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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
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The ABA and the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers

Published on 27 March 2018
The ABA and ILAB look back at a long history. The ABA is relaunching its flagship fair in London this year, the oldest antiquarian book fair in the world, under the auspices of ILAB. This text by the late Anthony Rota, ABA bookseller and ILAB President of Honour, was published in 2008 in the ABA Directory.
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Article

Attention Bibliophiles: World’s Largest Rare Book Fair Returns to San Francisco

Thousands of book lovers, buyers, browsers and sellers will come together in San Francisco at the 44th California International Antiquarian Book Fair from February 11 through Sunday, February 13. With collections and rare treasures offered by more than 200 booksellers from the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America (ABAA) and the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB), the world's largest rare book fair is a bibliophile's delight, featuring a rich selection of books, manuscripts, maps and other printed materials, including incunabula, fine bindings, first editions, children's and illustrated books, ephemera, and antiquarian books on all subject areas one can conceivably imagine.
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ILAB History

Einar Grønholt-Pedersen

The history of ILAB is full of personal memories. Since its beginnings the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers has been a highly effective business organization, a network for the professional book trade, and it has been more: The League is an international family.
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Article

Does the “Book Dust Disease” Threaten the Rare Book Trade? A 19th Century Study Rediscovered

Dust on the shelves. Collectors consider it romantic: the dusty corners of antiquarian bookshops where scarce volumes have been hidden under the dust for centuries waiting to be discovered and to be bought by book lovers for a few cents. (The legends say that these books exist.) Dealers live with it or, most of the time, don't do anything against it: the dust in the corners where boxes with hundreds (thousands) of books are stored waiting to be described, priced and put into the showcases or into the internet. Scienstists warn: dust may be unhealthy. As early as 1900 Eduard Fischer von Röslerstamm published an empirical analysis on the life expentancy of antiquarian booksellers, librarians and book collectors. His question was: Did they suffer from dust in the lungs? Was the "book dust disease" an occupational disease that threatened the rare book trade?
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Article

The International League of Antiquarian Booksellers - Memoirs

It happened that in 1971 I was the president of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association when it was Great Britain's turn to act as host to the biennial congress of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers, the umbrella organisation for national associations of antiquarian booksellers across the world. It was becoming the custom that the congress be followed by an international antiquarian book fair attracting perhaps as many as 200 exhibitors. The congress itself was the responsibility of the League's committee but the physical arrangements, the social programme and the running of the fair were all down to the host association.
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Article

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Chechen jihadist

Sheikh Mansur was a Chechen resistance fighter who waged a six-year campaign against Catherine the Great's forces before his capture in 1791, calling upon fellow Muslims to join him in jihad. 'He was the first to preach and lead … the Holy War against the infidel Russians in the Caucasus … Dropped, as it were, from the clouds full grown, a warrior, preacher and prophet and, in spite of [his] many failures … he drew after him now one, now another, of the the fierce tribes of the mountain and the forest … He it was who first taught them that in religious reform lay the one chance of preserving their cherished liberty and independence' (Baddeley, The Russian Conquest of the Caucasus, p. 47).
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Article

AUSTRIAN BOOKSELLERS LAUNCH THE ILAB POP UP WEEK

Last Saturday, the "heart of literacy" lay in Baden, next to Vienna. Dr. Paul Kainbacher launched the ILAB Pop Up Week in his antiquarian bookshop with a Bibliophile Evening dedicated to rare books on the history and exploration of Africa. The elegant rooms were crowded with books and visitors who enjoyed the lectures given by Walter Sauer and Martin Peter Pfitscher, both renowned authors and leading experts from the University of Vienna. Walter Sauer, Professor of Economic and Social History, compared Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" with the experiences of Austrian travelers to Central Africa, while Martin Peter Pfitscher, specialist in Ethnology, took the visitors on a photographic tour to Africa seen through the lense of author, adventurer and photographer Oscar Baumann.
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