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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade

English Literary Manuscripts

Published on 20 July 2018
Among manuscript collectors in the English-speaking world, literature has had the most constant appeal; and until recently, when historical manuscripts have really come into their own, literary ones attracted most of the highest prices for post-mediaeval manuscripts. This appeal is due to the universal interest in literature itself; to the demands of doctoral dissertations; to the desire among some individuals, librarians, and editors for definitive collections; and no doubt also to the relative ease, in comparison with historical manuscripts, of selecting an area for collection.
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives


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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"The best bookstore has one copy of everything in it" - A Wake For The Still Alive: Peter B. Howard, Part 4

The first time I met Peter Howard, he was being guided to my booth at the Boston Book Fair by Harvey Tucker. His mission was to get possession of a rare book I had brought: H. L. Mencken's first book, Ventures Into Verse. Yes, there was some patter but there was also a kind of bravado, even macho; you could see it in the attitude of his hat and in the sudden way that the patter stopped and Peter got down to business. The old world gentility simply was not his style. It was refreshing even if a bit intimidating at times. Peter was not shy about his intent. The best antiquarian bookstore in the world, he let us know long ago, has one copy of everything in it. And our responsibility as booksellers on the road is to look at every rare book. It all sounds quite Faustian now. But Peter's great curiosity, his own willingness to share and to learn has never been lost on me or anyone close to him. There is always something possible about the most seemingly impossible task. To deny it is to throw down the gauntlet. And you really do not want to find yourself in that position with Peter.
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Have you ever wondered what ILAB is all about - other than a logo that appears against some dealers' trading names? The answers are to be found in this weeks' issue of Sheppard's Confidential, featuring an article by Norbert Donhofer, in which he asks "Why ILAB?" and sets out the main benefits of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers.
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ILAB History

Anthony Rota

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.
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Genesis of a Book Artist: Booktryst Interviews Richard Minsky

Richard Minsky is considered to be the most influential book artist of his generation, a pioneer and innovator in the book arts. His critically acclaimed work is found in museums and private collections around the world; he has won many fellowships and awards. Booktryst has written about the breathtaking book art of Richard Minsky. We know that he got a printing press when he was only thirteen years old but his fascination with printing and books began much earlier than that. We recently asked him about his formative years, when he was initially captivated by printing at its most basic.
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Yushodo - A Case for a Decisive Transition from the Past to Future

One harsh reality for booksellers in Japan is that the total sales of books is declining every year. The decline itself would not be of much concern if we were seeing an increase in the sales of eBooks. But unfortunately this is not the case. If we define books as a means by which one acquires information, Google already has the upper hand over all of us. Would "real" printed books survive this rapid development of information technologies? If so, what would the eBooks-to-printed books ratio look like in the future?
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