Das Deutsche Literaturarchiv Marbach hat kürzlich eine Frankfurter Privatsammlung zu Eduard Mörike erworben. Der Sammler Klaus Berge, verdientes Mitglied der Deutschen Schillergesellschaft und langjähriger Freund des Hauses, hat über mehr als drei Jahrzehnte hinweg sachkundig Handschriften, Erstausgaben, Widmungsexemplare, Grafiken und Gegenständliches von und zu Eduard Mörike sowie seinem Umkreis zusammengetragen.
105 years ago, from 6th to 8th August, 1908, a famous 19th century autograph collection was auctioned by J. A. Stargardt in Berlin. The owner of the collection was Fritz Donebauer, born in 1849 as a son of a Bohemian innkeeper who became a banker and insurance agent in Prague, and most of all: a collector. In his lifetime he owned hundreds of autographs and manuscripts of mostly Bohemian theatre artists and musicians as well as rare documents from the history of Bohemia and the Thirty Years War. Little is known about Fritz Donebauer, whose collection came to auction in Berlin in April 1908, and even less is known about the private collectors, dealers and institutions who bought the documents, manuscripts and handwritten letters. Eberhard Köstler tries to reconstruct Fritz Donebauer's life and the fate of his famous collection.
This (or a variant of it) is probably the most often asked question I hear. What I'm talking about is, of course, whether it is better to buy a book (or get it autographed by the author) with just a signature alone or whether it is better to have it with a personalized inscription.
The British Library has acquired the personal archive of Sir Alec Guinness. The archive includes more than 900 of his letters to family and friends and over 100 volumes of diaries from the late 1930s to his death in the year 2000. The letters and diaries of the award winning British actor enrich the British Library's collection of archives of great 20th century artists along with those of Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud and Ralph Richardson.
How much is it worth? This question is most often asked by book collectors. And most often, there is not a precise answer. Although it is quite common nowadays to discuss rare books "as investments", the value of a book can hardly be counted in Dollars and Euros. It is even more difficult to measure the "worth" of dedication copies. Is the book inscribed by the author? Is this author famous and important, dead or alive? To whom is the book inscribed? Which words did the author choose to express his gratitude or sympathy? Eberhard Köstler, autograph specialist, gives examples of dedications by George Bernard Shaw, George Orwell, Franz Kafka, Thomas Mann and many other authors, and he shows that nothing is binding when it comes to the "real worth" of dedications.
In detective fiction and on the cop shows it's called "chain of evidence." Book collectors call it provenance. Unless you plan to build your private library solely with "hot off the press" titles, you need to understand provenance. The concept is important for all kinds of collectibles, from works of art to books to archaeological artifacts. Basically, it means: "to confirm or gather evidence as to the time, place, and if appropriate, the person responsible, for the creation, production or discovery of [an] object."
Great news: The Guardian and Associated Press report that the Hebrew University of Jerusalem puts online 2,000 documents from the Albert Einstein archives including unseen letters, postcards and research notes.
Best story of the week was Ed Bayntun-Coward's recollection of his encounter with a glamorous woman at a party. She asked what he did for a living. Ed replied smoothly that he was an antiquarian bookseller – "What a contraceptive", she responded, immediately turning on heel and walking away.
The seizure of power by the Nazis in 1933 was a decisive event in the world of book collecting. Numerous dealers and collectors – among them the most famous of the trade – were murdered by the Nazis. Those who survived were forced to close their companies and to hand them over to the Nazis.
Umberto Eco and Jean-Claude Carrière are two well-known authors and bibliophiles. Their new book is a tribute to the Gutenberg galaxy: N'espérez pas vous débarrasser des livres, in English "Don't hope to get rid of books" ...
ABA President Laurence Worms travels around the British Isles to visit as many antiquarian booksellers and members of the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association (International) during his presidency. You can read some reports of his exciting trips on ILAB.org. The full story is told in Laurence Worms' blog The President on Safari.
The 17th ILAB Breslauer Prize for Bibliography will be awarded in 2018 to one or more books published in any language and in any part of the world between April 2013 and April 2017. Any work submitted to the Prize must be a published book available on the market. The prize jury - consisting of Bettina Wagner (Bavarian State Library, Munich), Daniel de Simone (Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington DC), Yann Sordet (Bibliothèque Mazarine, Paris) and the antiquarian booksellers Fabrizio Govi (Italy), Konrad Meuschel (Germany) and Justin Croft (United Kingdom) - will admit all publications relating to bibliography in a very broad sense: textual bibliography, history of the book, bookbinding, papermaking, type-founding, library catalogues, short-title catalogues of a single author or typographer, etc.. The jury will not take into consideration ebooks and catalogues of books intended for sale and translations of previously published works.