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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade

From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Article

A Post Rare Book School Report from Tavistock Books Scholarship Winner Travis Low

This year Tavistock Books (Almeda, United States) was pleased to offer a scholarship to Joel Silver's excellent course, "Reference Sources for Researching Rare Books," at Rare Book School (RBS). We found a worthy winner in Travis Low of Ken Sanders Rare Books. Travis started out as a shipping clerk and has taken advantage of numerous opportunities to expand his role. His new responsibilities often include researching new inventory, making this RBS course ideal. Travis checked in with us to share his RBS experience.
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Article

English Literary Manuscripts

Among manuscript collectors in the English-speaking world, literature has had the most constant appeal; and until recently, when historical manuscripts have really come into their own, literary ones attracted most of the highest prices for post-mediaeval manuscripts. This appeal is due to the universal interest in literature itself; to the demands of doctoral dissertations; to the desire among some individuals, librarians, and editors for definitive collections; and no doubt also to the relative ease, in comparison with historical manuscripts, of selecting an area for collection.
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Article

Bibliofilia e bibliomania - Or: The Fascination of Rare Books and Autographs

Umberto Eco held his "lectio magistralis" about "Bibliofilia e bibliomania" in Turin. Professor Eco himself is "A Bibliophile of huge Ec(h)o", as Umberto Pregliasco has characterized him. In September 2010 he will open the 39th ILAB Congress and 23rd International Book Fair in Bologna with a lecture - a great honour for the League, and a great pleasure for every bibliophile who will have the chance to attend this event.
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ILAB History

ALAI History 1947-2011

On an autumn day in 1947, a small group of book dealers met in Milan to give life to the Circolo dei Librai Antiquari. They were not many, but they were set on granting a cultural dignity to the trade of antiquarian bookselling, on fostering friendship and understanding with foreign colleagues, on cooperating with libraries and institutions for the conservation of cultural property, and on providing collectors with a code of ethics that guaranteed a fair and professional relationship between rare book dealers and their customers. In 1971, the members of the association had increased to a few dozen when the Circle became the Associazione Librai Antiquari d'Italia.
The history of the ALAI, the Italian Antiquarian Booksellers' Association, by:
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Article

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions: Norman Mailer

Mailer has enjoyed great public esteem, exceeded perhaps only his own opinion of himself, ever since his first book The Naked and The Dead was published in (1948). The book is notorious for the cheapness of the materials employed in its construction, and don't be surprised when you have to pay a chilling premium for a truly fine copy. However, just because a dealer says its a truly fine copy, don't accept it at face value. Among its usual flaws are extensive rubbing to the bottoms of the boards (which seems to have a thinner skin than George W. Bush at a Mensa meeting), and tanning to the white lettering on the spine.
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Article

Music and Theatre in Bohemia and Europe – The Autograph Collection of Fritz Donebauer (Prague)

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.
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