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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 19 Aug. 2018
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 19 Aug. 2018
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 Aug. 2018
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 Aug. 2018
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 19 Aug. 2018
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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Books about Books

Absences - "Lost, Stolen or Shredded": Rick Gekoski's Stories of Missing Works of Art and Literature

Published on 19 Aug. 2018
As you may already have realised, I like books which have a story to tell. By this I mean not just the book's own internal narrative, but a copy of the book with its own individual history. Not necessarily a fine and obviously important provenance (although that's always very welcome), but just a tale of its own career in the world. I'm not deterred by a book with a previous owner's inscription, far from it – this can lead into that narrative and document some evidence of the book's initial audience and reception. Who bought this book when it first came out? Where did the book fit into that world rather than ours?
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Article

You Cataracts and Hurricanoes! - A Treatise on Meteorology: From the Encyclopedia Metropolitana

I focus not on a reference book but on a single entry today — still, it's large enough to be published as a substantial book in its own right. This is George Harvey's entry on meteorology for the Encyclopedia Metropolitana — what Tom McArthur calls "the grand but ill-fated Encyclopaedia Metropolitana." Samuel Taylor Coleridge was involved in the planning, though he backed out as soon as it began appearing in 1818, as did most of the others who started it. A total of thirty quarto volumes, stretching to more than 22,000 pages and 565 plates, appeared over the next twenty-eight years.
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Booksellers

Past Presidents of the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association - Alan Gradon Thomas (1911-1992)

This week – revisiting the past again with another in the occasional series on past presidents of the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association. Alan Gradon Thomas was born in Hampstead, North London, on the 19th October 1911 – the son of Albert Edward Thomas, a local newsagent and stationer, and his wife Evelyn Gradon, originally from Durham, who had married the previous year.
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Article

Charles Dickens collectors see prices rise as signed book fetches £275k, here's how to invest from just £100

"Charles Dickens is arguably the nation's greatest novelist – as well as the most collectable. A signed copy of A Tale Of Two Cities was last month put up for sale for a record-breaking £275,000. The previous top price paid for the Victorian author's work was $290,000 (£174,000) for a pre-publication copy of A Christmas Carol in 2009. The signed copy of A Tale Of Two Cities is special as it is inscribed to fellow writer George Eliot – real name Mary Ann Evans. But Brian Lake, president of the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association, says the key appeal of Dickens is that there is a wide range of books and ephemera to suit all pockets ..."
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Article

Taking a Gamble: On Being Wrong III

Here's something that has hung on the wall of every office I've had for the past five years (that four offices, in case you're counting). It's a single sheet; text and image on one side, text alone on the other. I have two more much like it. But I don't keep them up because I am interested in polo or Middle Eastern art. Or even because I like the images. They serve as a reminder.
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Article

ILAB POP UP FAIRS ON UNESCO WORLD BOOK & COPYRIGHT DAY - 23 APRIL 2016

On UNESCO World Book & Copyright Day 2015 ILAB booksellers brought the books to the people. They popped up at the most unexpected places, in schools, at train stations, restaurants, pubs, schools, museums, libraries, woolsheds, business clubs, in the streets, on boats, on skyscrapers. For 24 hours they were part of a great chain of books spanning across the world, raising over 10,000 Euros to support literacy worldwide and showing the most beautiful bookish items to people many of whom had never seen or touched such treasures before. It was an amazing experience. See the video on Youtube!
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Congress

1954 - Vienna

In 1954 the ILAB delegates met in Vienna for their 7th Congress in the history of the League. It was the time of the Cold War, Vienna was still divided into five occupation zones between the Soviet Union, the USA, the United Kingdom and France, and with the first district, the city centre, being patrolled by all four. Christian Nebehay, at that time President of the Austrian Antiquarian Booksellers' Asscociation (VAO), had invited the ILAB booksellers to Vienna. He and his colleagues had organized a fabulous congress programme including visits of libraries and palaces, concerts, flower bouquets and chocolate for the ladies, an elegant welcome reception - and a memorable "Heuriger" party.
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