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Rare Books and the Rare Book Trade

The ABA and the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers

Published on 27 March 2018
The ABA and ILAB look back at a long history. The ABA is relaunching its flagship fair in London this year, the oldest antiquarian book fair in the world, under the auspices of ILAB. This text by the late Anthony Rota, ABA bookseller and ILAB President of Honour, was published in 2008 in the ABA Directory.
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From the Vault

A sneak peek in our archives


31st Amsterdam Antiquarian Book, Map & Print Fair, October 29-30, 2010

This year's Amsterdam Antiquarian Book, Map & Print Fair will be held on Friday, October 29 and Saturday, October 30 at the Passenger Terminal Amsterdam. For the first time both Dutch antiquarian associations, the NVvA (Nederlandsche Vereniging van Antiquaaren) and the BOB (Bond van Handelaren in Oude Boeken), have agreed to cooperate, resulting in up to 65 Dutch and foreign exhibitors. Publishers and bibliophile societies will also present themselves during the book fair.
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Online Bookselling before the Internet

Do you remember Abacis? It was one of the first attempts in the early days of the Internet to establish an online database for rare books. "Abacis started with five or six employees, which quickly grew to more than ten, six of whom were devoted to library and dealer sales. I worked in dealer sales and within six months I got over 200 dealers to sign up. However, many dealers said they would never get a computer or that they were happy with AB Bookman. Many told us that our idea would never work." Ed Johnson remembers the good old times.
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Absences - "Lost, Stolen or Shredded": Rick Gekoski's Stories of Missing Works of Art and Literature

As you may already have realised, I like books which have a story to tell. By this I mean not just the book's own internal narrative, but a copy of the book with its own individual history. Not necessarily a fine and obviously important provenance (although that's always very welcome), but just a tale of its own career in the world. I'm not deterred by a book with a previous owner's inscription, far from it – this can lead into that narrative and document some evidence of the book's initial audience and reception. Who bought this book when it first came out? Where did the book fit into that world rather than ours?
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Designer Bookbinders Prize-Giving 2018

ILAB bookseller and ABA Past President, Laurence Worms reviews the 2018 Designer Bookbinders competition.
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„Wo man hintappt, trifft man auf Gestalten“ - 19th century antiquarian book dealers seen through the eyes of a colleague

Julius Friedländer used to wear a Turkish fez. With his curly black hair Jacques Rosenthal, fiery in his youth, was a real heart-throb. Karl W. Hiersemann resembled a Catholic priest so much that children sometimes kissed his hand, believing he was the parish priest. Even in winter J. A. Stargardt personally climbed up all the stairs to the attic of his house where the valuable books were kept. One day he was found there grappling with a cat who was nursing her kittens on a pile of incunabula. Max Ziegert's "Schattenrisse deutscher Antiquare", a witty and moving of the 19th century trade.
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