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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

ILAB History

ABA History 1906-1984, Part 2

At this point - except for a tributory bow towards all those, named or not, who had set and kept the ABA in motion, and a passage on the then imminent fiftieth anniversary and tenth Congress - Dudley Massey's account concludes. To the far from dauntless continuator its coverage seems considerable and its evidence of determined burrowing in files and minutes impressive.
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Article

DE CARO AND THE GIROLAMINI THEFTS – More from Italy

Recent news on the Girolamini thefts: Marino Massimo de Caro had given an interview to an Italian newspaper in which he accused antiquarian booksellers and auctioneers to manipulate valuable books – scratching out stamps, removing old ownership labels and/or gluing those to others. ILAB and ALAI refused to file a law-suit against both the reporter and Mr De Caro for giving such a scandalous interview, but the President of ALAI, Fabrizio Govi, and the former Director of the Italian National Libraries, Dr Daniele Danesi, have responded to it in a serious and widely read newspaper in Italy. Read the following letter to the Presidents of ILAB's member associations, by ILAB President Norbert Donhofer:
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Article

In the Press - Bulk of Sendak collection leaving Rosenbach

"Nearly half a century ago, the Rosenbach Museum and Library began building a relationship with the young author and illustrator Maurice Sendak, who very quickly started using the townhouse museum on Delancey Place as a repository for his original drawings, manuscripts, proofs, and rare editions. Through the years the numbers mounted, and today about 10,000 items of Sendakiana, from original artwork to finished editions, fill the Rosenbach - the museum's best calling card with generations that grew up with his books.But now that card is being recalled."
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Article

Book Scouting in ... England, Scotland, Ireland

I wish I were the kind of traveler who blogs fluently, breezily, in the moment, from foreign sidewalk cafés and park benches. Instead, I am one who, two weeks after she's returned home, remembers that she intended to blog about her June book-scouting tour, and not just post the occasional photo to Facebook. Here are some belated highlights.
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Article

Graham York's 3000 mile trip from Devon through Europe selling books at the ILAB Fair in Budapest and Amsterdam

The plan was to take four days to reach Budapest, spend four days there, four days to drive to Amsterdam, spend four days there, then two days to get home via Bruges (favourite restaurant). We had two rules - we only stop at places we've never been to, and no alcohol with lunch for me given the zero legal limit in some countries - Jan, however, doesn't drive...
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