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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
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Collecting

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Why I Bothered

Published on 22 June 2012
"If you keep an open mind in this business, you learn something new every day." Greg Gibson on collecting the unusual: "Fire insurance mapping began in London in the 1700s, but it had never been applied with a systematic approach. In 1867 Daniel Alfred Sanborn, a surveyor from Massachusetts, saw the need for such a service, and quickly occupied that niche. By the late 1800s he had offices spanning the continent, sending out thousands of surveyors to record the footprints and construction details of buildings in American cities. Insurance companies could then use this information to write accurate policies, based on potential fire risk as documented by Sanborn's company."
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Collecting

Papier Mâché and The Private Library

Published on 22 June 2012
"One of the most unusual bindings one is likely to encounter among books purchased at yard sales, garage sales, friends-of-the-library book sales and the like is papier mâché." L.D. Mitchell on Papier Mâché and The Private Library.
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Collecting

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - OenoLit and The Private Library

Published on 24 May 2012
Given that the first book printed from moveable type in Western Europe, the Gutenberg Bible, contains numerous references to wine, and given that the technology for printing that first book may itself have been modeled upon the screw press used to extract wine from grapes, this writer has always found it puzzling that the cultivation, processing, distribution and consumption of wine is rarely a major thematic element in works of fiction.
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Collecting

Book Collecting 101 at The Private Library

Published on 15 Sept. 2011
Anyone who has spent much time exploring Internet sites devoted to book collecting can be excused for coming away with the feeling that such collecting is too expensive and/or too complicated for the average person. The focus at too many such sites continues to be on great rarities, or on well-heeled collectors, or on events that the average working stiff can't possibly take time off from work to attend. Here at The Private Library, though, we contend that anyone can collect the printed book!
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Collecting

Rare Books to Honour the Still Alive - “Festschriften and The Private Library”

Published on 18 Aug. 2010
Memorials are published after the death of an author, artist or scientist. "It is rare that such tributes are composed while an honoree is still alive, though such tributes are not unknown." "Festschriften" – there is no English or American equivalent for what is meant by the German word – are addressed to scientists during their life and career. L. D. Mitchell introduces a field of collecting rare books which are popular in the scholarly world, but nearly unknown to bibliophiles.
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Article

Interview with Gonzalo F. Pontes - New ILAB President 2016

At the Ordinary General Meeting on 20th September 2016 in Budapest the presidents of ILAB's 22 national member associations voted for Gonzalo Fernandez Pontes (Spain) as new ILAB President.We asked Mr. Pontes about his plans in his new role, his background and what motivates him to invest so much of his time into the League.
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Article

The Leaning Tower of Photography Books

One of the joys of dealing in modern literary first editions is the neat and nearly uniform size of the vast majority of one's inventory. Your basic octavo volume, when packed for a book fair, nestled convivially amongst its fellows, will fit neatly in a standard document storage box. After having done a few hundred fairs, one can pack up quickly and neatly, leaving no space in a box for the books to shuffle about, with the resultant deterioration in condition that loosely packed books usually suffer. I particularly recommend books of poetry and drama for this purpose – usually slim volumes that, when inserted between other books, tighten one's box load to a satisfying solidity.
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Article

A Tale of Two Towns - From Library to Woolshed on UNESCO’s World Book and Copyright Day

HAMILTON is the major city of Western Victoria, with a population of over 8,000 people, it is surrounded by smaller satellite towns and over 2 million sheep! Given the large population of sheep it will come as little surprise to anyone to learn that agriculture forms the economic base for the region. Although the population (of people!) might be relatively small the district has a reputation for large homesteads with fine book collections. Where you find book collectors, antiquarian book dealers are often close-by, and the Western District is no exception. Bellcourt Books, Hamilton's sole bookshop is run by ANZAAB member Guy Stephens and 30 kilometres away in Dunkeld fellow ANZAAB member, Roz Greenwood of Roz Greenwood Old and Rare Books is located in stunning scenery at the foot of the picturesque Grampians Mountains.
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Article

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions: Cormac McCarthy

The front flap of McCarthy's 1965 first book proved to be very prophetic: "Confident of the acclaim The Orchard Keeper will ultimately receive, but hopeful that such recognition could come now rather than twenty years hence, the publishers sent a number of advance copies to well-known writers and editors, asking for comment and criticism..." Sure enough, McCarthy gained a fervent but very limited following among literary-minded readers, critics, and fellow authors. Outside this circle he was not very well known, even after the 1985 publication of his fifth novel, the violent tour-de-force Blood Meridian, which is now commonly ranked among the best novels of the past quarter century.
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Article

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Guiding Lights

I've ranted before about lighthouses being one of those subject areas from which collectors have mysteriously vanished. People scrabbling and clawing in the most fearsome way for lighthouse literature and then one day, more or less out of the blue, they don't want any at all. Not even the rarest material. I suspect that in this case, eBay and print-on-demand technology killed the market. The field was largely information driven, and once people got access to cheap reprints or bargain copies of scarce texts, the game was over for dealers like me.
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