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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
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Obituaries

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

Published on 17 July 2018
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 17 July 2018
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 17 July 2018
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 17 July 2018
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 17 July 2018
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 17 July 2018
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 17 July 2018
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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Obituaries

Vale Barbara Burdon

Published on 17 July 2018
Barbara Burdon, the founder of Asia Bookroom and beloved mother of Burdon Family Booksellers' members Sally, Jonathan and Elisabeth, and mother-in-law of Kay Craddock, died on March 20th after a long battle with Parkinson's Disease. Paul Feain, who had known her for a very long time, wrote a touching obituary.
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Obituaries

Howard Karno (1930-2012) & Howard Karno Books

Published on 17 July 2018
"I was entering the booktrade in 1978, working for Jake Zeitlin. It was from Howard that I always enjoyed a warm relationship that was welcoming from his heart right from the start. Howard gave me a copy of Armand Coppens' The Memoirs of an Erotic Bookseller. From that book I judged that Howard was a true romantic at heart! He was absolutely unique: my eye was drawn to the wonderfully colored Mexican sculptures around the store and then at his home. I remember going to gatherings at the home and enjoying company, seeing some more books and laughing while having a good time. While Beverly was in the home and store all was brightened and joyful". In May 2012, Howard Karno passed away. An obituary by Jeff Weber.
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Booksellers

The Right Book - Derek McDonnell

Derek McDonnell has, over the course of 25 years at Hordern House, established himself as a pre-eminent dealer in Australiana and the history of Pacific exploration. He and his partner Anne McCormick have produced a series of beautiful and scholarly catalogues, which have established a new bibliographical standard for their subjects, as well as publishing a series of essential bibliographies. He enjoys a global circle of colleague friends and is one of the most admired figures in the trade.
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Booksellers

Franklin Victor Spellman (1945-2015) – An Obituary


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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Booksellers

Michael Silverman 1949-2011

"With the untimely death of Michael Silverman, the world of literary and historical manuscripts has lost one of its most respected dealers, and the antiquarian trade in general a much loved and popular colleague. Internationally acknowledged as a dealer of great integrity and expertise, Michael wore his knowledge lightly. He liked to affect an air of mild indifference to the exceptional material that often passed through his hands. His self-deprecating style, so far removed from that of the hustling businessman, was much appreciated by the many collectors, private and institutional, who responded to the good manners that informed his dealings as a whole." An obituary by Sheila Markham and Robert Bartfield.
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Article

One should not miss this chance to learn and to collect! – Michèle Noret’s Catalogue 11

One year after her glorious Catalogue 10 Michèle Noret has published a new catalogue, again a wonderful collection of remarkable picture books and illustrated children's books of the 20th century. Collectors and antiquarians who know the market, also know, that it is absolutely no matter to bring together such a richness and variety of book-art. Michèle Noret obviously has a good nose for this sort of books, but it is not only her resourcefulness, that helps her, it is her great knowledge and competence and her aesthetic intelligence which lead her to find these wonderful books and graphic art - and(!) to describe them in an adequate and always informative way. Looking through her catalogues always means to get in touch with important names, styles, developments of book-art, specialties of illustrative art. The series of her catalogues (happy the collectors who kept them!) is like an international compendium of modern artist's books for children, indispensable for an intensive knowledge in this field, a real source book thanks to the many coloured illustrations. (A desideratum would be an index of titles and artists which comprehends all of the catalogues.)
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Booksellers

“My highest priority is to build up confidence in the professional antiquarian book trade”

In mid-April the Austrian antiquarian bookseller Norbert Donhofer was elected ILAB President. In an interview with Bettina Führer he talks about recent challenges of the international antiquarian book trade and his plans for the upcoming two years of his presidency.
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Article

Let's get going! ILAB Pop-UP-Fairs Worldwide on UNESCO World Book and Copyright Day, April 2015

I naturally like to regale the family over the supper table with all the latest news from the world of rare books. The family are slightly ambivalent about this: stifled yawns sometimes remain unstifled; eyes are exaggeratedly rolled; fathomless stupefactions of chronic boredom are elaborately mimed, and silent departures from the table to go and have a lie down are by no means unknown. Imagine then my surprise, my triumph, when I announced the concept of Pop-Up Bookfairs – and not just one or two, but a worldwide rolling twenty-four hour programme to celebrate a World Rare Book Day – fairs popping up all over the place, time-zone by time-zone, on a single day – right across the globe and all backed-up by the full might of social media. Tweet-pop, tweet-pop, from Australia to L.A. and beyond. Pictures, videos and reports on the web, YouTube, Instagram and wherever else anyone can think of. "That's brilliant. Absolutely brilliant", said Daughter No. 1. "Oh, you are soooo twenty-first century", said Daughter No. 2. "We've got a trestle table", said my dear wife, fondly imagining that the number of books in the house might actually decrease if I popped out for a pop-up. Incredible. I had managed to hold their attention for – oh – thirty or forty seconds. Well, twenty anyway.
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