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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
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Books about Books

Yale University Press - The Voynich Manuscript

Published on 25 April 2017
In February 2014, media reported a breakthrough that had 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. The BBC and several news channels reported on the case. Yale University Press has now published the "first authorized copy of this mysterious, much-speculated-upon, one-of-a-kind, centuries-old puzzle." (Yale)
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Books about Books

Rebecca Romney's "Printer's Error" just published

Published on 15 March 2017
ABAA bookseller and ILAB member Rebecca Romney of Honey & Wax Books, well known for her TV appearances in the History Channel's "Pawn Stars" has just published her first book "Printer's Error - Irreverent Stories from Book History". This book should be a delight to any collector, dealer or bibliophile in general. A wonderful idea to put together a collection of "absurd" moments in the lives of authors and printers throughout book history.
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Books about Books

Dictionaries - Surveying the Territory

Published on 19 May 2014
No one has ever compiled a complete catalogue of all of the world's reference books, and the task won't be easy. Not all the world's libraries have been catalogued; not all the library catalogues are available in electronic form; not all the electronic catalogues can be searched from a central location. And sometimes the query is too much for the catalogue. The Library of Congress Online Catalog, when asked to display all its holdings with the word dictionary in the title, comes back with an error message: "Your search retrieved more records than can be displayed. Only the first 10,000 will be shown." The same thing happens when you search for encyclopedia.
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Books about Books

Nominated for the 16th ILAB Breslauer Prize for Bibliography – Jon Gilbert's Ian Fleming Bibliography

Published on 19 Sept. 2013
When the 16th ILAB Breslauer Prize for Bibliography will be awarded during the 41st ILAB Congress in April 2014, the Prize Jury will have had to fulfill an almost impossible task. The jury of Felix de Marez Oyens, David Adams, Jean-Marc Chatelain, Arnoud Gerits, Poul Jan Poulsen, and Umberto Pregliasco will have to choose the best book about books from an impressive list of 70 bio-bibliographical works published between 2009 and 2012. Among them is: John Gilbert: Ian Fleming. The Bibliography.
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Books about Books

Nominated for the 16th ILAB Breslauer Prize for Bibliography – D. J. Bromer’s Aldous Huxley Bibliography

Published on 12 Sept. 2013
During the 41st ILAB Congress, preceded by ILAB's International Antiquarian Book Fair, both in Paris in April 2014, the 16th ILAB Breslauer Prize for Bibliography of 10.000 USD will be awarded. Since 1967, when Jean Peeters-Fontainas received the first Prize for his outstanding "Bibliographie des impressions Espagnoles aux Pays-Bas méridionaux", famous scholars have submitted the best books about books. Many of them have become standard works both in scientific research and in the antiquarian book trade. Seventy books about books have been submitted to the Prize, which has become one of the most prestigious international awards. Among them many bio-bibliographical studies of the life and works of famous authors such as John Gilbert's highly praised Ian Fleming bibliography or C. E. Grissom's, D. C. Smith's and D. A. Richards' excellent works on Ernest Hemingway, H. G. Wells and Rudyard Kipling. Another brilliant book is devoted to an author who gave us the image of a "Brave New World": Aldous Huxley.
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Article

Do Rare Books Appreciate in Value?

I was recently asked by a reporter to comment on this question, and I offered some specific examples. As is often the case, my comments in the article, as well as an explanation of the examples, were very much cut for space (no hard feelings, I understand how these things go). But I thought I would provide the examples here, as well as a fuller answer to this question of how much rare books appreciate in value.
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Article

The Final Chapter of Books about Books: New beginnings for Oak Knoll

In early 2006, however, John told me that it was time for him to retire. I had known this time would eventually come (though I had been hoping he would work into his 90s!). But when he talked about the books he wanted to write and the travel he wanted to do, it was hard to come up with a convincing argument for postponing retirement. I then had to make yet one more decision. I was going to turn 60 in February of 2007, so perhaps it was time to think about slowing down and eliminating some of the stress in my life. I knew that my stress level could only increase once John had gone, as he was going to be hard to replace. My time at the beach house was so relaxing that I could visualize a lighter work load with more vacation time. I loved reading and collecting (especially in the field of Delaware history). Was this the time to sell the publishing business?
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Article

14th Congress of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers, Paris 1961

"Our ILAB Congresses are an important part of the infrastructures and networking possibilities of all dealers, the place where friendships are made or renewed and where we have the possibility of visiting libraries and seeing books not always very easily accessible and where we can experience other cultures and other traditions while the fair offers the possibility to meet new customers in a country not all of us visit regularly. In a globalizing world, in a world that seems to become smaller and smaller we sometimes tend to forget that personal contacts, that meeting real people, is still of greatest importance: the ILAB Congress offers precisely that opportunity to meet people who are active in the same profession and with whom we can discuss topics of mutual interest, exchange ideas and explore new possibilities." (ILAB President Arnoud Gerits) After the 40th ILAB Congress in Switzerland in September 2012 the antiquarian booksellers will look forward to meeting each other again in Paris in 2014. The 41st ILAB Congress will be one of many occasions in the history of League where ILAB affiliates come together in France on invitation of the Syndicat National de la Librairie Ancienne et Moderne (SLAM) which will celebrate its centennial in 2014. The 14th Congress, for example, was also held in Paris, and it was an exciting event.
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Article

ILAB Internships – Out of the Classroom, into the World: Madrid, Spain 2013

My internship in Spain is over – six weeks, spent in this beautiful country, has ended up and I am back to Russia to my family. These two weeks in Madrid were full of impressions and events. Gonzalo Fernandes Pontes, president of AILA, and his wife Lourdes made everything to enrich my knowledge in antiquarian books and its market, to help me with my research, not to talk about their hospitality and readiness to give me a hand anytime.
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Article

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Margaret Fuller: America's First Feminist

May 23 is the birthday of writer Margaret Fuller (1810), who is considered the first American feminist. She wrote Women in the Nineteenth Century (1845), which is regarded as the first major feminist work published in the country. It was first published in The Dial Magazine, for which Fuller had served as founding editor before turning those duties over to co-founder Ralph Waldo Emerson. In the book, Fuller argued that mankind would evolve to understand divine love and that women alongside men would share in divine love. Fuller was a favorite in the New England Transcendentalist community. Among her friends were Bronson Alcott (Louisa May's father), Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry David Thoreau, and Horace Greeley, for whom she worked as first literary critic of the New York Tribune. She served as foreign correspondent for the Tribune, touring Europe and setting in Rome, where she married. She was returning to the United States in 1850 but drowned, along with her husband and young son, when her ship hit a sandbar and sank off New York. She was 40 years old.
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