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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
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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

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GONZALO FERNANDÉZ PONTES - NEW PRESIDENT OF THE INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE OF ANTIQUARIAN BOOKSELLERS

At the Ordinary General Meeting on 20th September 2016 in Budapest the presidents of ILAB's 22 national member associations voted for Gonzalo Fernandez Pontes (Spain) as new ILAB President. He succeeds Norbert Donhofer (Austria) who served as President from 2014 to 2016; and he will be supported by ILAB Vice‐President Sally Burdon (Australia).
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Article

Antiquarian Booksellers’ Conferences 1947-1949

Tardily other countries followed the British example and, by the time the Second World War ended, there were associations in France, Holland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy and Finland. Many of the countries concerned endured the rigours of enemy occupation; all had after war problems, not the least of which was the treatment of members who had collaborated with the enemy. But there were also problems of exchange control and the regulation of imports and exports, which were new to most European countries. In 1947, therefore, the Dutch association took the initiative by approaching the British, as the senior body, with the suggestion that an international conference should be called, that invitations should be extended to all those countries in which an Association of Antiquarian Booksellers existed, and that delegates should submit the many problems that beset them to a general discussion. The Dutch offered the conference a home in Amsterdam and, in September, 1947, the representatives of nine countries gathered, under the chairmanship of the British president, for the first international conference ever held by the antiquarian book trade. The delegates were unanimous in their desire for the formation of an international body and the British association – the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association (International) – was entrusted with the task of calling together the presidents of the respective associations to draft a constitution.
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Article

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions: It's Purely Academic at The Private Library

Anyone who reads much so-called academic fiction may be forgiven for thinking that some of the folks teaching our sons and daughters are, for the most part, a bunch of narcissistic, neurotic misfits (Malcom Bradbury: The History Man; Elain Showalter: Faculty Towers). Although the rise of this fictional genre began in earnest in the mid 1950s, its roots can be traced as far back as Anthony Trollope's 1857 novel of provincial Anglican preferment, Barchester Towers, and - more to the point - George Eliot's Middlemarch (1872).
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Article

Die Unsterblichkeit der Sterne – Francisco de Goya, Walter Benjamin, Václav Havel

Blank, specialist in 18th to 20th century literature and philosophy, reconstructed Kafka's library which was given as a present to the city of Prague by the Porsche AG in the year 2002. His other life long passion was Walter Benjamin. After the Kafka project Blank reconstructed Benjamin's library. He compiled all the books Benjamin had owned before his library was lost during the Nazi regime. Blank's catalogue "In Walter Benjamins Bibliothek. Dokumentation einer verlorenen Bibliothek" was published in 2006. Now the books most important to Walter Benjamin, and some of the most rare and beautiful ones, are exhibited at the Centre for Persecuted Art in Solingen. A model of the memorial at Port Bou, where Benjamin took his life after his failed escape from the Nazis, is also shown.
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