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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
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Early Printing

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions: Johann Froben and The Private Library

Published on 11 Jan. 2012
"He was the soul of honesty himself, and slow to think evil of others; so that he was often taken in. Of envy and jealousy he knew as little as the blind do of colour. He was swift to forgive and to forget even serious injuries ... He was enthusiastic for good learning, and felt his work to be his own reward. It was delightful to see him with the first pages of some new book in his hands, some author of whom he approved. His face was radiant with pleasure, and you might have supposed that he had already received a large return of profit. The excellence of his work would bear comparison with that of the best printers of Venice and Rome." (Erasmus)
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

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ILAB on Instagram

ILAB is social
Booksellers, book collectors, librarians have taken to the world of Instagram in the last few years. Whether as a business or institution or in private capacity, Instagram seems to have turned into an interesting new channel for rare book lovers and professionals.
The ILAB is "bookstagramming" now – yes, in the world of social media – this is a proper term. "Bookstagram" refers to an Instagram account that revolves around books. Follow us on ILAB RARE BOOKS and find out about events linked to ILAB dealers!
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Die Unsterblichkeit der Sterne – Francisco de Goya, Walter Benjamin, Václav Havel

Blank, specialist in 18th to 20th century literature and philosophy, reconstructed Kafka's library which was given as a present to the city of Prague by the Porsche AG in the year 2002. His other life long passion was Walter Benjamin. After the Kafka project Blank reconstructed Benjamin's library. He compiled all the books Benjamin had owned before his library was lost during the Nazi regime. Blank's catalogue "In Walter Benjamins Bibliothek. Dokumentation einer verlorenen Bibliothek" was published in 2006. Now the books most important to Walter Benjamin, and some of the most rare and beautiful ones, are exhibited at the Centre for Persecuted Art in Solingen. A model of the memorial at Port Bou, where Benjamin took his life after his failed escape from the Nazis, is also shown.
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Stamped with a National Character: Nineteenth Century American Color Plate Books - An Exhibition

Historical events seldom create neat time periods, but in this case the century fairly defines an era. The first American color plate book, William Birch's The City of Philadelphia...As It Appeared in the Year 1800, was published in parts in 1799-1800. At the end of the century, the mid-1890s saw the dawn of the widespread use of the trichromatic half-tone process, which quickly replaced the various mediums for producing color plate book illustrations that had been in use throughout the preceding century.
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Echoes from the Vault - The University of St Andrews launches a new blog

The Department of Special Collections of the University of St Andrews has recently launched a new blog created by the Rare Books Collections: Echoes from the Vault explores discoveries made through current retro-cataloguing efforts, announces any news or events from the Special Collections and will highlight some of the treasures from the University's long history of collecting.
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One Hand on the Wheel - The International League of Antiquarian Booksellers During the 1990s

In 1985 I was elected to the committee of the ILAB, the international umbrella organization then uniting the national associations of eighteen countries, now twenty-one. The problems a small national association like the NVvA has to cope with do not differ fundamentally from those faced by the ILAB. The committee consists of members from various countries, who, when they agree to join the international committee, are expected to let the international collective interests prevail over the national and/or private interests. These responsible positions are not subject to any payment, and compensation for expenses is only partial. By raising the yearly financial contribution of the national associations to the ILAB treasury bit by bit, and through a levy on the booths at antiquarian book fairs sponsored by the national associations, the financial position of the ILAB slowly improved. In 1996, just before I retired as president of the ILAB, I was able to convince a majority in the General Assembly to vote for more appropriate reimbursement of costs for future members of the committees.
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London Rare Books School – 2013

A couple of appearances for me on the maps course last week, but a full-time commitment to the Modern First Editions course this week. Booksellers generally love talking, of course – especially about books (and even more about themselves) – so it's been an excellent week. A delightful if very mixed group of students. The course well under way on Monday with a discursive session on the history and background of collecting modern books, the intellectual rationale of collecting, the nuances of textual transmission, the meaning of 'modern' in this context and the first appearance of author-collecting guides.
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