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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Thomas Paine

Published on 13 Nov. 2014
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

Published on 29 April 2014
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

Published on 17 Jan. 2014
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

Published on 16 Jan. 2014
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

Published on 26 Nov. 2013
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



Before the First International ILAB Congress and Fair in Budapest in September, we would like you to have a glimpse into its programme. First of all, we have prepared a brief series on the most prestigious libraries of Budapest, starting with the The Library of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences
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Learn from some of the best booksellers in the UK - York Antiquarian Book Seminar (YABS) 2017 -

York Antiquarian Book Seminar provides an opportunity for leading specialists to share their expertise and experience with booksellers, librarians and collectors in a comprehensive survey of the out-of-print, antiquarian, rare and used book markets. Basic procedures and problems are discussed both formally and informally through a series of lectures, discussions, demonstrations and practical hands-on workshops with emphasis on cataloguing, pricing, and bookselling in the electronic age.
The seminar is designed for people of all levels of expertise, from beginners to those with years of experience who want to hone their skills in this rapidly changing field.
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Shakespeare's First Folio Lends Drama to the Sydney ILAB Pop Up Bookfair on UNESCO World Book and Copyright Day

24 hours of ILAB Pop Up Fairs across the world on April 23, 2015! This is how the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB) will celebrate this year's UNESCO World Book and Copyright Day. This important celebration of literacy, books and reading is held annually on April 23: Shakespeare's birthday. On this day ILAB antiquarian booksellers will be leaving their shops behind and gathering together with a small selection of their best stock to show what beautiful items they deal in. The first in a series of over twenty Pop Up Fairs from Australia to Asia, Africa, Europe and America will start in Sydney. And what location could be more appropriate for the Sydney launch than the State Library of New South Wales?
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Conference Report - Da Lucca a New York a Lugano. Giuseppe Martini libraio tra Otto e Novecento

From 17th to 18th October, bibliophiles, scholars and antiquarian booksellers met in Lucca (Italy) to hold an international conference in honour of the life, work and collections of Guiseppe Martini (1870-1944). The program included lectures by Laura Giambastiani (University of Florence), Piero Scapeechi (Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze) and William Stoneman (Hougthon Library, Harvard University). ILAB President Norbert Donhofer and Fabrizio Govi, ALAI President and Secretary of the ILAB Breslauer Prize for Bibliography, were among the key note speakers. A conference report by Edoardo Barbieri:
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Rare Books in the Press: The Death of the Book

The book is dead, murdered by the internet and buried with a Kindle on its coffin … Or not? The death of the book is not a modern phenomenon, says Ben Ehrenreich in the Los Angeles Review of Books: "Nor is it new to point out that people have been diagnosing - and celebrating - the book's imminent demise for generations." As early as 1913 a futurist manifesto demanded "a typographic revolution directed against the idiotic and nauseating concepts of the outdated and conventional book".
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Why Buy From ABAA/ILAB Dealers?

It's reasonable to claim that the present is far and away the most tumultuous time in the history of book buying. Book buyers have a tool at their disposal, namely the Internet, that has completely changed the way book collectors are able to add to their libraries.
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