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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions: Time Travel for Dummies

Published on 05 Jan. 2012
When my accountant said, "Hey, you've had another good year," my response was, "You've got to be kidding!" But then, looking back, I remembered some happy referrals, several fascinating consignments and, in general, quite a bit of successful book scouting. Ten Pound Island's invoices and check stubs (all digital!) told the story in detail. My "new business model," concocted so painfully over the past year, paid off. I dropped the California, Florida, and New York book fairs, cut expenses way back, moved from hard copy to web based catalogs, and quoted a lot more books using specially tailored, richly illustrated e-based catalogs.
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Unfinished Books and The Private Library

Published on 17 Nov. 2011
The term completist, as applied to book collectors, has always struck this writer as something of a misnomer. In one sense, the term certainly is applicable: i.e., it describes the attempt to collect everything a particular author ever wrote, or everything a particular publisher ever published, or everything ever written about a particular topic. On the other hand …
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The Gravell Watermark Archive: Taking watermarks online

Published on 18 July 2011
The Gravell Watermark Archive ( is bringing together more than 50,000 watermarks from America and Europe, including 7,500 images collected by American-watermark expert Thomas L. Gravell and about 45,000 unpublished marks documented by Charles-Moise Briquet. On the website, you can search for stags, swans, or unicorns, creatures from a medieval bestiary produced long ago by wire attached to a paper mould. (Watermarks are made by placing a design made with thin wire on a paper mould. The paper formed over the wire is thinner and translucent when held up to a light source.)
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Manuscripta mediaevalia - Medieval Manuscripts Online

Published on 15 Feb. 2011
75.000 medieval manuscripts, available online: Manuscripta mediaevalia is a joint venture of the State Library Berlin (Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin / Preußischer Kulturbesitz), the State Library Munich (Bayerische Staatsbibliothek München) and the German Documentation Centre for the History of Arts (Deutsches Dokumentationszentrum für Kunstgeschichte - Bildarchiv Foto Marburg).
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Early Printing

Digital Finding Aid for Early Copies of Edmund Spenser's Works

Published on 04 Feb. 2011
The Spenser Archive Finding Aid is the first bibliographical database with links to collections all over the world that house 16th and 17th century copies of works by the English poet and colonial administrator Edmund Spenser. The database is open to editors, bibliographers, scholars and students of the history of the book, curators of collections, rare book dealers and private collectors. You can browse editions and folio parts, and you can search for copies in libraries in North America, Europe and Australia. The information has been gathered and carefully checked over many years by dozens of contributors.
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Online Archive of the John F. Kennedy Collection

Published on 14 Jan. 2011
The archive at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum (Boston, MA) includes thousands of historical papers, documents and images: irreplaceable records of the struggle for Civil Rights, the conflict with the Soviet Union during the height of the Cold War, the efforts to land a man on the moon, the prevention of a nuclear catastrophe during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and American art and culture in general.
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives


Music Manuscripts Online - The Morgan Library and Museum

More than forty celebrated music manuscripts from the extraordinary permanent collection of Morgan Library will be available online for the first time. The website Music Manuscripts Online officially launches on Monday, December 20, 2010. The goal of the is to create and to provide online access to high-quality images and descriptions of music manuscripts owned by The Morgan Library & Museum. More than 900 manuscripts containing approximately 42000 pages have been digitized and described. These include works by Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, Johannes Brahms, Frederic Chopin, Claude Debussy, Joseph Haydn, Franz Liszt, Gustav Mahler, Mozart, Puccini, Schubert, and Schumann.
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Portuguese and Brazilian Books in the John Carter Brown Library, 1537-1839

A new publication of the John Carter Brown Library: Portuguese and Brazilian Books in the John Carter Brown Library, 1537-1839, with a Selection of Braziliana Printed in Countries Other Than Portugal and Brazil. Compiled by Valeria Gauz
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It’s a Book - Not an App

"Have you ever tried to explain book collecting to someone who's not a collector? This has never been an easy thing to do, but it seems to be much more difficult now than it was just a few years ago. The problem is not that books are unfamiliar objects, or that collecting is seen as an unusual pursuit. Despite increased competition, books can still be found everywhere, and collectors of all kinds are featured on more television shows than ever before. What makes an explanation of book collecting more difficult now is that the main purposes books have served for more than two thousand years - the storage and provision of information - can be achieved today in many other, and often much less expensive, ways...
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Agatha Christie: Unrivaled, Record-Breaking Crime Novelist… And One of My Favorite Authors (Hence this Blog)

Murder on the Orient Express. And Then There Were None. Murder at the Vicarage. The Body in the Library. A Murder is Announced. By the Pricking of My Thumbs. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. 4.50 From Paddington. What do all of these titles have in common? Besides great plots, inventive narratives and extremely competent character development? They were all written by the "Queen of Crime", Dame Agatha Christie. Christie is said to be the best-selling novelist of all time (according to the Guinness Book of World Records) with over 2 billion copies of her novels sold and having been translated into 103 different languages. Reputedly, Christie is the third most popular author of all time, with regard to sales figures, finishing behind just William Shakespeare and the Bible. Furthermore, Christie's stage-play "The Mousetrap" is the longest running (straight-play) stage production of all time, having opened in London in November 1952 and still being performed, with over 25,000 performances to date. How did this lady crime-novelist get to be so popular? How did her (seemingly average) life influence her writing? And perhaps the most important question of all… Who Killed Roger Ackroyd?!? (Just kidding, no spoiler alerts necessary). Stay tuned.
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Charles Dickens: The Beginning of Modern Fandom?

As far as successful British 19th Century writers were concerned Charles Dickens was the commercial equivalent of J. K. Rowling. He was huge, without doubt the most popular novelist of his time and place. There are numerous possible reasons for his overwhelming popularity, but one deciding factor would be the broad nature of his readership. He wrote for everyone, and he did it at a shilling a go.
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New York Slate: A Bob Dylan Forgery (Why to be careful when buying at auction)

In one of the latest blog entries of Peter Harrington Rare Books (UK), Rachel Chanter describes the dangers of buying at auction. "This cautionary tale shows how far forgers will go to defraud dealers and avid collectors, and how they can sometimes exploit an auction house's less-than-rigorous approach to research. Fortunately, we were able to discover the spurious nature of this artwork, subjecting it to the same level of scrutiny as we do all the items we acquire, which is why we are able to assure customers of the legitimacy of everything we sell. "
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