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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
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Autographs

Napoleon hair found in great novelist’s book on TV’s Antiques Roadshow

Published on 08 Sept. 2011
"The BBC's Antiques Roadshow is a TV programme which examines many fine and fascinating art and antiques, but as a general rule it is not known for valuing particularly weird memorabilia … When it was called to the former home of Sir Walter Scott in the Borders, however, the team made a rather surprising discovery in a blotter which had belonged to Napoleon. A small handwritten note dated 8 November 1827, written to Sir Walter Scott from a Mr Dalton was found inside which contains a lock of Napoleon's hair."
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Autographs

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions: The Letters of B. Traven

Published on 21 July 2011
One of the great things about working for a bookseller is you get to see some very cool items. One of the best in recent days is a collection of letters from the writer B. Traven - best known for his novel The Treasure of Sierra Madre - sent to the model and actress Ruth Ford. If you're only familiar with the classic movie starring Humphrey Bogart, you've been missing out because B. Traven was a man of mystery worthy a movie all his own.
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Autographs

When Kerouac Met Dostoyevsky

Published on 22 June 2011
Sometime during March-April, 1949, John-not-yet-Jack Kerouac, 27 years old and living with his parents as "The Wizard of Ozone Park" (Queens, NYC), as his Beat friends referred to him, bought a cheap reprint edition of short stories by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. He annotated the book, and entered his ownership signature. Dostoyevsky was an important influence on Kerouac; his novel,The Subterraneans, was consciously modeled on Dostoyevsky's Notes from Underground, one of his favorite books, and there are many references to the Russian author in Kerouac's novels and letters.
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Autographs

Rare Kafka Letters Bought by the Bodleian Library (Oxford) and the Marbach Literary Archive

Published on 05 April 2011
The Berlin based auction house J. A. Stargardt cancelled its upcoming sale of rare autograph letters written by Franz Kafka to his sister Ottilie in the years 1909 to 1924. The important series of 45 letters, 32 postcards and 34 picture postcards contains almost all the surviving letters and postcards that Kafka sent to his sister Ottilie, who was known as Ottla – the youngest of his three sisters, and the family member to whom he was closest. The auction was scheduled for April 19, 2011 in Berlin, a richly illustrated catalogue with a preface by Hans-Gerd Koch had been published.
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Autographs

Fraktur and The Private Library

Published on 23 Feb. 2011
In Germany books written in "Fraktur" are hard to sell, because especially young people are not used to read it. Often called "old German typography" the typical "Fraktur" is found in German books of the late 19th and early 20th century, mostly common literature and popular non-fiction, printed in a large number of copies. From L.D. Mitchell we learn that there is another kind of "Fraktur", very rare and worth collecting.
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Autographs

Other People's Books - Book Lovers Fear Dim Future for Notes in the Margins

Published on 22 Feb. 2011
Annotations are invaluable for literary research and for book collectors. The comments written by authors, scientists, scholars or other "important" people alongside the text passages tell a very special story of a book. What did people think about it? Was it highly esteemed or condemned? Who read it? Why? Who possessed the book? What did, for example, Mark Twain read? What Samual Taylor Coleridge? Jane Austen? John Maynard Keynes? René Descartes? The advantage of a printed book is that these annotations have been preserved through the centuries. "Other People's Books" is a symposium held by The Caxton Club, and a new publication distributed by Oak Knoll. Snippets from an article by Dirk Johnson.
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Autographs

„Vom Autographensammeln" - The First Modern Handbook on Autograph Collecting

Published on 21 Feb. 2011
„Vom Autographensammeln. Versuch einer Darstellung seines Wesens und seiner Geschichte im deutschen Sprachgebiet" was written by Günther Mecklenburg in 1963. It was the first modern handbook on autograph collecting - and still is THE German book on this subject. In various chapters the author describes all the basics of autograph collecting, gives definitions of common terms and abbreviations used in catalogues as well as a list of relevant bibliographies, catalogue raisonnés and archives. Günther Mecklenburg explains how autograph collections are built, how they are described and valuated. He lists resources to identify the handwritings of artists, authors, politicians and scientists and gives valuable advice how to differentiate between the original autograph and forgeries.
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Article

Rudimentum Novitiorum Sells For $1,150,000 At California International Antiquarian Book Fair

A scarce copy of Rudimentum Novitiorum, the first printed history of the world, published in 1475, and the first printed book to feature maps, sold for $1,150,000 at the 45th California International Antiquarian Book Fair this past weekend in Pasadena, CA, as did "The World's Worst Copy of Gatsby," a first edition, first printing train wreck with a significant remnant of the $175,000 dust jacket pasted within, for $500. Some thought it was worth twice that, a true silk purse stitched from a sow's ear.
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Article

Rare Books in the Press: A Masterpiece of Maps Goes Digital At Cambridge

"Anglophiles who are planning to watch the Royal Wedding of HRH Prince William and Kate Middleton on April 29, 2011, now have a new opportunity to gain insight into the history and geography of the kingdom over which the future monarch and his bride will reign. Cambridge University Library has digitized a set of proof sheets for the first comprehensive atlas of Great Britain, first published 400 years ago." Nancy Mattoon's recent article for Booktryst features one of the world's finest cartographic treasures: John Speed's Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine.
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Article

Meet the ILAB Mentors – Anne Lamort

In December 2016, ILAB launched a new Mentoring Programme, which aims to help young or recently established booksellers throughout the world by offering support and counselling on a one on one basis.In our new series "Meet the ILAB Mentors", we would like to present those booksellers who are volunteering their time for newer entrants to the antiquarian and rare book trade!
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Article

1951 - Some Impressions of the 5th ILAB Congress in Brussels

"It is very pleasant on the first day to look around to see who has come from the other national associations; one looks for friends one met in Paris, in London, in Copenhagen." This is the charm of every ILAB Congress. What we call a global network today, has been ILAB's nature from the beginning. You meet old friends and colleagues from all over the world and have the opportunity to establish new friendships and good business relations. It was true for the 5th ILAB Congress in Brussels in 1951, and it will be the same in Switzerland in 2012.
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Article

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Kerouac: The road, the books, the people

Jack Kerouac was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1922. He died in St. Anthony's Hospital in St. Petersburg 47 years later. In the intervening years, he went to Columbia University, did a stint in the Merchant Marines, joined the Navy twice, hitchhiked across America, wrote 19 novels as well as books of poetry and other works, and drank - a lot. He hung out with the likes of Beat poets Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder and Gregory Corso, writers Williams S. Burroughs and Herbert Huncke, and editors Robert Giroux and Lucien Carr. An eclectic selection of Kerouac's writings is in the collection of rare and unusual books at Lighthouse Books, ABAA. Among them: Visions of Gerard, The Dharma Bums, Big Sur, Vanity of Duluoz, Pomes All Sizes and Pic. Another slim volume, The Kerouac We Knew, contains essays by people who had met Kerouac at various stages in his life.
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Article

The Old Turk’s Load – Greg Gibson will sign his new novel at the New York Antiquarian Book Fair

Greg Gibson – rare book dealer, proprietor of Ten Pound Island Book Company, ABAA member, and a distinguished author – has just released his new noir crime novel "The Old Turk's Load". The story, which takes place in 1967 Manhattan, is highly praised by the New York Journal of Books. Greg will be exhibiting at the New York Antiquarian Book Fair this weekend and will be signing copies of his new novel, with all profits going to the ABAA's Benevolent Fund. In his blog Bookman's Log he writes about the fair, his novel and New York in the Sixties and today.
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