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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
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Obituaries

In Memory of Mitsuo Nitta

Published on 07 Jan. 2016
As I had retired from the publishing business more than fifteen years ago, it was only when we sent our annual Seasonal Greetings to Mr. and Mrs. Nitta that we learned from Yushodo that Mitsuo had passed away two months earlier. I was shocked that my old friend had died, as was my wife and son. It seemed impossible, a person with such brimming enthusiasm and largess of life. And I felt particularly saddened that we had become so out of touch since my retirement that I only recently discovered this great loss.
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Obituaries

Franklin Victor Spellman (1945-2015) – An Obituary

Published on 19 Nov. 2015
Franklin Victor Spellman was born August 15, 1945 in Stamford, Connecticut, moving to the Bronx, New York, at 8 years. He is named in honor of Franklin Roosevelt and his middle name was in celebration of V-J day. Although Jewish, he was born in a Catholic hospital where the nuns prevailed upon his mother to give him a middle name of Victor. He was not a fan of Roosevelt, but Franklin did love his name. He has an older brother Douglas Spellman, and a younger sister, Jill Polan.
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Obituaries

In Memoriam Mitsuo Nitta - We have Lost a Giant of the Antiquarian Book World

Published on 11 Nov. 2015
My "boss" has passed away. It is true that all humans must one day face this inevitable fate. When I met Mitsuo Nitta in the middle of October after returning back from the ILAB Presidents Meeting in Seville, aside from thinking his stomach looked little inflated than the usual, he spoke and moved in his usual energetic ways. So when I heard the news, I literally had to ask myself twice to make sure I heard the news right.
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Obituaries

In Memoriam Mitsuo Nitta, ILAB Member of Honour

Published on 04 Nov. 2015
I was deeply saddened to learn that Mitsuo Nitta, President of Honor of the ABAJ, Member of Honor of ILAB, CEO at Yushodo Ltd., former Chair of the ILAB-Breslauer Prize for Bibliography, legendary bookseller and friend to so many of us, has passed away on October 27 of 2015. Mitsuo Nitta played a leading role in developing antiquarian bookselling not only in Japan but also in the surrounding countries like Korea and China, and he had been teacher and friend for generations of younger booksellers. His role in spreading out ILAB's device "Amor Librorum nos unit" in East-Asia cannot be underestimated. Since my first meeting with Mitsuo Nitta back in 1988 during the Congress in Paris, we had been in constant contact, and I will always remember countless discussions about ILAB with him, the last one – alas - only earlier this year in Tokyo.
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Obituaries

In Memoriam, Antiquarian Bookseller and Author Patricia Ahearn

Published on 02 June 2014
Last week Patricia Ahearn of Quill & Brush (Dickerson, Maryland, US) passed away. Patricia and Allen Ahearn started collecting in the early 1960s and founded Quill & Brush in the year 1976 specializing in in first editions of literature, mystery/detective fiction and collectible books from all fields of interest. With over 45 years of experience in the rare book trade they were also authors of numerous articles and books like: “Collected Books: The Guide to Values” (4th, revised and enlarged edition published in 2011), “Book Collecting 2000” (Putnam: 2000) and over 200 individual Author Price Guides.
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Obituaries

"There's enough beauty in the world to keep me here” - David Spode (1936-2013)

Published on 28 Jan. 2014
A couple of weeks before he died I asked David why he was so determined to hang on as long as he could. After all, we shared trenchant, dour, views of the universe, of human existence. He replied, "There's enough beauty in the world to keep me here." That didn't make me pause for thought; what did was the realisation that he was so good at sharing beauty. If I begin to count up all the things that I treasure that I learnt from David either directly or indirectly - by following leads given by him down paths of my own making - then I find myself with a tangle of debt that can't and doesn't need to be unpicked.
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Obituaries

Past Presidents of the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association - Alan Gradon Thomas (1911-1992)

Published on 11 Oct. 2013
This week – revisiting the past again with another in the occasional series on past presidents of the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association. Alan Gradon Thomas was born in Hampstead, North London, on the 19th October 1911 – the son of Albert Edward Thomas, a local newsagent and stationer, and his wife Evelyn Gradon, originally from Durham, who had married the previous year.
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Obituaries

GEORGES A. DENY 1920-1999 - Founder and First Secretary of the ILAB Breslauer Prize for Bibliography

Published on 09 July 2013
The ILAB Prize for Bibliography was founded in the early 1960s when Georges A. Deny was President of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers. He also became the first Secretary of the Prize which was called Prix Triennal de Bibliographie in the beginnings. The first Prize was not awarded in 1964 due to a lack of quality of the submitted books, as Deny clearly stated in his report of the same year. Thus, since 1967 famous scholars like like Jean Peeters-Fontainas, I. C. Koeman, Claus Nissen, Anthony Hobson, Lotte Hellinga or Jan Storm van Leeuwen were honoured with this most prestigious prize in the broad field of bibliography worth 10.000 USD.
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Obituaries

Karl Donhofer (1923–2013)

Published on 28 June 2013
Karl Donhofer, for many years antiquarian bookseller and managing director of Franz Deuticke (Vienna), member of the Austrian Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association (VAO) and father of ILAB Vice-President Norbert Donhofer, passed away on 20th June 2013. An obituary by Hansjörg Krug.
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Article

BROADWAY AND ALL THAT: 12th ILAB CONGRESS IN NEW YORK, SEPTEMBER 20 - 25, 1959

The Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America (ABAA) was founded in 1949. In the same year Laurence Gomme, the first ABAA President, attended the 2nd ILAB Congress in London as an observer, and a year later the American Association was officially welcomed as a new member of the League during the 3rd Congress in Paris. It took only a few more years until the ILAB affiliates were invited to the United States: to New York in 1955, and again in 1959. The 12th ILAB Congress was held in New York from 20th to 25th September, 1959. And it was bigger than ever before.
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Article

School Books for South Sudan: AbeBooks and ILAB Fill "Empty Bookcases" on UNESCO World Book and Copyright Day, 23 April 2016

The ILAB Pop Up Week 2016 starts with a generous donation! AbeBooks, a strong supporter of the ILAB Pop Up Celebrations 2015 and again in 2016 - announces to donate US$ 2.500 towards ILAB's project to help fund UNESCO's and American actors Forest Whitakers vital literacy work in South Sudan.
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Article

Preserving Your Rare Books: Setting up and Maintaining Your Home Library

As a collector of rare books, your goal is to keep your collection in optimum shape. You're careful with dust jackets and protect fragile books with clamshell cases. Even the way you shelve your rare books can impact their condition. It's important that your home library provides the support and protection that rare books need.
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Article

Books about Books: A History of Oak Knoll Press, Part 8: New Partnerships Emerge

The American Antiquarian Society elected us their distributor in August 1995, the Bibliographical Society of America in May 1996, the John Carter Brown Library also in May 1996, the Library of Congress (selected titles) in June 1998, and the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia in January 1999. Since then we have signed up the Manuscript Society, the Typophiles, Catalpa Press, the Bibliographical Society (selected titles), and many other organizations. These distribution deals have increased our publishing list to over 1000 titles of which only about 300 are Oak Knoll Press publications. Booksellers and distributors love this arrangement, as they can deal with one business instead of fifty when fulfilling orders for customers.
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Article

A New International Antiquarian Book Fair in Milan, Supported by the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers

I'm very pleased to announce that ALAI will organize an antiquarian book fair in Milan as early as March 2013, open to ILAB members only. We managed to get a truly exceptional venue, the seventeenth-century Palazzo Giureconsulti, which has its entrance in Piazza dei Mercanti and an entire side overlooking Piazza Duomo (see the attached picture and, for more details, please visit www.palazzogiureconsulti.it). The event dates are March 15-17, with opening on Friday morning and closing on Sunday in the early afternoon.
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Article

55th Stuttgart Antiquarian Book Fair, 29–31 January 2016

The most expensive book at the fair is to be found at Heribert Tenschert's stand. It is a chivalric epos for € 2 400 000: Wirnt von Grafenberg, »Wigolois mit dem Rade«. This is one of the last manuscripts of a Middle High German chivalric epos in private hands. It is also one of only two illustrated manuscripts of this important text, and by far the more complete one. It stems from the Fürstenberg Collection of Donaueschingen and is an illuminated manuscript on paper with 31 large or full-page miniatures from the scriptorium of Diebold Lauber, and can be dated before 1418.
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