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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade

From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

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Book Scouting in ... England, Scotland, Ireland

I wish I were the kind of traveler who blogs fluently, breezily, in the moment, from foreign sidewalk cafés and park benches. Instead, I am one who, two weeks after she's returned home, remembers that she intended to blog about her June book-scouting tour, and not just post the occasional photo to Facebook. Here are some belated highlights.
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Rare Books School 2013 – Part 2

Off to Cecil Court with the Modern First Editions group from London Rare Books School. An excellent afternoon. Highlight for me was Ron Chapman (Tindley & Chapman) pretending to think that Angus O'Neill (Omega Bookshop) was a student on the course and had he learnt anything – but an afternoon full of wider interest too. Glimpses of a couple of very high-powered booksellers in earnest conversations – a feeling of vultures circling over something special that might have just turned up. We never got to find out what it may have been, but the booksellers of the Court really put themselves out to show off some treasures and to answer everyone's questions.
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The Pope’s Bookbinder – David Mason’s Brilliant Memoirs of an Antiquarian Bookseller

Over the course of what is now a legendary international career, Mason shows unerring instincts for the logic of the trade. He makes good money from Canadian editions, both legitimate and pirated (turns out Canadian piracies so incensed Mark Twain that he moved to Montreal for six months to gain copyright protection). He outfoxes the cousins of L.M. Montgomery at auction and blackmails the head of the Royal Ontario Museum. He excoriates the bureaucratic pettiness that obstructs public acquisitions, he trumpets the ingenuity of collectors and scouts, and in archives around the world he appraises history in its unsifted and most moving forms. And above all: David Mason boldly campaigns for what he feels is the moral duty of the antiquarian trade: to preserve the history and traditions of all nations, and to assert without compromise that such histories have value.
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Jean-Henri Fabre: the man who loved bugs

Jean-Henri Fabre loved to study bugs as a boy. He grew up poor in the south of France, gained a teaching certificate at age 19, and went on to become a physicist, chemist and botanist. But, he always came back to the insects. Small wonder that he became a noted entomologist. Indeed, he is considered the father of modern entomology.
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Ben Barrett-Forrest: The History of Typography, in Stop-Motion Animation

Built with 2454 photographs, 291 letters, and 140 hours of his life, Barrett-Forrest's animated short is a delight. As he guides us from the lowly beginnings of Guttenberg's printing press, all the way to the computer age, it becomes apparent that the art of type is a corollary for history. Like architecture and fashion, typography is a reflection of the world in which it's created. Barrett-Forrest explains his interest in type and the genesis of the project in an interview below.
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When will we meet again? - First impressions from the ILAB Congress in Paris 2014

It was his first ILAB Congress – and certainly not the last one. Peter Fritzen, a specialist for rare books, maps and prints who runs a wonderful bookshop in Trier (Germany), was among the – regrettably - very few German dealers who took part in the 41st ILAB Congress in Paris from 13th to 16th April 2014. If you read his enthusiastic report, you will soon realize why ILAB Congresses are so special and why you, for sure, will not miss the next big event in Hungary in 2016.
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