“Palpable history”, says Sir David Attenborough. We are at the annual Antiquarian Booksellers Association Rare Books Fair, and he is describing the pleasure of holding an incunable – a book printed in the fifteenth century, in the first few decades after the printing press was invented.
The Telegraph: "Collectors' demand for rare, first-edition Ian Fleming books has spiked in recent weeks ahead of the release of the 24th James Bond film, Spectre. New Bond films never fail to spark fresh interest in Fleming's books and James Bond memorabilia. And the value of some of the most sought-after pieces has risen steadily. Rare-book seller Peter Harrington said Ian Fleming's books had been consistently strong sellers over the past 50 years, but became even more sought-after when new films were released."
"A signed copy of Charles Dickens' novel A Tale of Two Cities bearing a personal inscription to fellow author George Eliot has gone on sale for £275,000. Dated December 1859, the dedication expresses "high admiration and regard" for Eliot - real name Mary Ann Evans. It is being sold by rare book dealer Peter Harrington and is currently on show at its central London bookshop. If it reaches its asking price, the book will be among the most expensive Dickens works ever purchased." Read the whole story on BBC News.
"Last week a group of Melbourne bibliophiles were treated to a delightful talk by preeminent bookman Nicolas Barker, editor of The Book Collector since 1965, and whose bibliography records an impressive 1,000+ entries. Barker examined twenty or so works from Special Collections and talked to the salient points of each book. This post highlights three of the selected items that had multiple signs of ownership, all of which caught Barker's eye."
George Koppelman and Daniel Wechsler, both ABAA members and ILAB affiliates, have now published a study about their extensive researches: In Shakespeare's Beehive: An Annotated Elizabethan Dictionary Comes to Light, they conclude that the annotations in their copy of Baret's Alvearie purchased on eBay belong to William Shakespeare. Using example after example, the authors demonstrate how closely the annotations and Baret's text are tied to Shakespeare's own work. The annotator, while not once leaving his name on a page, nevertheless leaves behind an astonishing personal trail of fingerprints. This great discovery hit the news last week. A press review:
"It's a cliché, but it's true: Things aren't the same as they used to be. Over the last twenty-five years, we've transformed the way that we buy books and build our collections, and most of the familiar bookshops, old and new, have disappeared. There aren't nearly as many local places to browse and buy books as there once were, but there are more books available to buy than ever, and great collections are still being formed. But collectors and booksellers have lost something along the way, and it's important to recognize that just as Frank Bruni's favorite restaurants offer something that he can't get anywhere else, this is what the book market, at its best, used to do, and still sometimes does." A thoughtful article about rare book dealers and collectors by Joel Silver for Fine Books & Collections. Read it!
"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.
„When I look back at the plight of American research libraries in 2010, I feel inclined to break into a jeremiad. In fact, I want to deliver three jeremiads, because research libraries are facing crises on three fronts; but instead of prophesying doom, I hope to arrive at a happy ending." Robert Darnton analyses the present – and future – situation of University Libraries.
Memorials are published after the death of an author, artist or scientist. "It is rare that such tributes are composed while an honoree is still alive, though such tributes are not unknown." "Festschriften" – there is no English or American equivalent for what is meant by the German word – are addressed to scientists during their life and career. L. D. Mitchell introduces a field of collecting rare books which are popular in the scholarly world, but nearly unknown to bibliophiles.
There are a number of curious things about book-jackets. One is that after getting on for two hundred years of their history, we are still not entirely certain what to call them – dust-jackets, book-jackets, dust-wrappers, even dust-covers – all in fairly common usage, while a close study of G. Thomas Tanselle's masterly recent study, Book-Jackets : Their History, Forms and Use, gives us nineteenth-century examples of 'paper cover', 'slip-wrapper' (analogous with slip-case and which I rather like), and 'over-wrapper', while the earliest reference I've seen in an author bibliography (Stuart Mason, aka Christopher Millard, Bibliography of Oscar Wilde, 1914 – ignoring the preliminary editions) notes a number of examples of 'loose outer wrappers'. For my own part, I take the Tanselle line that 'wrapper' is a little dangerous in already having a long-established and alternative meaning in bibliography – referring to a stitched, stapled or glued and non-detachable cover, as for example on a pamphlet.
Sometimes, as a bookseller, you come across something which you really can't quite believe exists, and something that you will probably never see again. This collecting tip by Simon Beattie is better than any steak and kidney pie.
Expanding to the Global Market : During the 30th ILAB Congress and the 13th International Book Fair in Tokyo 1990 the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of Korea (ABAK) were elected as the 18th ILAB member. Two years later Czech booksellers formed the Svaz Antikváru CR (SACR which joined the League during the 32nd ILAB Congress in Amsterdam in 1994. The Spanish Asociación Ibéria de Librerias Anticuarias (AILA), founded in 1990, also joined ILAB.