As 2018 came to an end, the BBC featured a rising trend in collecting antiquarian material and how the internet has changed the trade. "The rise of online has helped revive the second-hand book market, but what impact has it had on traditional, second-hand book shops?"
After the Pasadena book fair in February this year I enjoyed a scenic drive up the Pacific Highway to Seattle, where I met up with the local dealers who invited me to come exhibit at the Seattle Antiquarian Book Fair in October. I thought that sounded like fun, so jumped back on the QF93 to attend my first book fair in the Pacific Northwest.
The prize, endowed with 10.000 Euro, donated by the association
Buchkultur e.V., the city of Ludwigsburg and Wiedeking
Stuttgart Foundation, will be awarded in 2019 to German philologist Klaus Völker.
"This is to be a collection without order, drawn from many papers, which I have copied here, hoping to arrange them later each in its place, according to the subjects of which they treat."
Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)
Fresh from his stint as Special Guest Curator at the Louvre (no less!), in September 2010 Umberto Eco will open the ILAB-LILA International Congress and Book Fair with the lecture The Vertigo of the List and of the Catalogue. "The subject of lists has been a theme of many writers from Homer onwards. My great challenge was to transfer it to painting and music and to see whether I could find equivalents in the Louvre, because frankly when I suggested the subject I had no idea how I would write about visual lists", he said at the Louvre.
Dear Fellow-Presidents, I am very sorry to be the bearer of bad news which are related to the thefts at the Girolamini-Library at Naples and Marino Massimo de Caro. Christian Westergaard, from Denmark, was arrested some days ago - and later released - for supposedly handling stolen Italian books. The books in question had no immediate Italian provenance (some came from the Macclesfield Library) but were on an Italian list of stolen books, presumably those known to have been stolen by De Caro and his accomplices. Because Christian and other dealers openly list their stock online, it seems that the Italian investigators just matched authors and titles, without reading the detailed notes, or examining the photos on the web, which would have demonstrated that these were not the copies in question. It is also more than curious that all of the eleven books that were confiscated by the Danish Police were titles that had appeared in auction 59 at Zisska & Schauer, Munich, in May of 2012. All of the then withdrawn books– totaling up to 540 – are still kept under lock by the Bavarian Police and that factor was forgotten by the Italian investigators! It may therefore even be that they do not fully understand that these books exist in multiple copies.
Time now to go and have tea with some booksellers. Anne Marie Wall and Jim Hinck (Hinck & Wall) are booksellers specialising in garden history and landscape architecture, early horticulture, and architecture and town-planning in general. Americans both, they have settled in Cambridge after a spell in Paris (where they retain a pied-à-terre). It's an absorbing story. They realised, much earlier than most of us, that with the advent of the internet, the book-trade's traditional staples – the good, solid and essential books on any subject that everyone needs – were about to become a rapidly diminishing asset. As Jim puts it in a thoughtful recent post on his viaLibrian blog (required reading), "the pool of findable books exploded". Their customers, often in American institutional libraries, were no longer going to want books they could find anywhere at the click of a mouse. The correct deduction was made that they would continue to want the rare and the unique, and that American holdings would generally be weakest in early non-English language material. To Europe they came to find just that material.
The Cambridge University Library is cataloguing its collection of 4,650 incunabula online for the first time. The collection, part of which goes back to the late 15th century, is internationally renowned and includes some 134 unique items.