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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

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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

"AUTHENTICITY" - Symposium held at the Library of Congress (Rare Book and Special Collections Division) on 6th December 2013

The Library of Congress announces a symposium on "Authenticity", a program that will look at one of the most difficult subjects facing libraries, private collectors, and booksellers today - judging the genuineness of printed materials. The symposium will take place on 6th December 2013. It will not focus on theft or forgery, but rather on the research which curators, scholars, and conservators have been conducting regarding all elements of printing and book production. The program will include specialists who are at the cutting edge of research on printing techniques, paper manufacture, binding construction, and typography. They will include scholars, conservators, scientists, and booksellers who are dedicated to establishing methods for determining authenticity in the field of rare books, prints, and manuscripts.
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Article

First Impressions – Anne Lamort and Liam McGahern at the 39th Congress of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers

Colleagues, accomplices, competitors, guests, in short, happy. Absents are, as ever, wrong. Come on, I do have to confess that it was my first ILAB Congress, and that it took some of Neveen Marshiset' enthousiasm to convince me to leave my beloved bookshop. My thanks go to her ! This congress has turned out to be an opportunity to discover Bologna and its region. But not only that. I have to add the multiple encounters with professionals from all over the world, and even with amateurs who had joined the congress. The receptions in exceptionnaly beautiful private homes, the local gastronomy and the smiling kindness of the Italians did the rest.
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Booksellers

Alan Shelley (1941 - 2009)

The death of Alan Shelley from cancer at the age of 68 on November 18th at Chailey Hospice, near Lewes, is an occasion of great sadness to his family and to his many friends both within and without the rare book trade. He had resigned from the Presidency of the ABA only three weeks before on the grounds of ill health after a notably successful spell at a difficult time in the Association's affairs.
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Article

Lines in the Ice

I really rather enjoy these smaller-scale exhibitions (i.e. the free ones) at the British Library. You get a distinct sense that the bright young curators have just been left to get on with it, without undue interference from the message-spinners and marketing types. The latest, Lines in the Ice: Seeking the Northwest Passage, which opened a few days ago, is excellent and demands a visit.
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Article

How to Identify Rare Books and First Editions - Surrender the Ship?

How to identify a rare book? "I got stumped last week, trying to catalog a book I'd recently purchased. It was the first full length biography of the American naval hero James Lawrence, and it was supposed to be 244 pages long. However, my copy seemed complete at page 240, which ended with the word "finis." I must've spent an hour pouring through my reference books trying to reconcile the discrepancy. I had a dim recollection of the pagination issue being explained to me by the gentleman from whom I'd purchased the book. But I couldn't remember the details, and I couldn't piece it together from the bibliographies ..."
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