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America and Europe, including 7,500 images collected by American-watermark expert Thomas L. Gravell and about 45,000 unpublished marks documented by Charles-Moise Briquet.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

Booksellers

Soul Trader - Janette Ray in Conversation with Sheila Markham

The books I like most are associated with the Arts and Crafts Movement, whose members were highly innovative individuals who bucked the trend. They were polymaths, architects, designers, crafts people, philosophers and, above all, individualists. I would like to be like that.
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Article

Seminars on Book Collecting – The New Season

This week (apart from stitching together a final report on this summer's successful internship scheme – more on that in a week or two), I have been putting the finishing touches to the 2015-2016 programme of the monthly 'Second Tuesday' Seminars on Book Collecting which we put on in collaboration with the Institute of English Studies (IES) at London University.
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Article

Are Rare Book Dealers "Collectors in Disguise"?

From December 3-5, 2010, rare book dealers from Australia, Asia, Europe and the United States will showcase rare and beautiful books and prints at the 4th Hong Kong Antiquarian Book Fair, among them booksellers from Japan, China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. The fair, which took place for the first time in 2007, is organized by Paul Feain of Cornstalk Bookshop in Sydney (Australia), Mitsuo Nitta of Yushodo in Tokyo (Japan), and Christopher Li of Swindons Books in Hong Kong. In an interview for the China Daily Paul Feain, antiquarian bookseller for 30 years and a long-time ILAB Committee member, talks about the importance of printed books in the history of mankind, the great works of 20th century literature, art, politics and philosophy, about the passion of book collecting and Hong Kong as an attractive market place for rare books and manuscripts, arts and antiques. His credo: A good dealer is a collector in disguise. Collect with passion in a field that you are passionate about. Collect books that you want to read. You will soon become an expert, and if you collect like this for a number of years you may even become THE expert.
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Article

Docu - Drama

There are films adapted from books, and then there are films about books. Some wonderful book collections are based on novels that have been adapted for the movies, titles that include such blockbusters as Gone With the Wind, To Kill a Mockingbird, East of Eden, The Godfather, The Maltese Falcon, Catch 22, Fahrenheit 451, Treasure Island, the various Harry Potter fantasies, even the occasional nonfiction work that has made it big on the silver screen, The Right Stuff, All the President's Men, and A Civil Action coming immediately to mind.
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ILAB History

ALAI History 1947-2011

On an autumn day in 1947, a small group of book dealers met in Milan to give life to the Circolo dei Librai Antiquari. They were not many, but they were set on granting a cultural dignity to the trade of antiquarian bookselling, on fostering friendship and understanding with foreign colleagues, on cooperating with libraries and institutions for the conservation of cultural property, and on providing collectors with a code of ethics that guaranteed a fair and professional relationship between rare book dealers and their customers. In 1971, the members of the association had increased to a few dozen when the Circle became the Associazione Librai Antiquari d'Italia.
The history of the ALAI, the Italian Antiquarian Booksellers' Association, by:
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