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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
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

Article

Undercover Books

The Books You Never Knew You Wanted - Simon Beattie has revived his blog which talks about some of the more curious and interesting books he came across. The latest post is about a French saboteur's manual, disguised as a dictionary. It's a French camouflaged-book, a "Tarnschrift".
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Article

Collecting French Literature - Victor Hugo: An Influential Life of Political Passion

When it comes to French literature, one name is frequently the first to come to mind: Victor Hugo. While he is known internationally for his famous novel, Les Misérables, he is better known in his home country as a leading poet during the Romantic movement.
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Article

Book-Jackets: Their History, Form, and Use, by G. Thomas Tanselle

Book-jackets (or "dust-jackets," as they are often called), have been regularly used in America and some European countries since the early part of the 19th century. Historians of publishing practices, however, have not accorded these detachable coverings with the scrutiny that one would expect for such a noticeable phenomenon. The new book by G. Thomas Tanselle examines dust jackets as resources for biography, bibliography, cultural analysis, and development of graphic design, while surveying their use by publishers and scholars of literature, art and book history.
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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

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions: E. B. White

White produced rare and collectible books in a number of fields - his early books of humor with a decidedly New Yorker flavor - The Lady is Cold (1929, poetry, as "E.B.W.") and Is Sex Necessary? (1930, with James Thurber). His serious essays, written for The New Yorker and Harper's, such as One Man's Meat (1942, and a scarce title in fine condition because of its wartime vintage), and his children's books, particularly Charlotte's Web (1952) and Stuart Little (1945, the jacket for this title was apparently unchanged except for the price over the first few printings, so unprice-clipped jackets command a premium, and should).
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Article

The London Antiquarian Book Fair Season 2012

With the 55th London International Antiquarian Book Fair the oldest and one of the biggest and most important fairs worldwide will open its doors to visitors from 24th to 26th May 2012. This years Fair at the National Hall (Olympia) will be the best yet; with more exhibitors, more books, maps, prints, ephemera and manuscripts in a bigger and better hall providing more space on stands, wider aisles, ample space to sit and relax in three different cafes. Nearly 200 exhibitors from the UK and all over the world will offer highlights of the trade, from a hand-written account of Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens to a very rare signed limited issue of Ian Fleming's On Her Majesty's Secret Service to a signed expense account for The Sex Pistols. Whatever you collect, whatever your subject, curiosity or indulgence, you will find something to capture your imagination and interest at the Olympia Fair - and not only there. The 55th International Antiquarian Book Fair - organised by the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association (ABA) - is the most outstanding in a series of book fairs held in London at the end of May. This is a short summary of all the fairs, with links to the official websites.
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