bibliography. Every fourth year it is awarded to a particularly significant reference work within a selection of scholarly books about books.
So far, the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers has received 34 submissions of outstanding works.
T.H. White is the man best known for writing the King Arthur books; the ones about the young boy who pulls a sword from a stone and creates Camelot with his wizard mentor Merlin. These stories are beloved, retold, and have been reinvented as animated films and full scale musicals, even defining the time in America before the assassination of President Kennedy. Camelot, it seems, is a perfect place, one where there is no trouble, life is easy, and love is pure. White's life, however, bore no resemblance to such a place, and his battle with alcohol, emotion, and his own natural tendencies influenced his work and led him to live a truly lonely yet remarkable life.