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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
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ALAI History

ALAI History 1947-2011

Published on 01 Dec. 2010
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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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Booksellers

Alan Shelley (1941 - 2009)

The death of Alan Shelley from cancer at the age of 68 on November 18th at Chailey Hospice, near Lewes, is an occasion of great sadness to his family and to his many friends both within and without the rare book trade. He had resigned from the Presidency of the ABA only three weeks before on the grounds of ill health after a notably successful spell at a difficult time in the Association's affairs.
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Article

Paris 2016

The International Rare Book & Autograph Fair at the Grand Palais in Paris is one of the most prestigious fairs in the world, attracting nearly 200 exhibitors and over 20.000 visitors each year who enjoy the opportunity to browse, buy and admire more than 100.000 historical documents – rare books, manuscripts, autographs, prints and ephemera from all centuries – in the elegant glass-domed hall of the Grand Palais.
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Booksellers

Emil Hirsch (1866-1954) – Antiquarian Booksellers in Exile –

The fifth part of the series of 25 booksellers’ biographies from Ernst Fischer’s biographical handbook "Verleger, Buchhändler & Antiquare aus Deutschland und Österreich in der Emigration nach 1933" is dedicated to Emil Hirsch, who started his career in Munich in the year 1884 as an apprentice at Ludwig Rosenthal’s antiquarian bookshop. After working with Oscar Gerschel in Stuttgart, Zahn & Jaensch in Dresden and, as partner, with Gottlob Hess in Munich, he founded his own company in 1879. Emil Hirsch’s antiquarian bookshop and auction house very soon became the centre of bibliophily in the Bavarian capital. He was a founding member of the Gesellschaft der Münchener Bücherfreunde, encouraged Hans von Weber to establish the „Hundertdrucke“ and supported the Bremer Presse. Famous collectors, authors and artists like Karl Wolfskehl and Franz Marc were amongst his friends.
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Article

Swedes Find Stolen Atlas in New York

"He was entrusted to guard Sweden's cultural heritage, but instead this senior librarian spent years surreptitiously stealing and selling scores of its rare and precious books. When the thief, Anders Burius, was finally caught in 2004, the media called him the "Royal Library Man," and his sensational crime and subsequent suicide became the subjects of a government inquiry, a radio documentary and, last year, a television mini-series. Now, for the first time, one of the missing books — the earliest printed atlas of the Americas — has been recovered by Sweden's Royal Library after a librarian there noticed that it was being offered for sale …"
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Article

Rare Books London - An Interview with ABA Secretary Camilla Szymanowska

Rare Books London, the capital's new festival of old and rare books, will bring together booksellers, auctioneers, collectors, readers, experts of various professions all linked to the world of rare and antiquarian books. We spoke to Camilla Szymanowska, Secretary of the British Antiquarian Booksellers Association (ABA) about this exciting new initiative.
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