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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
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Americana

Collecting - “He was America”: Carl Sandburg

Published on 21 July 2018
Admitting this is probably one of those phenomenally bad ideas I continuously have despite how much older I get, but I am one of those wicked people who pretended to know, well … something about this American literary star for many years. People would mention his name and I would be all, "Oh yes, Carl Sandburg, wow … it went for how much? Woah!" While casually hoping the conversation would change because as far as I knew I could not remember reading anything by this author and continually neglected to read up on him when I got to a quiet corner away from prying eyes. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I know it is a shocker but I am not omniscient (though I'm sure it seems that way most of the time. Eh-hem). So now, just in case any of you out there are like me and think you can continue fooling people into thinking you know about this magnificent man … think again!
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Americana

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Thomas Paine

Published on 21 July 2018
January 29 is the birthday of early American political activist Thomas Paine (1737), whose pamphlet Common Sense (1776) credited with inspiring American colonists to embrace the idea of independence from Great Britain. The American Revolution had already started but the work served to spur volunteers for the Continental Army. It was widely distributed throughout the colonies, read aloud in taverns, and unabashedly pirated. Some scholars say it was the first American bestseller.
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Americana

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - C. Perry Snell, Snell Isle's Visionary

Published on 21 July 2018
In the 1920s, dreamers and schemers descended on the Sunshine State bent on making a fortune in the burgeoning real estate market. In the earliest days of the Florida Land Boom, it seemed that one had but to imagine great wealth for it to be so. Parcels were bought and sold, sometimes within hours, at huge profits. The real estate bubble didn't last long - a scant five years or so - and when the end came some would-be real estate tycoons were stuck with land bought at inflated prices and no money. But there were developers who, though they had prospered during the boom, were cautious and had not been caught up in the buying frenzy. C. Perry Snell, for instance, had been in St. Petersburg for a couple of decades before the hubbub began. He had successfully developed residential projects that eventually became known as Old Northeast. He owned land bought many years before that he had not yet developed.
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Americana

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

Published on 21 July 2018
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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Americana

John Steinbeck and the Nixon Novel that Never Was

Published on 21 July 2018
Today we celebrate the birthday of legendary author John Steinbeck. Born on February 27, 1902 in Salinas, California, Steinbeck would become one of American's most notable authors. Steinbeck established himself as an author in an era when accomplished authors held considerable clout. Thus he one day found himself in a unique position: he held the upcoming United States presidential election in his hands.
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Americana

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Bread & Roses: The Strike That Changed Everything

Published on 21 July 2018
Needless to say, few strikes in American history have generated as much literature, music or folklore as did Lawrence. Given our interest in the art and literature of social movements, we're unavoidably drawn to this material, as are our customers – it tends to come and go with some regularity. Here are a few recent acquisitions that are still with us, each interesting for its own reasons.
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Americana

The American Gift Book

Published on 21 July 2018
In France the first gift book may have been ALMANACH DES MUSES, first published in 1765. This format was copied in Germany in 1770 with the publication of MUSEN-ALMANACH. In the 1790s some anthologies appeared in England that were clearly intended to be given as gifts, like ANGELICA'S LADIES LIBRARY, OR PARENTS AND GUARDIANS PRESENT (1794), which was followed by THE ANNUAL ANTHOLOGY (1799, 1800), edited by Robert Southey, and including twenty-seven poems and epigrams by Coleridge, plus contributions by Charles Lamb and Southey himself. A third volume was planned, but never appeared. These proto-gift books did not start a trend, and I know of no similar anthologies published in England during the next two decades. In the early years of the nineteenth century in Germany, some gift books (taschenbuch) were being issued in glazed paper boards, and in 1822 Rudolph Ackerman used those as his model when he published the first English gift book, the FORGET ME NOT, which he would publish without interruption for the next twenty-five years. Gift books like Ackerman's, which were issued year after year, became known as gift annuals, literary annuals, or simply "annuals." Since not all "annuals" were exclusively literary in their content, I will use the term "gift annual" to describe them as a subset of the broader family of gift books.
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Article

“When I have a little money, I buy books; and if I have any left, I buy food and clothes.”

Are you a book collector who fully comprehends this sentiment expressed by the Dutch philosopher and humanist, Erasmus of Rotterdam?
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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

Christmas and The Private Library, Part 3

Two other publications helped revitalize Christmas celebrations in the mid 19th century. The first was William Sandys' Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern (1833), where many now-beloved Christmas carols made their first appearance in book form. Among these were The First Noel, Hark the Herald Angels Sing and God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen ... Learn more about the invention of the Christmas tree and children's books for Christmas!
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Article

23 Aprile 2015 - ALAI con l'UNESCO per la giornata mondiale del libro

ALAI and ILAB for UNESCO World Book and Copyright Day - For weeks, the Italian antiquarian booksellers have been highly active in supporting ILAB's worldwide initiatives on UNESCO World Book and Copyright Day 2015. From the first day of the Milan Antiquarian Book Fair, 27 March, up to UNESCO World Book and Copyright Day, 23 April, people have the possibility to donate money to the UNESCO literacy projects in South Sudan via www.alai.it - go to the ALAI website and click the donate button! And on 23 April 2015 - UNESCO World Book and Copyright Day - the Italian booksellers join the worldwide series of more than 30 ILAB Pop Up Fairs within 24 hours with two exciting Pop Ups in Lucca at Corte del Biancone and in Milan at Biblioteca Chiesa Rossa. What a powerful campaign to support literacy and to promote the power of books!
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Article

JOIN ILAB’S WORLD WIDE POP UP BOOK FAIRS ON UNESCO WORLD BOOK AND COPYRIGHT DAY, APRIL 23, 2015

Let's put the R A R E in the UNESCO World Book and Copyright Day! On April 23, 2015, ILAB booksellers will pop-up across the world! The UNESCO World Book and Copyright Day is celebrated all over the world with a series of amazing events promoting the essence of reading and the culture of the book. Next year, on April 23, 2015, this day will also be a special day for ILAB. In cooperation with UNESCO a series of ILAB Pop Up Book Fairs will be held across the world. Starting the day in Australia, the fairs will open one after another from Australia to Asia to Europe to the United States. They will be located in any place where ILAB affiliates decide to join us in organizing this amazing event. For 24 hours the worldwide Pop Up Book Fairs will be followed up with pictures, videos and reports in the media and, of course, on the ILAB website.
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