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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade
 

From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives

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Go West, Book Lover

San Francisco has a thriving book culture. Here's a handy guide by Matthew Jones to the best literary spots in and around town.
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The Confessions of a Book-Hunter – 1926

“I belong to that class of unfortunate beings who are addicted to a habit which it is not easy to break off. This sounds alarming, but let me assure you that neither drug nor dram is the cause of my undoing, and that I have no intention of following in the foot-steps of the English Opium-Eater. The truth is that I am a bibliophile, and I suffer a complaint common to the tribe, namely a feverish appetite which can only be assuaged by choice tit-bits in the form of ancient quartos and duodecimos”.
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What Future For Rare Books ?

The anticipated death of the book is not a new phenomena. We recall that the book published in 1967 by the Canadian Marshall MacLuhan under the title "The Gutenberg Galaxy" dealt with this matter. Over the years we have seen that the electronic revolution has not really had the effect it had been predicted to have. We may also recall the cover of a magazine which appeared in the '90s and which referred to the answer of Gutenberg to MacLuhan in the form of an arm gesture of extreme vulgarity. Desktop Publishing did not finally kill the published book. It simply vulgarised the publishing proces. For us who are interested in the book as such, we feel that the aesthetics of the book may have suffered but not its productions in terms of quantity.
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Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Bookbindings

`Bibliopegy' is the art of binding books, and the collector, lover or scholar of bindings is a `bibliopegist'. Bookbinding dates from the ancient world Indian, Persian, Coptic, Chinese, Greek & Roman examples are known to exist, even if only in fragments. The rise of the universities, the increase of literacy outside the monasteries, and the invention of moveable type in Germany in the 1450s, all contributed to the demand for books. With this came the demand for decorative bookbindings in leather and metal, and the introduction of goldtooling (impressions in the leather) by Islamic craftsmen who settled in Venice in the 15th century.
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Collecting Sherlock Holmes

Books about the world's first consulting detective, Mr. Sherlock Holmes have been a consistently popular collecting genre since the appearance of A SCANDAL IN BOHEMIA in the Strand Magazine number for July 1891. Although two of Mr. Holmes's cases were published earlier as short novels (A STUDY IN SCARLET in 1887/88 and THE SIGN OF FOUR in 1890, it was in the short story format that his life and career captured the imagination of the reading public.
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Joel Silver: Bibliography for Booksellers

Reference information is indispensable to antiquarian booksellers. Like many traditional booksellers, here at BTC we have many hundreds of bibliographies and reference works that we can quickly consult to help us in identifying and verifying different books, editions, and autographs. But with more and more information available on the Internet, it may seem that there is no longer a need for booksellers to have a large reference library. Nothing could be further from the truth. There is still a great deal of information, necessary to properly cataloging a book, that can only be obtained from print sources.
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