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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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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Article

Why Congresses? - A veteran’s ramblings by Keith Fletcher

You ask "why congresses?" - the short answer is surely Amor librorum nos unit; and what better than to meet with people who know what you are talking about rather than experiencing the blank looks of one's 'lay' friends when one mentions "old books".
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Article

Rare Books in the Press: Saluting a Serial Seducer and His Steamy Tell-All

"Giacomo Girolamo Casanova was a gambler, swindler, diplomat, lawyer, soldier, alchemist, violinist, traveler, pleasure seeker and serial seducer. He was also a prolific writer who documented his adventures and love affairs in a steamy memoir that is one of the literary treasures of the 18th century. Born in Venice, he considered France his adopted country but was forced to flee Paris in 1760 after seducing the wives and daughters of important subjects of King Louis XV and cheating them out of their money."
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Article

Book Review: 'The Prague Cemetery' by Umberto Eco

"Bookish digressions and odd cultural details are two reasons why we read Umberto Eco. He takes great pleasure in showing readers the monastic care of books in "The Name of the Rose," the kabbalah in "Foucault's Pendulum" and day-to-day life in Mussolini's Italy in "The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana." Without such layers, without his plunging into the minutiae of other eras, it just wouldn't be an Eco novel."
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Article

In the Press - Breakthrough over 600-year-old mystery manuscript

A breakthrough has 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. Read the full article on BBC News.
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Article

ILAB Congress Scholarship - Part 1 of 4 - Dawn Albinger (Australia)

In July 2017, national associations were asked to nominate a young antiquarian bookseller to benefit from the ILAB Congress Scholarship. An outstanding opportunity to meet colleagues and senior experts in the book trade, network and learn about the trade. We would like to use this opportunity to present the four antiquarian booksellers with their interesting and different backgrounds.
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Article

ILAB Congress Scholarship - Part 3 of 4 - Aimee Peake (Canada)

Aimee Peake, owner of Bison Books in Winnipeg and member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of Canada (ABAC) has received a scholarship to attend the 2018 ILAB Congress.
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