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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade

From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

Article

Decisions, Decisions - 54th Annual New York Antiquarian Book Fair

This is always a rough week for me. The New York International Antiquarian Book Fair is hauling into view (April 2-6), and there are decisions to be made. What stays? What goes? It's the biggest fair on the circuit and it has the greatest upside in terms of profit potential and meeting new customers. It's also the most expensive of the American fairs, and big city livin' is a real drain on the pocket book.
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Article

And the Oscar goes to: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

"Inspired by Hurricane Katrina, Buster Keaton, The Wizard of Oz, and a love for books, old fashioned and cutting edge at the same time." As usual the Academy Awards 2012 saw lots of George Clooney and Angelina Jolie, but the secret hero of the evening was: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore.
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Article

CABS – or seeing the book trade with clarity

A week at the Colorado Rare Book Seminar is a week like no other I know. It is a highly practical week, it is an inspiring week and it is one of those weeks when, at least metaphorically, you feel you can see for miles. I felt as though I was standing, together with everyone else who attended, on a hill above the plain of bookselling. This hill on which we stood together had a view so good that the trade was fully revealed and clarified. The strengths and weaknesses of the trade were shown with coherence something that is very difficult, if not impossible to achieve in the day to day, month to month rush of the ordinary bookselling business.
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Booksellers

The Art of Collecting – An Interview with David Mason

David Mason discovered his love of literature in a bathtub at age eleven, at fifteen he was expelled from school. For the next decade and a half, he worked odd jobs, bought books more often than food, and floated around Europe. He helped gild a volume in white morocco for Pope John XXIII. And then, at the age of 30, after returning home to Canada and apprenticing with Joseph Patrick Books, he found his calling. A few weeks ago Canadian author and rare book dealer David Mason published his memoirs The Pope's Bookbinder. In his brilliant book he tells the most exciting stories of his legendary international career. An interview with David Mason about his career and the art of collecting.
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ILAB History

ABA History 1906-1984

This short survey of the British ANTIQUARIAN BOOKSELLERS' ASSOCIATION consists of the account of its first half-century prepared by Dudley Massey for the fiftieth anniversary in 1956 (slightly revised) with a continuation to the present year by Martin Hamlyn. It was published in the ILAB Newsletter 36.
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Article

Absences - "Lost, Stolen or Shredded": Rick Gekoski's Stories of Missing Works of Art and Literature

As you may already have realised, I like books which have a story to tell. By this I mean not just the book's own internal narrative, but a copy of the book with its own individual history. Not necessarily a fine and obviously important provenance (although that's always very welcome), but just a tale of its own career in the world. I'm not deterred by a book with a previous owner's inscription, far from it – this can lead into that narrative and document some evidence of the book's initial audience and reception. Who bought this book when it first came out? Where did the book fit into that world rather than ours?
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