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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
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Americana

Collecting - “He was America”: Carl Sandburg

Published on 13 Jan. 2016
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 13 Nov. 2014
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 05 June 2014
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 22 May 2013
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 26 Feb. 2013
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 Feb. 2013
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 19 July 2011
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

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

Charity Auction to Support Literacy – How AntiquarianAuctions.com celebrates UNESCO World Book & Copyright Day

There are only a few ILAB affiliates in Africa, ABA member Paul Mills is one of them. He runs Clarke's Africana & Books and has launched a platform established by rare book dealers especially for dealers: AntiquarianAuctions.com. Shortly before April 23, AntiquarianAuctions.com will start a benefit auction ending on UNESCO World Book & Copyright Day, coinciding with the ILAB Pop Up Fairs worldwide and donating the money to the ILAB/UNESCO fundraising to fight illiteracy in South Sudan.
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Article

First Person Singular: Rare Bookseller Brian Cassidy

"In a room full of established book dealers, I'm always the youngest by at least 20 years. But that can be good for business. If you talk to older book dealers, you'll often hear them lament there are no young collectors. That is just not true. It's just that the new collectors are buying things that are different than what's even on the radar of most book dealers."
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Article

Does the “Book Dust Disease” Threaten the Rare Book Trade? A 19th Century Study Rediscovered

Dust on the shelves. Collectors consider it romantic: the dusty corners of antiquarian bookshops where scarce volumes have been hidden under the dust for centuries waiting to be discovered and to be bought by book lovers for a few cents. (The legends say that these books exist.) Dealers live with it or, most of the time, don't do anything against it: the dust in the corners where boxes with hundreds (thousands) of books are stored waiting to be described, priced and put into the showcases or into the internet. Scienstists warn: dust may be unhealthy. As early as 1900 Eduard Fischer von Röslerstamm published an empirical analysis on the life expentancy of antiquarian booksellers, librarians and book collectors. His question was: Did they suffer from dust in the lungs? Was the "book dust disease" an occupational disease that threatened the rare book trade?
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Article

ILAB Internship Program 2011 for Students of the Moscow State University of the Printing Arts

During the Presidents' Meeting in Vienna in 2009, the Russian Association of Antiquarian Booksellers (FAB) was welcomed as a new member of ILAB. The excellent contacts that Past President Adrian Harrington, committee member Norbert Donhofer and Past President of the Canadian Association, Eric Waschke, had in Russia and the eagerness of dealers and students to learn more about ILAB quickly led to the development of an internship program for a number of young students and dealers. The participants in this program were asked to present a paper that could be published on the website and that is, together with an interesting introduction by Norbert Donhofer, what you will find here.
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Booksellers

Bob Fleck - Book of Condolence

ILAB is deeply saddened to inform its affiliates that Bob Fleck passed away on the 22nd September, following a short but very aggressive illness. Our thoughts and prayers accompany his family, and in particular his beloved wife Millie and his son Rob.
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