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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Thomas Paine

Published on 26 May 2018
January 29 is the birthday of early American political activist Thomas Paine (1737), whose pamphlet Common Sense (1776) credited with inspiring American colonists to embrace the idea of independence from Great Britain. The American Revolution had already started but the work served to spur volunteers for the Continental Army. It was widely distributed throughout the colonies, read aloud in taverns, and unabashedly pirated. Some scholars say it was the first American bestseller.
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Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - The Secret Life of Harper Lee

This week we celebrate Nelle Harper Lee, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. Lee was born on April 28, 1926 in the sleepy town of Monroeville Alabama. As a girl, she became friends with another future writer: Truman Capote. The two were outsiders among their peers but discovered an affinity for each other. According to Capote biographer, Gerald Clarke, "Nelle was too rough for most other girls, and Truman was too soft for most other boys."
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Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Fra Paolo Sarpi, Scholar, Priest, and Heretic

The Counter-Reformation began with the Council of Trent (1545-1563) and lasted a full century, until the close of the Thirty Years' War (1648). The movement sparked conflict all over Europe, challenging the very foundations of people's daily lives. As nationalism fermented, states like Venice began to assert their autonomy – and the Catholic Church often took drastic measures in response. In the case of cleric and statesman Fra Paolo Sarpi, they even hired a hitman. Though Sarpi consistently stood up to the Church in an official capacity, he also chose to publish his greatest work, The History of the Council of Trent, under a pseudonym.
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Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Marie LaFarge was convicted of murder

It is the birthday of murderess Marie LaFarge (1816), whose 1840 trial for poisoning her husband with arsenic became a cause célébre throughout France, with the public deeply divided over her innocence or guilt. She was the first person convicted by direct forensic evidence, and the case was one of the first followed closely by the public with daily newspaper reports. The trial was a spectacle attended by people from all over France. It included all the twists and turns of a good whodunit, including a celebrated expert witness and setbacks for both the prosecution and the defense. Marie LaFarge wrote her Mémoires(1841) while in prison. The novel The Lady and the Arsenic (1937) was based on the case as was the French film L'Affaire Lafarge (1938).
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Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - The Irritable Tribe of Poets

Only three issues of Theo were published, but it still took me a couple of years to track down a complete set. I'd been fascinated by the magazine ever since I first ran across a copy of number 2, which has a rather unique design; the covers are stapled off center, so that the fore edge is layered; the front wrap ends before the first leaf, so that the name of each contributor is visible, and the rear wrap extends past the text block.
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives


“My highest priority is to build up confidence in the professional antiquarian book trade”

In mid-April the Austrian antiquarian bookseller Norbert Donhofer was elected ILAB President. In an interview with Bettina Führer he talks about recent challenges of the international antiquarian book trade and his plans for the upcoming two years of his presidency.
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Rare Books in the Press: Rare Comic Taken From Nic Cage Resurfaces

"A valuable comic featuring the debut of Superman has re-surfaced in a storage locker, and police said Monday that it appears to be the same one stolen from Nicolas Cage more than a decade ago", the police reported on April 11, 2011. An article about the comic theft in Ventura County Star.
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43d California Book Fair Coda: Happy Trails

A mysterious stranger appears at the 43d California International Antiquarian Book Fair and blesses exhibitors left and right by spending over one million dollars on Bibles. Astonishing, a marvel indeed, but not a supernatural event. Or was it?
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Yushodo Celebrates its 80th Anniversary

Established in 1932 as an antiquarian bookstore specializing in research materials in Jimbocho, Yushodo will celebrate its 80th anniversary this year. This means, after some simple math and a bit of Yushodo history, Yushodo began its operation as a stock company 52 years ago when importing research materials from overseas was still considered a venture business; and it has been 2 very exciting years since Yushodo moved into the new office. And most importantly, our first fiscal year as a member of MCHI Holdings, a business entity established under DNP with the aim of revolutionizing how books and information are distributed, has ended at the end of last month.
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Twelve ILAB Booksellers at Chicago’s Historical “Millionaires’ Row

On UNESCO World Book and Copyright Day, 23 April 2016, twelve Chicago booksellers will hold an ILAB Pop Up Book Fair at this wonderful historical venue. All members of the Midwest Chapter of the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America (ABAA), they will show a fine selection of rare books, manuscripts, prints, autographs and ephemera from all centuries and for all tastes at Glessner House to take part in the worldwide ILAB/UNESCO World Book and Copyright Day celebrations and to raise funds in support of the great work of UNESCO's Forest Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative (WPDI) in South Sudan. The following ILAB booksellers invite you to enjoy a day among beautiful books in the former beautiful home of Chicago's famous Glessner family:
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Rare Books on the Blog - Covered in Silk & Satin: Embroidered Bookbindings

"Textile bindings were produced primarily by professional embroiderers, but were also made by individual female owners. They were very much in vogue in England during the first half of the seventeenth century, particularly as covers for small devotional books, such as this copy of The Book of Common Prayer (London, 1629) that measures just eleven centimetres in height. The cover is made of white satin over blue silk, with birds and flowers embroidered with different coloured silk set within frames of gold thread, with gold thread borders on the spine and both sides." Antoni Tedeschi in book bindings made of silk.
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