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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
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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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Obituaries

Vale Barbara Burdon

Published on 26 April 2013
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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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Article

Do Rare Books Appreciate in Value?

I was recently asked by a reporter to comment on this question, and I offered some specific examples. As is often the case, my comments in the article, as well as an explanation of the examples, were very much cut for space (no hard feelings, I understand how these things go). But I thought I would provide the examples here, as well as a fuller answer to this question of how much rare books appreciate in value.
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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

Martin Luther - Landmark exhibitions in Germany and the US / Part 2 of 2: German Exhibitions

It has been 500 years since Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, condemning the corrupt practice of indulgences. This single act marked the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, a worldwide movement whose legacy can still be felt today, especially in Germany. The Reformation had a profound effect not only on theology and the church but also on culture, science, business, politics, language and education.In a previous article, we have highlighted exhibitions in the US. This article will show a number of exhibitions throughout the course of 2017, related to Luther and early printing.
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Article

New Venue Proves a Huge Success with Buyers and Sellers at 55th London International Antiquarian Book Fair

ABA Press Release: In its 55th year, the London International Antiquarian Book Fair achieved excellent sales figures – up by 22% to £3.85 million, which given the current economic climate, has surpassed expectations. For the first time, the Fair took place in the National Exhibition Hall of Olympia, West London, from Thursday, May 24 and ran until Saturday, May 26, 2012. Just under 500 visitors – many who had queued to come in - came through the doors in the first 40 minutes of the Fair which comprised of 185 exhibitors* from 17 countries.
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Article

The Unavoidable: The Restoration of Books

A quick look at the shelves or the show cases of exhibitors at antiquarian fairs shows how well books can withstand the bite of time. Whether the property of collectors or of libraries, many incunabula have braved the centuries without a wrinkle.
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