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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
Press Articles

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

Published on 20 Feb. 2014
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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Press Articles

Rare Books in the Press - 16th-century manuscript could rewrite Australian history

Published on 17 Jan. 2014
"A tiny drawing of a kangaroo curled in the letters of a 16th-century Portuguese manuscript could rewrite Australian history. The document, acquired by Les Enluminures Gallery in New York, shows a sketch of an apparent kangaroo (''canguru'' in Portuguese) nestled in its text and is dated between 1580 and 1620. It has led researchers to believe images of the marsupial were already being circulated by the time the Dutch ship Duyfken - long thought to have been the first European vessel to visit Australia - landed in 1606." Read the whole story by Charli Newton in The Age:
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Press Articles

Rare Books in the Press - Prison Memoir of a Black Man in the 1850s

Published on 13 Dec. 2013
"Years ago, a rare-books dealer browsing at an estate sale in Rochester came across an unusual manuscript, dated 1858. The family selling it said little about where it had been for the last 150 years. It appeared never to have left upstate New York. Scholars now believe that the mystery manuscript is the first recovered memoir written in prison by an African-American, a discovery that Yale University says it made after authenticating the document and acquiring it for its Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library." Read the whole story in The New York Times.
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Press Articles

Rare Books in the Press: Bibliophilia for Beginners

Published on 02 Dec. 2011
"You may think that no gift could be safer or tamer than a book. Rare books, however, are a different beast—if you're planning to buy one for a friend, or to treat yourself, remember the advice that is always given about dogs: They are not just for Christmas. In Arturo Pérez-Reverte's thriller "The Dumas Club," the satanic book dealer Varo Borja declares: "Becoming a book collector is like joining a religion: It's for life." All collecting is a disease, but lusting after rare books often strikes those without the bug as deranged. Unlike paintings or fine furniture, say, books are intrinsically mass-produced objects. What's more, you can look at a watercolor or a piece of porcelain without doing it any damage, but—according to the memoirs of the writer and collector John Baxter—a rare book loses $5 in value every time you open it."
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Press Articles

„Aus dem Antiquariat“ - The September Issue of the German Magazine for Antiquarian Booksellers and Book Collectors

Published on 05 Oct. 2011
Gerd Rosen was a famous and exceptional antiquarian book dealer, with a remarkable career - and not without controversy. Although of Jewish origin, his contacts to the Nazi regime allowed him to keep working during the Third Reich. After the War he opened a gallery for contemporary art at the Kurfürstendamm in Berlin as early as 1945. The gallery became the centre of the new Berlin art scene, although Gerd Rosen quarrelled with its most prominent artists. A financial crises followed in 1950. Gerd Rosen had to close his gallery, but it took him only a short time to start a new career as an antiquarian bookseller, auctioneer, and bibliomaniac. The recent issue of the German magazine "Aus dem Antiquariat" presents an excellent article on Gerd Rosen's life and career which is, at the same time, a look back into the history of the German antiquarian book trade from the 1930s to the 1960s.
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Press Articles

Rare Books in the Press: The Death of the Book

Published on 20 April 2011
The book is dead, murdered by the internet and buried with a Kindle on its coffin … Or not? The death of the book is not a modern phenomenon, says Ben Ehrenreich in the Los Angeles Review of Books: "Nor is it new to point out that people have been diagnosing - and celebrating - the book's imminent demise for generations." As early as 1913 a futurist manifesto demanded "a typographic revolution directed against the idiotic and nauseating concepts of the outdated and conventional book".
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Press Articles

"Our paper-based inheritance" - G. Thomas Tanselle

Published on 04 Dec. 2009
G. Thomas Tanselle in the Times Literary Supplement: "'We have to protect our paper-based inheritance'. The most fundamental reason for this necessity – this increasingly urgent necessity – is simply that manuscripts and printed books are artefacts; and all artefacts, being physical survivors, give us direct access to parts of a vanished world ..."
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Booksellers

Edith Finer

People always assume I got into law books because my husband was a lawyer. Actually I studied economics, took a diploma in social sciences and trained as a juvenile probation officer. In those days you had to be twenty-six before you could do that job. As I was too young at the time, I decided to start a research agency. I was already married with children and it was just about possible to combine the work with running a home.
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Article

ILAB on the Road - Antiquarian Booksellers of Santiago de Chile, Montevideo and Buenos Aires

From the 25th of October until the 11th of November, I visited the antiquarian booksellers in the capitals of the Southern South American countries of Chile, Uruguay and Argentina. The first book published in the Americas was published in Mexico in the 16th century and thus Latin America has had a rich and long history of printing and publishing and therefore is an important part of the global history and culture of the book.
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Article

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - The Book is the Weapon

I've often been told that the pen (and by extension, the book) is mightier than the sword. But what if the book is the sword? Uwe Wandrey's Kampfreime is a collection of rhymed chants meant for use during the German Student Movement. As far as my research can tell, it is also the first book to be designed as a weapon, and as such is a landmark in book design.
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Article

Art and the World's First Novel

What is generally acknowledged as the world's first novel was written by a Japanese woman a thousand years ago. The Tale of Genji, by Murakasi Shikibu (known as Lady Murakasi in the West), is regarded to be an accurate description of life in the imperial court in the Heian era (794 - 1185 CE). The daughter of a scholar and an officer of the court, she was given a male's education. Being a lady-in-waiting herself, she was privy to life at court.
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Article

How to Prevent Ghosting and Shadowing in Rare Books

When it comes to rare books, condition is everything. Any kind of damage, discoloration, or flaws can significantly impact a book's value. One of the most common flaws we see in rare and antiquarian books is a condition called ghosting or shadowing. This condition occurs when a page fades unevenly, leaving a visible outline on the page.
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