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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
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Travel

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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Literature

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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Watermarks

The Gravell Watermark Archive: Taking watermarks online

Published on 18 July 2011
The Gravell Watermark Archive (www.gravell.org) 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America and Europe, including 7,500 images collected by American-watermark expert Thomas L. Gravell and about 45,000 unpublished marks documented by Charles-Moise Briquet.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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Manuscripts

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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Americana

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

Article

Rare Books - When is an inscription not an inscription?

Two folks identified the key elements of this month's crocodile mystery in their comments: Misha Teramura correctly noted that the inscription in the middle of the page - "pp. 184-190 refer to the progress of religion westward toward America" - refers to George Herbert's final poem from The Temple, "The Church Militant." And David Shaw noted that the other inscriptions - "8652″ on the top left and "A176″ on the bottom right - look to be an accession number and a shelf mark. But let's back up for one moment to understand why I find these marks interesting. The book in question is a first edition of George Herbert's The Temple (STC 13183). It's an interesting work, and a popular one in the 17th century. And as you can see from the notations on the front pastedown and the recto of the first free flyleaf, it's a work that was prized by later collectors.This particular copy was owned by Sir Leicester Harmsworth before it came into the Folger Shakespeare Library collection, and its value is shown in part by the blue goatskin binding signed on the bottom turn-in by Riviere and Son. Its value is more obviously indicated by the inscription on the pastedown, "a copy sold in the Terry sale in Dec 1935 for $3600."
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Article

Love for Sale - An Auction Catalogue

Love for sale – The story is simple: Lenore Doolan is 26 years old and working for The New York Times as a cake columnist, Harold "Hal" Morris is a globe-trotting photographer in his early 40s. Disguised as Lizzie Borden and Harry Houdini, they met at a Halloween party, fell in love with each other, have a happy time full of romantics, share everyday life in a New York flat – and split up after a little more than three years. And then they do what not only famous people nowadays often do when a change in life arises: They pack their things, give them to an auction house, where a sale is announced ...
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Article

Books and Hope for South Sudan … Help fill the empty bookshelves on UNESCO World Book and Copyright Day

"Peace is not something that exists on a piece of paper. True peace is created in the hearts, minds, and actions of women and men. True peace will exist when all citizens of South Sudan sincerely accept each other, respect each other, and can start honest and open dialogues with one another to resolve their differences amicably. True peace will only exist when the 10,000 children and youths who participated in this conflict are given the education they deserve and helped to re-integrate into society ..." Forest Whitaker
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Article

Collecting Comic Strips: Fritz the Cat

"Someone once said if you remember the sixties you didn't live them right. Even if you did live them right, you probably still remember underground comix, Robert Crumb, and his arguably most popular character, Fritz the Cat. (My favorite was always Mr. Natural.)" A very special collecting tip for cat lovers, by Linda Hedrick.
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Article

Rare Books in the Press - The Wall Street Journal About Bauman's Latest Catalogue "100 Great Books and Autographs"

"There's hardcore porn and softcore porn, and then there's the Bauman Rare Books catalog, which lands on my doorstep several times a year. If your heart races at the contours of a first edition of 'The Great Gatsby', with the almost impossible to find dust jacket, or an autographed copy of Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises," then the Bauman catalog is the equivalent of Playboy, Penthouse and maybe the New York Review of Books all rolled into one."
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Article

Collecting Science Fiction - Karel Čapek and the Origin of the Word Robot

Karel Čapek's Czech play RUR, (Rossum's Universal Robots) is notable for numerous reasons. Written in 1920, the play's commentary on the politics of its day earned its author a spot on the Nazi most-wanted list. RUR details a robot revolution that would overthrow the dominant class, humans, and lead to their extinction. Above all, the play is most well known for introducing the world to the word, "robot." In fact, before Čapek's play, what we think of as robots were mainly called "androids" or "automatons," with "automaton" meaning a self-operating machine. In Czech, "robota" translates to "forced labor." It's associated with the type of work done by serfs during the feudal ages.
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