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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
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Renaissance

Rare Books - When is an inscription not an inscription?

Published on 14 Oct. 2014
Two folks identified the key elements of this month's crocodile mystery in their comments: Misha Teramura correctly noted that the inscription in the middle of the page - "pp. 184-190 refer to the progress of religion westward toward America" - refers to George Herbert's final poem from The Temple, "The Church Militant." And David Shaw noted that the other inscriptions - "8652″ on the top left and "A176″ on the bottom right - look to be an accession number and a shelf mark. But let's back up for one moment to understand why I find these marks interesting. The book in question is a first edition of George Herbert's The Temple (STC 13183). It's an interesting work, and a popular one in the 17th century. And as you can see from the notations on the front pastedown and the recto of the first free flyleaf, it's a work that was prized by later collectors.This particular copy was owned by Sir Leicester Harmsworth before it came into the Folger Shakespeare Library collection, and its value is shown in part by the blue goatskin binding signed on the bottom turn-in by Riviere and Son. Its value is more obviously indicated by the inscription on the pastedown, "a copy sold in the Terry sale in Dec 1935 for $3600."
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Renaissance

The Giunti of Florence. A Renaissance Printing and Publishing Family

Published on 24 Oct. 2012
This ambitious project explores the history and output of the Giunti Press in Florence, covering the firm from its beginnings in 1497 to its end in 1625, and providing descriptions of each Giunti book published with extensive indication of the libraries holding copies of each edition. In doing so, it describes the literature and history of Florence in the late Renaissance as well as the development of the Italian language within this important period of time.
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Article

Collecting F. Scott Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald, all but forgotten at the time of his death in 1940, is now one of the most eagerly collected American authors. His first two books This Side of Paradise and Flappers and Philosophers (both 1920) are very uncommon ...
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Article

A Look at the American Antiquarian Book Trade

At years end, the state of the American antiquarian book trade can best be described as unsettled, and in what has become an increasingly global marketplace; I suspect that the American experience is little different from that of our overseas colleagues. Although some areas of the American trade remain robust with children's books, American colorplate books, some Americana, and some literary highspots most conspicuous among them, the trade in general continues to undergo a rapid and continuous shift. The ease of finding books on the Internet has contributed to the increasingly rapid decline of the open shop. Those unwilling to adapt to the new circumstances are facing increasing difficulties.
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Article

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - The Grey Fox in the Chicken Barn

I have never been able to fully embrace the work of Lew Welch. He has been suggested to me numerous times over the years as a poet whose work I would enjoy, and thus I dutifully track down a copy of Ring of Bone or more recently his potluck How I Work As A Poet. And each time I come to the conclusion that he is not for me. That said, I greatly enjoy coming across anything by Donald Allen's Grey Fox Press, which kept Welch before a reading public after Welch walked away from poetry in 1971 never to be seen again. If not for Allen's efforts, Welch might very well have disappeared without a trace altogether.
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Article

The Closing of the American Bookstore

It has been said that today's individual bookseller websites are the modern version of open shops of yesteryear. Certainly our own website was greatly influenced by Serendipity and the original Borders, as I detail in a separate essay. Is this the end of the American bookstore? Nothing like. Just the coincidental closing of two great individual, independent stores through entirely different circumstances. They live on, vigorously, in the memory of all who appreciated them. Owning and operating a bookstore has NEVER been an easy way to make a living. But booksellers are an obstinate and romantic lot. From their corps arise, from time to time, people with enough business sense to actually support their Quixotic dreams. Serendipity and Borders have closed, but independent bookstores like them will always be around.
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Article

BUDAPEST 2016 - ILAB CONGRESS & INTERNATIONAL ANTIQUARIAN BOOK FAIR

For the first time ever the Hungarian rare book dealers invite colleagues and collectors from across the world to Budapest. The 42nd ILAB Congress and 26th ILAB International Antiquarian Book Fair from 21 to 25 September 2016 will present Budapest as one of the most beautiful cities and one of the most fascinating book capitals in Europe.
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