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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade

From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

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51st California International Antiquarian Book Fair opens today!

Recognized as one of the world's largest and most prestigious exhibitions of antiquarian books, this eagerly anticipated bi-annual fair gives visitors the opportunity to see, learn about and purchase the finest in rare books, manuscripts, autographs, graphics, photographs and more.
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Papier Mâché and The Private Library

"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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The Rare Book Trade – Transhumance

What could be more mysterious than the irresistible signals sent by the turning of the seasons? Now the days lengthen as the sun proceeds toward its summer destiny. The lilac has come into bloom and faded. The shad bush has leafed out. Alewives struggle upstream, and elvers wriggle down to the sea. The IRS has been paid, the soldiers honored, and the peas planted. Like a salamander crawling out of the muck, I obey nature's call and head north – part of a transhumance that has been taking place since the beginning of bookseller chronicles. It's time for another New Hampshire book fair.
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Book Collecting Basics - A History of the Bastard Title

At last, it is time to read your new book. It is a crisp evening and you have made a cup of your favorite tea. You splurged and even made a fire. You sink into your chair and look at the book's cover, tracing the title with your fingertip. You sip your tea and open to the first page. Blank. You turn the page. Nearly blank, except for the title - again. With some impatience, you turn to the next page. Here the title is presented a third time but with the welcome addition of the author and publisher. Your tea nearly finished, you quickly flip past the table of contents, list of illustrations, author's note, preface, introduction, and dedication. As your fire burns out, you reach page one. As any reader knows, a book can offer a vast amount of information before the "first" page. But why, one wonders, do some books display the title no less than three times in succession? None will dispute the cover: printing the title there seems obvious and right. Even the title page, listing the title, author, and publisher, passes with little argument. But why this in-between page, this unneeded repetition between the two? Why, in the words of old-fashioned bookbinders, this bastard title?
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Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Carried Away

People tend to get carried away by the romance of old books and paper, and it's easy to see why. The thrill of the hunt, the joys discovery, and the marvelous stories locked up in dusty old letters, journals, and books provide a perfect escape – an antidote to the stresses of our daily lives. Unfortunately, overworked librarians and book dealers often find that their interaction with books and manuscripts devolves into an insistent time/money proposition. As much as we'd like to linger over an ancient text, or just sit down and read the damned thing, we've got to get that bugger cataloged and shelved. There's work to be done! We wind up stressing out over the very things that should be affording us relief. So it's a delight when, every once in a while, something comes along that is so arresting and charismatic that it commands our complete attention and gobbles up our time, productivity be damned.
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First Issue/State and "Points"

In the case of a number of books, particularly those published before 1900, one can differentiate between the first and later printings only by being aware of the changes made between printings. These changes can be in the text, the type used, the number of pages, the dates in the ads, or the type of binding (cloth, leather, boards, wrappers).
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