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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
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Press Articles

Bibliomaniacs in Battersea

Published on 21 June 2018
“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.
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Press Articles

In the Press - How James Bond books have soared in value ahead of Spectre

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."
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Press Articles

Peter Harrington Rare Books Featured on BBC News: Charles Dickens inscribed book offered for £275,000 sale

"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.
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Press Articles

On the Blog - Provenance in Pictures: Tracking the Ownership of Three Early Printed Books

"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."
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Press Articles

Shakespeare’s Beehive - Rare Book Dealers George Koppelman and Daniel Wechsler claim to have found Shakespeare's dictionary

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:
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Press Articles

In the Press - Collector and Bookseller: A Vanishing Relationship?

"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!
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Press Articles

In the Press - Breakthrough over 600-year-old mystery manuscript

A breakthrough has been made in attempts to decipher a mysterious 600-year-old manuscript written in an unknown language: The Voynich Manuscript, carbon-dated to the 1400s, was rediscovered in 1912, when the antiquarian bookseller Wilfrid Voynich bought it in Italy as part of a rare book collection. Since then it has defied codebreakers and scientists. Read the full article on BBC News.
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Booksellers

Suburban - The Bookshop of Anthony C. Hall

A visit today to one of the most threatened of all species – something in fact not so far encountered on my travels – a genuine suburban bookshop. Those of us who are themselves suburban will no doubt remember how many there used to be. To Twickenham – familiar enough terrain for me, my school was within walking distance of the famous rugby stadium. One of the school's most charming customs (now I bring it to mind, probably its only one) was that the older boys were allowed the afternoon off each year to go to the 'Varsity Match.
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Article

Armed Services Editions

It is the middle of World War II. Soldiers are on their way to the front lines of both the Pacific and European Theaters. Other soldiers are already there. Still others have been there and are now receiving medical treatment at military hospitals. There is a break in whatever action faces them. What are all of them doing? Reading!
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Booksellers

Franklin Victor Spellman (1945-2015) – An Obituary


Franklin Victor Spellman was born August 15, 1945 in Stamford, Connecticut, moving to the Bronx, New York, at 8 years. He is named in honor of Franklin Roosevelt and his middle name was in celebration of V-J day. Although Jewish, he was born in a Catholic hospital where the nuns prevailed upon his mother to give him a middle name of Victor. He was not a fan of Roosevelt, but Franklin did love his name. He has an older brother Douglas Spellman, and a younger sister, Jill Polan.
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Booksellers

David A. Williamson

David A. Williamson began collecting Stephen King novels and memorabilia in the 1980s and has amassed a collection that ranks as one of the largest in the world. In 2009, he bought Betts Books and one of his greatest joys is helping other King collectors find that “special” collectible for their own collections. He lives in Fairfield, CT, is married and has three children. He has generously shared his collecting experience and expertise with Books Tell You Why in the following interview.
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Article

The Memory of Mankind. The Story of Libraries since the Dawn of History

After the Renaissance, libraries found themselves faced with the task of solving hitherto unknown problems of internal organization; and again after the Enlightenment had produced the type of the scholarly reference library, the nineteenth century found itself harried by a series of grave new problems of organization. As the Renaissance was ushered in, large numbers of books had been transferred to new owners, and this took place at the beginning of the Enlightenment to an even greater degree. In the earlier age the Reformation had provided the impetus; now it was the French Revolution.
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Article

The Curse of St Clements - or, A Tale of Peril and Redemption

When Leslie asked me to talk to you about books, and my bookselling career – if bookselling can be called a career – I decided that, this being the Osborne Collection, I should confine myself to children's books This will not be hard to do, because children's books have always had a central place in my life I should warn you though, that tonight you are going to get less of my daring adventures as a bookseller, and more of my conclusions about books, especially children's books, gained from 40 years experience of bookselling
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