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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America and Europe, including 7,500 images collected by American-watermark expert Thomas L. Gravell and about 45,000 unpublished marks documented by Charles-Moise Briquet.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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1 - 8 / 66

From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives


The Rare Book Trade - Let it Bleed!

Back in the Stone Age, which is where I'm from, if you made your living in the used book trade, you had a shop or you worked in one. Oh, there were a few people who were smart enough to make their livings as book scouts – selling quality material to dealers and institutions – or organized enough to run mail order search services, which found obscure tomes for customers and quoted books to want ads in places like AB Magazine. Most of us, though, had open shops. These places served as many functions as we owners could contrive - social centers, store rooms, tax writeoffs, financial burdens, places of escape and, of course, the base of operations for whatever book scouting or mail order we might do to supplement our off-the-street incomes.
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Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Blood and Laughter

For a few brief months the journals spoke with the great and unprecedented rage that neither arrest not exile could silence. At first their approach was oblique, their allusions veiled, and they fell victim to the censor's pencil. But people had suffered censorship for too long. Satirists constantly expanded their targets of attack, demolishing one obstacle after another as they went, thriving on censorship.
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Extremely Rare Turkey Mill Ream Wrapper Surfaces

Beginning as a cloth fuller, by the early eighteenth century the Turkey Mill had wholly converted to making paper. In 1740 James Whatman assumed tenancy of the mill, enlarged it, and, assisted by famed British printer, John Baskerville, developed a new form of fine quality paper suitable for a greatly expanded range of printing and art work; the paper became the sought-after choice of artists such as J.M.W. Turner and Thomas Gainsborough.
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BOOKMEN: LONDON. 250 Years of Sotheran Bookselling - Book Launch at Sotheran's on May 31st, 2011

In his detailed and well-researched work - which is an important contribution to book trade history - Victor Gray explores many aspects of antiquarian bookselling: the lives of the company's booksellers, the financial underpinning of the business, the impact of war on buying habits, and changing fashions in catalogues and advertising. Meanwhile, a cast of curious and colourful characters weaves its way through the long and continuing life of a company which is still, 250 years on, one of the great names in its field, and the oldest antiquarian bookseller in the British Isles, if not the world.
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42nd ILAB Congress and the 1st International Antiquarian Book Fair of Budapest

On behalf of the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of Hungary, I am very happy to invite you to the 42nd ILAB Congress and the 1st International Antiquarian Book Fair of Budapest, which will take place between the 21 and 25 September 2016 in Budapest. It is a great pleasure and honour for me that Budapest will have the privilege to host this prestigious event, as we are proud to present the Hungarian capital to you as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, with a rich and colourful cultural life and an immensely varied history...
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