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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
 
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Renaissance

Rare Books - When is an inscription not an inscription?

Published on 14 Oct. 2014
Two folks identified the key elements of this month's crocodile mystery in their comments: Misha Teramura correctly noted that the inscription in the middle of the page - "pp. 184-190 refer to the progress of religion westward toward America" - refers to George Herbert's final poem from The Temple, "The Church Militant." And David Shaw noted that the other inscriptions - "8652″ on the top left and "A176″ on the bottom right - look to be an accession number and a shelf mark. But let's back up for one moment to understand why I find these marks interesting. The book in question is a first edition of George Herbert's The Temple (STC 13183). It's an interesting work, and a popular one in the 17th century. And as you can see from the notations on the front pastedown and the recto of the first free flyleaf, it's a work that was prized by later collectors.This particular copy was owned by Sir Leicester Harmsworth before it came into the Folger Shakespeare Library collection, and its value is shown in part by the blue goatskin binding signed on the bottom turn-in by Riviere and Son. Its value is more obviously indicated by the inscription on the pastedown, "a copy sold in the Terry sale in Dec 1935 for $3600."
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Renaissance

The Giunti of Florence. A Renaissance Printing and Publishing Family

Published on 24 Oct. 2012
This ambitious project explores the history and output of the Giunti Press in Florence, covering the firm from its beginnings in 1497 to its end in 1625, and providing descriptions of each Giunti book published with extensive indication of the libraries holding copies of each edition. In doing so, it describes the literature and history of Florence in the late Renaissance as well as the development of the Italian language within this important period of time.
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Renaissance

The Library of Symbolism - A Glossary and Bibliography of Renaissance Symbolic Literature

Published on 09 Nov. 2010
"For 2,000 years, from the time of Plato in 400 BC until the start of the modern era of empirical science in approximately 1600 AD, the culture of Western Europe was dominated by a single mode of expression: the symbol. The symbol was the universal medium for the approach to God, for the investigation of the natural world, for the interpretation of the Scriptures and for an understanding of and a guide to proper moral conduct. Towards the end of the period, enabled by the invention of printing by movable type, this obsession was translated into a vast literature of symbolism of which some eighty distinct species were identified by contemporary writers and theorists." The Renaissance symbolism refers to a time in which human thinking and the human view of the World changed radically. On the one hand Renaissance symbolism is one of the most interesting research fields for scholars. On the other hand it is one of the most fascinating fields of bibliophily at the very beginning of the history of printing.
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Article

Decisions, Decisions - 54th Annual New York Antiquarian Book Fair

This is always a rough week for me. The New York International Antiquarian Book Fair is hauling into view (April 2-6), and there are decisions to be made. What stays? What goes? It's the biggest fair on the circuit and it has the greatest upside in terms of profit potential and meeting new customers. It's also the most expensive of the American fairs, and big city livin' is a real drain on the pocket book.
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Article

Literary Property Changing Hands: The Peyraud Collection

The Paula Peyraud Collection was considered the "largest collection in private hands of books, manuscripts, and images associated with the Georgian period (1760–1820)". It included rare first editions of Samuel Johnson, Jane Austen, and Fanny Burney. The collection, formed by the librarian Paula Peyraud, was auctioned at Bloomsbury's in May 2009. Maureen E. Mulvihill, of the Princeton Research Forum, takes a post-auction view at the lots and their bidders, and tells the story of the "Dark Lady of Rare Book Collectors: Paula Fentress Peyraud (NY, 1947–2008)".
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Article

Three Volumes Stolen from the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library

On Thursday, June 7, 2012, staff at the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (HMML) discovered that a 16th century printed book was missing from the work carrel of one of its catalogers. HMML staff conducted a thorough search of both HMML and Alcuin Library to ensure that the item had not been misplaced. The staff immediately reviewed a list of rare materials that had been used that week in presentations during a workshop being held at the library. It was discovered that two manuscript items from the Arca Artium collection were also missing, one of which had been used on Wednesday afternoon (June 6). It is believed that all three volumes were stolen. The manuscripts had already been photographed digitally and can be viewed in Vivarium, the online image service from the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (www.hmml.org/vivarium). Officers from Life Safety Services at Saint John's University and from the Stearns County Sheriff's Office began an investigative process that involved interviewing staff and library visitors. New security precautions have since been put into place.
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Article

Sheila Markham’s “Second Book of Booksellers” to be published on 1st May, 2014

Good news for all book lovers: On 1st May, 2014, Sheila Markham's "Second Book of Booksellers" will be published. Sheila's "conversations with the antiquarian book trade" are legendary. Her interviews with the most influential figures of the antiquarian book business first appeared in the Bookdealer, and were then published in book-form as "A Book of Booksellers" in the year 2004. Ian Jackson called it "an essential archive of book trade history". Delightful, witty, and sophisticated: All who have already read Sheila Markham's "conversations" know that they are something special. Sheila's interviews give insight into the everyday life of an extraordinary profession that needs extensive knowledge and owes a strong sense of individualism and dedication to the real value of books (which is not, in any case, their price). They reveal the stories and characters that stand behind the showcases at antiquarian book fairs, the 1-Million-Dollar highlights of the auctions, the well-designed book catalogues and the many online databases with its legions of old books. In short: Sheila Markham's "Book of Booksellers" and its sequel reflect the very reasons why antiquarian bookselling is one of the most fascinating things to live for in the global book world. The "Second Book of Booksellers", which will be published in May 2014, includes 30 conversations with rare book dealers like Sabrina Izzard, John Windle, Sophie Schneideman, Pom Harrington, Paul Mills and Michael Graves-Johnston. Sheila Markham has given us permission to publish one of the most fascinating pieces in her new book as a preview.
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Article

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Picture this

This little book (it measures only 138 × 108 mm), 'The Secret of taking Daguerreotypes, or the Art of producing Photogenic Pictures with a Camera Obscura', has been described as 'the first photographic manual in the world' (Gernsheim, Concise History of Photography (third edition, p. 11), and is also the first German publication on photography.
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