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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
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Maps

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - A 17-foot timeline

Published on 29 May 2015
This large, folding chromolithograph (it's over 6.5m long) is Adams' Illustrated Panorama of History (London & Paris, A. H. Walker, 1878). First published in 1871 under the title Synchronological Chart by the Oregon pioneer minister Sebastian C. Adams, and in various later editions under different titles, this was, for a timeline chart, 'nineteenth-century America's surpassing achievement in complexity and synthetic power. Adams, who lived all of his early life at the very edge of U.S. territory, was a schoolteacher and one of the founders of the first Bible college in Oregon. Born in Ohio in 1825 and educated in the early 1840s at the brand-new Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, at the heart of the American abolitionist movement, Adams was a voracious reader, a broad thinker, and an inveterate improver. The Synchronological Chart is a great work of outsider thinking and a template for autodidact study; it attempts to rise above the station of a mere historical summary and to draw a picture of history rich enough to serve as a textbook in itself.
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Maps

Caring for Your Rare and Antiquarian Maps

Published on 21 June 2013
Rare book collectors often encounter maps, which present special challenges because they've usually been folded (and unfolded and refolded again) as part of their original use. They also make wonderful display pieces, so collectors may have to consider preservation and conservation for maps as hanging art.
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Maps

Don't Wipe Your Nose With This Map

Published on 11 March 2013
The Travelling Handkerchief has come to town, Fairburn's Map of the Country Twelve Miles Round London by E. Bourne, printed on calico, 590 x 540 mm, in 1831, a scarce, early handkerchief map. The map is circular, and reaches Teddington in the south west, clockside to Norwood, Harrow on the Hill, Chipping Barnet, Dagenham, Purley and Kingsston, wherever they are. I'm in Los Angeles, clockside to Westwood, harrowing on Barrington, Pico and Sepulveda; what do I know? This cartographical Kleenex™ is decorated by vignette views of Chelsea and Greenwich Hospitals in the bottom corners, and a banner heralding the title is held aloft in an eagle's beak.
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Maps

London : A History in Maps

Published on 06 Sept. 2012
Back in 2006, the British Library put on what was to become (at that time) its most successful exhibition ever – London: A Life in Maps. It still exists in partial and virtual form on the British Library website. "See London as you have never seen it before" was the tag-line – and so we did. The history of our great city was explored and illuminated using the primary documents: the contemporary maps and views generated by the eye-witnesses. Londoners flocked to it in their thousands. The one thing lacking was a permanent record of the entire exhibition and the compelling narrative (in detailed captions, interpretation and formal identification of the material) which accompanied it. The London Topographical Society has now stepped in and published, in association with the British Library, the full record – London : A History in Maps – the complete narrative catalogue as originally compiled by Peter Barber, Head of the BL Map Library. And not just the words, but with every item illustrated in whole or in part.
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Maps

Rare Books in the Press: A Masterpiece of Maps Goes Digital At Cambridge

Published on 27 April 2011
"Anglophiles who are planning to watch the Royal Wedding of HRH Prince William and Kate Middleton on April 29, 2011, now have a new opportunity to gain insight into the history and geography of the kingdom over which the future monarch and his bride will reign. Cambridge University Library has digitized a set of proof sheets for the first comprehensive atlas of Great Britain, first published 400 years ago." Nancy Mattoon's recent article for Booktryst features one of the world's finest cartographic treasures: John Speed's Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine.
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Maps

The French Connection

Published on 28 May 2010
Strange how myths are perpetuated. Like the one that claims Captain James Cook discovered Australia. Or the myth that the English are responsible for the mapping of Australia. If we delve into the history of Australian cartography, we find that it is the French, not the English, who made the greatest contribution to the early mapping of our continent. In fact, given King Louis XVI and Napoleon's interest in the great southern continent, it is surprising that we are not a nation of French speaking citizens.
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Article

Four of the Earliest (and Most Remarkable) Publisher's Dust Jackets

The subject of early dust jackets has been somewhat neglected in bookish circles. After all, how can plain (and often tattered) paper compete with a beautiful binding beneath? Yet early dust jackets have an important place in book history, one full of uncertainty and mystery. Initially, dust jackets were intended to be disposable and thus, most were discarded and destroyed. Few early examples now remain and no one knows with any certainty when dust jackets were first produced by publishers. Moreover, even in cases where early examples have survived, many later disappeared again and remain lost to this day. Below, we detail four of the earliest (and most remarkable) publisher's dust jackets.
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Article

Book Scouting - Adventures in Kentucky

It all started because my wife Millie wanted to visit her old homestead in Flat Lick, Kentucky, a tiny community founded before 1784 in the southeastern part of the state. She hadn't been back for many years, so how could I refuse the request? However, being a true bookman, I immediately started thinking about how I could combine book adventures with family visiting.
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Article

Under the Auspices of ILAB – International Antiquarian Book Fairs Across the World

Over the year and on all continents, there is an exquisite selection of antiquarian book fairs, where book collectors and the world's leading experts share their passion for the printed book and our written heritage. Under the auspices of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB) and organized by ILAB's member associations amazing book fairs are held in Europe and America, Asia and Australia, from London and Paris to New York and California, Tokyo and Melbourne. The exhibitors are ILAB affiliates who guarantee high professional standards, high quality offers, the authenticity of the books, prints, autographs and ephemera for sale which are exactly described and accurately priced. On all these fairs, officially supported by ILAB, there is more than just the fascination of rare books: Here you can buy with confidence and trust in the expertise of the exhibitors.
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Article

Investing in Books – Rare Books as Investments?

„There are fields of collecting in which you hear stories of someone who spent $5 at a flea market on an item that turned out to be worth $5 million. Book collecting is not one of those fields. a multimillion dollar Shakespeare First Folio up for auction gets a lot of attention. But for most collectors, books represent a stable, long-term investment. It's a rarefied pursuit, one that can be financially rewarding if you have the necessary expertise, diligence, and patience. … Ask a dealer if books are a wise investment strategy and the short answer is no." John Moore has found more elaborate answers in his article "Investing In Books: Safe Returns Between the Covers". He has asked John Windle, Rebecca Rego Barry, Thomas Joyce and other dealers to determine the real value of a rare book.
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Booksellers

Paul Minet (1937-2012)

"He was the most widely-known member of the trade of his generation" - We are very sorry to report that ABA Honorary Member Paul Minet of Piccadilly Rare Books died on February 6th, 2012. An obituary by ABA President Laurence Worms.
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