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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
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Collecting

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Chapbooks: Short Books with Long History

Published on 07 Oct. 2013
Scholars debate over the etymology of the term "chapbook." Some argue that "chap" is derived from "cheap," surely an accurate description of chapbooks, since they were indeed cheap little publications. But the more widely accepted explanation is that "chap" comes from the Old English "céap," meaning "barter" or "deal." Peddlers came to be known as chaps, and they were the primary purveyors of chapbooks. Whatever the origin of their name, chapbooks became a vital tool for dissemination of information and promotion of literacy. As publishing and readers' tastes evolved, chapbooks also provided an ideal means of addressing an increased demand for children's literature.
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Collecting

Banned Books Week - ‘All that Hell could vomit forth’

Published on 23 Sept. 2013
This week is Banned Books Week. I've written about banned books before: the infamous Protocols of the Elders of Zion, in the Weimar Republic, in the Soviet Union. Here's something a little earlier: the libellous Philippiques of François-Joseph de Lagrange-Chancel (1677–1758). These virulent satires against the Regent, the duc d'Orléans, enjoyed a huge popularity in manuscript throughout the eighteenth century, as the varied examples here show. 'In spite of its imperfections and crying injustice, it is the monument of satire in France' (Nouvelle biographie générale).
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Collecting

The Life and Library of Victor Manheimer – A New Book by Sebastian Kötz

Published on 18 Sept. 2013
In the year 1927 a library of Baroque literature was auctioned in Munich at Karl & Faber. Nowadays, the catalogue of this auction belongs to the main reference works which are quoted by antiquarian booksellers, bibliographers and auctioneers when it comes to cataloguing literature of that period. Owner of the library was the German Jewish bibliophile Victor Manheimer.
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Collecting

You don’t by any chance know the way through this labyrinth, do you?

Published on 09 May 2013
Having thought about it though, it did occur to me that the real problem with that Treasure Detectives malarkey was not even the fact that they had no clue what they were on about … more the fact that to someone "normal" it would be really hard to tell. If I were wandering the earth all besotted with books and suddenly had a windfall from a mysterious Romanian Great Uncle I'd never previously heard of, and I wanted to start collecting books … how would I go about it? First … there are rules. They are for you, and like all of the best rules, they are rules that don't just apply to book collecting.
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Collecting

How to Prevent Ghosting and Shadowing in Rare Books

Published on 21 March 2013
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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Collecting

Hard-Boiled Detective Fiction and The Private Library

Published on 18 March 2013
One of the most popular components of a private library is the mystery genre, which comprises a vast array of sub-genres such as detective fiction. The genesis of the detective fiction sub-genre may be traced to a short story penned by Edgar Allan Poe in 1841 titled The Murders in the Rue Morgue. All the elements of what we today recognize as the essential characteristics of the sub-genre are found in this short story: a brutal murder; baffled police; an independent investigator that solves the case through superior intelligence, humbling the police in the process.
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Collecting

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Guiding Lights

Published on 14 Dec. 2012
I've ranted before about lighthouses being one of those subject areas from which collectors have mysteriously vanished. People scrabbling and clawing in the most fearsome way for lighthouse literature and then one day, more or less out of the blue, they don't want any at all. Not even the rarest material. I suspect that in this case, eBay and print-on-demand technology killed the market. The field was largely information driven, and once people got access to cheap reprints or bargain copies of scarce texts, the game was over for dealers like me.
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Collecting

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Why I Bothered

Published on 22 June 2012
"If you keep an open mind in this business, you learn something new every day." Greg Gibson on collecting the unusual: "Fire insurance mapping began in London in the 1700s, but it had never been applied with a systematic approach. In 1867 Daniel Alfred Sanborn, a surveyor from Massachusetts, saw the need for such a service, and quickly occupied that niche. By the late 1800s he had offices spanning the continent, sending out thousands of surveyors to record the footprints and construction details of buildings in American cities. Insurance companies could then use this information to write accurate policies, based on potential fire risk as documented by Sanborn's company."
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Collecting

Papier Mâché and The Private Library

Published on 22 June 2012
"One of the most unusual bindings one is likely to encounter among books purchased at yard sales, garage sales, friends-of-the-library book sales and the like is papier mâché." L.D. Mitchell on Papier Mâché and The Private Library.
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Article

Scholarship for Young Antiquarians - Report by Jennifer Johnson (ABAA) - My universe just got a whole lot larger.

The opportunity to travel to distant lands opens up new worlds for anyone. I am no exception. This particular adventure to attend the International League of Antiquarian Bookseller's Congress in Budapest was so much more meaningful to me on a larger scale.
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Article

ILAB Punks Out

Ever wonder what rare booksellers do after a book fair? If you guessed "almost anything" you'd probably be correct. But one particular past-time that rare booksellers pursue is music. Many ILAB members are musicians, both professional and otherwise. This year, after the doors closed on the Friday of the New York Antiquarian Book Fair, several dozen rare booksellers reconvened in a subterranean cavern at New York City's Lit Lounge to take in a performance by Dear Althea, a nearly all-girl punk band, featuring lead singer and guitarist Ashley Wildes, whose daytime alter-ego is that of a mild-mannered cataloguer at Between the Covers Rare Books.
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Article

Tokyo International Antiquarian Book Fair – 5th to 7th March 2015. Subscribe now!

The Antiquarian Booksellers Association of Japan (ABAJ) is pleased to announce the Tokyo International Antiquarian Book Fair 2015. As a celebration of its 50th anniversary, the ABAJ will be holding the International Antiquarian Book Fair in Tokyo from 5th to 7th March, 2015. ABAJ was founded in 1964, the same year of the Tokyo Olympics. Currently, with the hope and excitement towards the 2020 Olympics, the Japanese economy is in an upswing. The venue for the book fair will be the Hotel Grand Palace in Tokyo, which was also the site of the past two ILAB Book Fairs, one of them organized exactly ten years ago on the occasion of ABAJ's 40th anniversary.
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Article

Fictional Characters

In 1963 William Freeman, an Englishman, created the first Dictionary of Fictional Characters. It made 458 pages and was published by J.M. Dent Ltd. in London. The author was 83 years old when he finished this 2-year research project.
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Article

Collecting - The Life of the Great Creator of Sherlock Holmes

On the 7th of July, 1930, Arthur Conan Doyle died at age 71 from a heart attack. On this the 86th anniversary of his death, we'd like to look at this famous author, spiritualist & physician and his lifetime contribution to so many different fields! Conan Doyle (as he is often called, though Conan Doyle is a combination of his middle and last names, as Conan is not a surname, as people often think!) was not born under auspicious circumstances. His father, Charles Altamont Doyle, was an alcoholic and when Arthur was only 5 years old he and his siblings were dispersed to live with family and friends across Edinburgh. A few years later the family moved back together and for numerous years lived in near-poverty. Luckily, Doyle had wealthy family to support him and to send him to Jesuit boarding school in England for seven years beginning when he was nine years old. Despite a difficult home life and upbringing, Doyle apparently struggled leaving home for school – as he was incredibly close with his mother (and would remain so throughout his life) and cherished the stories she would tell him during his childhood. It is even said that his favorite part of school was writing letters home to his mother, and telling stories to his schoolmates that she had once told him!
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Article

Bibliographies - Exlibris

Online: Richard Braungart, Deutsche Ex Libris und andere Kleingraphik der Gegenwart - Gustav A. Seyler, „Illustriertes Handbuch der Ex-Libris-Kunde" - Book-Plate Collection Baron von Berlepsch - Gerhard Gnade, « Norwegian Ex Libris » - Egerton Castle, English Book-Plates - Augustus Wollaston Frank, "Catalogue of British and American Book-Plates (Ex Libris) - Arthur Vicars, Book-Plates 1893 - Henry W. Fincham and James R. Brown, A Bibliography of Book-Plates (Ex-Libris) - Herbert Gregson, « Ex Libris. A Collection of Book-Plate Designs by Herbert Gregson" - John B. Leicester Warren, "A Guide to the Study of Book-plates (Ex-Libris)" - Walter Hamilton, "Dated Book-Plates. A Treatise on their Origin and Development" - Walter Hamilton, "French Book-Plates. A Handbook for Ex-Libris Collectors"
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