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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
Rubens 1
Book History

Rubens in Stuttgart

Published on 21 Aug. 2018
There are many books with a Rubens design. Even in books from the 19th century we find frontispieces copied from a Rubens design which was often simply reproduced and thus many editions were adorned with a Rubens.
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Book History

Reformation 500: Luther autograph on display - Bodleian Oxford 30 Oct - 3rd Nov 2017

Published on 21 Aug. 2018
A Commonplace Reformation: Oxford, Bodleian Library MS Add. A. 92 - Martin Luther's Autograph Collection of Proverbs. This manuscript is one of two in the Bodleian's possession which are written in Martin Luther's own hand, and, running to 40 pages, is by far the more substantial - though, about the size of a postcard, it remains small. It is a collection of proverbs (Sprichwörter), mostly in German, and dating from some point in the later 1530s or early 1540s. It was acquired by the Bodleian for £45 in 1865 - the "carelessness and poverty" of German libraries and museums for allowing this to happen was later lamented.
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Book History

To all Lovers and Investigators of Nature: Maria Sibylla Merian; 1647-1717

Published on 21 Aug. 2018
2017 marks the 300th anniversary of the death of the German artist and entomologist Maria Sibylla Merian, one of the most celebrated natural scientists of her time. From an early age she pursued a fascination with the insect life cycle, then only partially understood. Merian was the first to bring together insects and their habitats and the knowledge she collected provided important insights into medicine and science.
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Book History

The new Plantin-Moretus Museum in Antwerp – “The Book is Central”

Published on 21 Aug. 2018
On 30 September 2016, one of the most treasured places for printing history and the history of the book re-opened after extensive renovations, the new Plantin-Moretus Museum. Various festivities accompanied the opening on three consecutive days and invited the public to take part in the fascinating history of the museum. The new museum takes the visitor on a unique journey of the life and legacy of the publisher Christoffel Plantin and his inlaws Moretus whose achievements had put Antwerp on the map. The biggest authors and scientists of their time found their way to Antwerp's Vrijdagmarkt and Plantin was able to spread their ideas throughout the world.
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Book History

From Clay to Clouds – The Evolution of the Catalogue (2000 BC – 21st Century)

Published on 21 Aug. 2018
Since the beginnings in the second millennium BC, the catalogue has accompanied the history and development of our written heritage. With its complex and at the same time precise concept and structure, the catalogue represents a fundamental ambition which is the origin of science and culture: to name, to describe and to classify the universe. Catalogues allow us to find taxonomies for the elements and all aspects of nature, nomenclatures to identify the stars, and devices to find access to our written heritage, to education and learning as well as to trade and economics and to the printing of books.
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Book History

Beach Reading - The Yongle Encyclopedia

Published on 21 Aug. 2018
The worst insult you can hurl at academics is to say they haven't even read the books they presume to comment on. A confession: Not only do I have to admit that there are reference books in here that I haven't read through; in fact, there are very few works that I have read from cover to cover - or, since many are in multiple volumes, from cover to cover to cover to cover to cover.... One work I haven't read is the Yongle Encyclopedia. I think I have pretty good reasons, though, for not reading it: viz., 1. It's very long; 2. It's in a language I don't read; and 3. It doesn't actually exist.
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Article

Books about Books: A History of Oak Knoll Press, Part 10: Under the Good Ship von Hoelle (1996-2006)

The other major event that happened in 1996 was my election as President of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America (ABAA). It also was the year that the Americans hosted the Congress of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers in Los Angeles and San Francisco (trade show), so I was a very busy person. The ABAA represents one of the 20 countries that make up the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB). My biggest goal was to use the new tool of the internet to help spotlight these two organizations, and sometimes I was probably overbearing on the subject (my French colleagues called me Mr. Internet with perhaps just a bit of sarcasm in their voices). But it also allowed me to do a great deal of foreign travel and form friendships and business relationships with people all over the world.
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Article

Collector Spotlight: Acquiring an Authoritative Stephen King Collection

David A. Williamson began collecting Stephen King novels and memorabilia in the 1980s and has amassed a collection that ranks as one of the largest in the world. In 2009, he bought Betts Books and one of his greatest joys is helping other King collectors find that "special" collectible for their own collections. He lives in Fairfield, CT, is married and has three children. He has generously shared his collecting experience and expertise with Books Tell You Why in the following interview.
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Article

The Longest Banned Book?

The Roman poet Ovid not only had his book, Ars Amatoria (The Art of Love) banned, but he himself was banished from Rome for writing it in the year 8 CE. All of his works were burned by Savonarola in his infamous bonfire of the vanities in 1497. Christopher Marlowe translated it in 1599, and his translation was banned. U.S. Customs banned it in 1930 - nearly two thousand years later. This makes it a candidate, if not the winner, of the dubious distinction of being the longest (in time) banned book.
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Article

The International League of Antiquarian Booksellers - Memoirs

It happened that in 1971 I was the president of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association when it was Great Britain's turn to act as host to the biennial congress of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers, the umbrella organisation for national associations of antiquarian booksellers across the world. It was becoming the custom that the congress be followed by an international antiquarian book fair attracting perhaps as many as 200 exhibitors. The congress itself was the responsibility of the League's committee but the physical arrangements, the social programme and the running of the fair were all down to the host association.
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Article

Patrons of booksellers and how they paid them a century ago

Glancing at an old account book, ranging from 1835 to 1850, with a few entries in 1851, which in some way had come into the possession of my predecessors, I was struck by the occurrence of the names of book-collectors such as Ashburnham, Beaufoy, Beckford, Drury, Phillipps, Spencer, Vernon and numerous others - libraries which have been dispersed in my lifetime. It is concerned only with payments received, and though the sales of single books for cash are recorded they do not often amount to any considerable sum in total. Amongst these items Greek and Latin classics are often prominent with sundry entries which make us envy the unknown purchasers, viz: - Euclidis Elementa Latine. H. Walpole's copy. 4/- Biblia Latina, folio. Jenson, 1479. £3.10.0 Boccace des Nobles Maleureux, Folio. Red. Mor. A. Verard, 1494. £3.13.6.
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