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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
 
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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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Collecting

A New Edition of A Gentle Madness - Catching up with Nick Basbanes

Published on 08 June 2012
Ask any book collector about his favorite classic of collecting, and Nick Basbanes' Gentle Madness, first published in 1995, is undoubtedly at the top of the list. Now an updated edition of this book about the "Eternal Passion for Books" has been published. Rebecca Rego Barry asked Nick Basbanes about the book, how it affected his career, and what he's currently working on. Some snippets:
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Collecting

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - OenoLit and The Private Library

Published on 24 May 2012
Given that the first book printed from moveable type in Western Europe, the Gutenberg Bible, contains numerous references to wine, and given that the technology for printing that first book may itself have been modeled upon the screw press used to extract wine from grapes, this writer has always found it puzzling that the cultivation, processing, distribution and consumption of wine is rarely a major thematic element in works of fiction.
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46 - 54 / 76

From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Article

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Under the influence

This is the first edition in Russian of Thomas De Quincey's famous Confessions of an English Opium Eater (1822), a very rare book. The title reads: The confession of an Englishman who has taken opium. A work by Maturin, the author of Melmoth. The attribution is to the Irishman Charles Maturin, whose Melmoth the Wanderer (1820) had been published in Russian (via a French translation) in 1833.
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Article

From the ILAB Archives: Amsterdam 1947 - A Bookseller's Wife Looks at Her Diary

In 1977, the 24th ILAB Congress and 7th ILAB International Antiquarian Book Fair took place in Düsseldorf, Germany. On this occasion, Karl H. Pressler, former editor of the German booksellers' magazine "Aus dem Antiquariat", published a special issue with articles about the League and its history written by representatives of the international rare book trade such as Menno Hertzberger, Helmuth Domizlaff, Percy H. Muir, Georges A. Deny, Dr. Lotte Roth-Wölfle, Stanley Crowe, and Barbara Kaye Muir.The wife of Percy H. Muir, a celebrated author, accompanied her husband to many congresses and meetings from the beginnings in 1947 up to the 1960s. Some of her memoirs were published in her books "Second Impression" and "The Company We Kept", published by Oak Knoll Press and Werner Shaw Ltd. In 1947 Barbara Kaye Muir joined her husband Percy on his trip to the Preliminary Conference in Amsterdam where the Presidents of the ten founding associations of the League came together on invitation of Menno Hertzberger. She witnessed the official discussions and talks behind the scenes along with the life and economic situation in Post War Amsterdam - and she received a lesson in drinking Dutch Genever.
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Article

Codex Calixtinus manuscript stolen from Santiago de Compostela

"A priceless 12th-century illustrated manuscript containing what has been described as Europe's first travel guide has been stolen from the cathedral at Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain. The Codex Calixtinus, which was kept in a safe at the cathedral's archives, is thought to have been stolen by professional thieves on Sunday afternoon. Archivists did not notice its disappearance, however, until Tuesday, when the cathedral's dean was told it was missing." (The Guardian)
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Booksellers

Booksellers in the Press: How much are signed books worth?

BBC journalist Duncan Leatherdale looks at author's autographs, presentation and dedication copies and asks ILAB bookseller Pom Harrington why some books are more valuable than others.
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Article

You Can Quote Me On That

My catalogs are shorter, each consisting a single item, and they are even more "special" since they only go to one person each – with photographs, but digitally. They are called "quotes" and they're what little guys like me – specialist dealers – do instead of accumulating 350,000 books and hiring a prodigy like Dan Gregory to sell them. I suspect the act of "quoting" books has been around since 1455. In the old days we used carrier pigeons. Later, we graduated to postcards. Kevin Johnson of Royal Books is a terrific bookseller. He makes the point that people actually like being contacted by dealers, especially if we're offering material that stimulates their interest. He prefers telephone, but I'm too shy. I use email instead. Still, it amounts to the same thing – we put the book in the person's hand and say, "Look at this! Isn't it cool? I'm really excited about it."
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Article

Reading The Landscape At The Sterling Morton Library

Summertime is almost here, and the living should be easy. But if you want your plants to grow as high as the cotton in Porgy and Bess, early summer is also the time to take Candide's advice to tend your own garden. The Sterling Morton Library, located at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, IL., has created a virtual exhibit so beautiful that even those in the grip of early midsummer malaise will be inspired to get out the gardening gloves.
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