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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
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Press Articles

Bibliomaniacs in Battersea

Published on 08 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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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Article

“When I have a little money, I buy books; and if I have any left, I buy food and clothes.”

Are you a book collector who fully comprehends this sentiment expressed by the Dutch philosopher and humanist, Erasmus of Rotterdam?
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Article

Publishers, Booksellers and Rare Book Dealers in Exile - A Biographical Handbook by Ernst Fischer

Thousands of authors, artists, musicians, scientists were forced to leave Nazi Germany after 1933, among them hundreds of publishers, booksellers, literary agents, auctioneers, and rare book dealers. In England or Palestine, the Netherlands or Scandinavia, the United States or South America, they tried to find asylum and to build up a new existence. Some of them failed, others succeeded, established new companies, and played an important role in exile, in their new home countries, and in the international book trade. Although this was probably the most dramatic event in the history of the trade, there had been no attempt to research the fate of all those displaced publishers, booksellers and antiquarian book dealers, until Ernst Fischer's biographical handbook "Verleger, Buchhändler & Antiquare aus Deutschland und Österreich in der Emigration nach 1933" was published by the German Antiquarian Booksellers' Association (VDA) in January 2011.
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Article

A Brief History of Broadsides

Samuel F Haven, former librarian for the American Antiquarian Society, presided over one of the largest collections of broadsides in the world. Historians and rare book collectors alike cherish broadsides because they offer snapshots of moments in time, helping us to understand the zeitgeist of that era. Broadsides make ideal complements to a rare book collection, granting the collection greater depth and context.
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Booksellers

Living With - And From - Books, Part 2

This catalogue, consisting of 34 pages, printed on plain paper in June 1921, for us is just like a "Number One Dime", a Disney's good luck charm at the beginning of a long series of publications. The index of subjects is already quite significant: next to fine arts, philosophy, Italian literature and religions, we find, as a matter of fact, unusual entries, such as "anecdotes", "curiosities", "erotica" and "freemasonry". Going through the pages of this family, but also historical, treasure, 90 years after its publication, is really touching. The delicate pages yellowed with dignity, its simple cover in light green wrappers, a little worn out and with a few brown spots, the border surrounding the title - that would have remained as the graphical design for some years to come - make this "elderly and distinguished gentleman" closer to the dust-jacket first editions of the beginning of the century, which are now for sale on the shelves of the bookshop, than to the modern and colourful recently published "colleagues".
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Article

Why The New York Antiquarian Book Fair Matters – To You, Me, and Everyone We Know

I didn't take any pictures at the New York Book Fair this year. I'm not much of a picture taker in the most relaxed of times, but at any given book event I can usually be counted on to snap a shot or two of my favorite booksellers in action; another few of my booth (mostly to remind me how I want – or don't want – the booth to look next year); and another batch recording my after-hours activities, which generally involve intemperate helpings of food and drink at the sorts of restaurants which, though generally above my pay grade, seem suddenly (alas, illusorily) within reach after a day spent selling high-priced rarities. But in New York I never had the chance, or even the inclination, to take any of my customary photos, despite the fact that I'm toting a spanking-new iPhone with what's reputed to be the best built-in digicam on any phone anywhere. (Well, okay, I did take one accidental snapshot of my left shoe while fumbling around looking for an old picture to show a customer…but that was it). No friends, no booth, no food – nothing. Why? you ask. Well, call me paradoxical, but the reason is simple and clear: the New York Book Fair is too important to be photographed.
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