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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
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Autographs

„Vom Autographensammeln" - The First Modern Handbook on Autograph Collecting

Published on 26 May 2018
„Vom Autographensammeln. Versuch einer Darstellung seines Wesens und seiner Geschichte im deutschen Sprachgebiet" was written by Günther Mecklenburg in 1963. It was the first modern handbook on autograph collecting - and still is THE German book on this subject. In various chapters the author describes all the basics of autograph collecting, gives definitions of common terms and abbreviations used in catalogues as well as a list of relevant bibliographies, catalogue raisonnés and archives. Günther Mecklenburg explains how autograph collections are built, how they are described and valuated. He lists resources to identify the handwritings of artists, authors, politicians and scientists and gives valuable advice how to differentiate between the original autograph and forgeries.
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Understanding Book Descriptions

Edgar Franco, Dictionary of Terms

In English, French, German and Italian. "Contrary to common practice, this dictionary contains as few words as possible. I have limited the terms, to those used by antiquarian booksellers, which are not to be found in the usual bilingual, trilingual, or multilingual dictionaries. " Edgar Franco, Dictionary of Terms and Expressions Commonly Used in the Antiquarian Book Trade Edgar Franco's "Dictionary" was published by the ILAB in 1994. It is available as a pdf file, and as a print version.
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Understanding Book Descriptions

John Carter, ABC for Book Collectors

"Like all good reference books, the ABC for Book Collectors conveys much in a little, sets limits to its subject and keeps within them, and - saving grace - treats that subject with individuality as well as authority, in a style at once concise, forthright and witty. It is, in short, a masterpiece, whose merits are acknowledged by the fact that it has never, in forty years, been out of print." (Nicolas Barker in his introduction to the revised edition of the "ABC for Book Collectors", Oak Knoll Press 1995) John Carter, ABC for Book Collectors The ABC for Book Collectors is presented here, with our thanks, by permission of Bob Fleck, Oak Knoll Press. Nicolas Barker about the ABC for Book Collectors
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Article

John Hanning Speke - English Soldier and Explorer (1827-1864)

In search of the source of the Nile, of Lake Victoria, Lake Tanganyika and the "fabled 'Mountains of the Moon'": John Hanning Speke's life and deeds are closely connected with Richard Francis Burton. They were companions who finally turned out to be combatants. After Burton's biography Raymond Howgego tells the story of the other famous African explorer John Hanning Speke on ILAB.org. With a bibliography of Speke's travel accounts and books about Speke.
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Article

The Real Friends of Rare Books – A comment on two excellent articles by Fabrizio Govi and Daniele Danesi

On Sunday, November 9th, Il Sole 24 Ore devoted an entire page to recent problems in the Italian rare book trade, featuring two excellent articles by Daniele Danesi and Fabrizio Govi. These articles moved me to speak a few words prior to the Bloomsbury Rome auction of November 12, with its books "released from confiscation" ("dissequestrati"). Had he not been abroad, I am certain that Fabrizio, who succeeded me as president of the ALAI in 2010, would have done exactly the same. I recognize that in this time of severe economic crisis and in the aftermath of the "Girolamini Affair" and related criminal activities, Fabrizio has demonstrated outstanding leadership in speaking out on behalf of ALAI members, and defending them against irresponsible allegations and harassment by Italian authorities.
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Article

The Most Progressive Magazine of its Time, a Work of Art

"In Holland, the birthplace of De Stijl, modernism took various routs that ran the aesthetic gamut from hybridized Art Nouveau to systematic rationalism. Somewhere between these poles was the magazine Wendingen (Upheaval), one of the principal sources for the chronicling of twentieth-cetury design and architecture." The famous Dutch magazine Wendingen, published between 1918 and 1931, was dedicated to modern architecture and design. Stephen J. Gertz describes its influences on the history of art and modern aesthetics in the first half of the 20th century.
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Article

Umberto Eco (1932-2016)

I was deeply saddened upon learning of the death of Umberto Eco, Patron of Honor of ILAB and ALAI, philosopher, scientist, homme de lettres, customer and friend to so many of us. I am extremely grateful to have met this outstanding person many times, and I remember the many discussions about books with him during the book fairs in Milano. He was, by all fair means, a brilliant thinker and an extremely cultivated and educated man. What probably counts even more, is the fact that he had a critical look on his beloved country, Italy, and he didn't hesitate to oppose many politicians whenever he had the feeling that they were wrong.
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Article

Did This Rare Color-Plate Book Inspire the Six-Month Dental Check-Up?

Stop! Read this before you go to the dentist. Maybe you decide not to go … Stephen Gertz about George Cruikshank and the pains of the six-month dental check-up.
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Article

Seminars on Book Collecting – The New Season

This week (apart from stitching together a final report on this summer's successful internship scheme – more on that in a week or two), I have been putting the finishing touches to the 2015-2016 programme of the monthly 'Second Tuesday' Seminars on Book Collecting which we put on in collaboration with the Institute of English Studies (IES) at London University.
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