This article was first published on the website of Archives Fine Books in Australia, member of ANZAAB and affiliated to ILAB. It is published here with the permission of the author Dawn Albinger and shows the integrity of our trade. Taking our book sleuthing to a new level in 2017…
How we cracked the cold case of a book missing from the rare books department of a major institution.
Only a few months ago the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF) had to report the theft of a considerable number of works by Pieter Bruegel along with rare and valuable maps and atlases. The BnF immediately got into contact with the European libraries and with the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB). An ILAB security message was sent out to all affiliates worldwide, the theft was announced on the ILAB Stolen Books Database. Now the French police reports that the thief has been caught.
In the 1990s rare and valuable 17th century books were stolen from the National Library of Sweden. Now some of them have been returned to Sweden with the help of two American antiquarian booksellers. The official repatriation ceremony took place in Manhattan, New York. (Reblogged from The Art Newspaper)
Do we need more drastic measures to prevent the theft of books, maps, manuscripts and other art on paper? On 26 June 2015 internationally renowned experts – librarians, archivists, lawyers, auctioneers and rare book dealers – discussed one of the global problems of the antiquarian book trade in the 21st century: the theft of books, manuscripts and prints from public collections such as, in recent years, the Girolamini Library in Naples, the National Library of Sweden, the Danish Royal Library in Copenhagen and, right now, from the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris. "Thefts of rare books, maps and manuscripts from libraries are a growing, global problem", the Art Newspaper summarizes. "The portable nature of these works and the fact that many libraries lack up-to-date catalogues of their sizable collections - some of which were assembled centuries ago - make them prime targets. Two weeks before the conference, the Bibliothèque Nationale de France announced that several 16th- and 17th-century engravings by Brueghel as well as atlases dating from the 16th to 18th centuries had been stolen from its collection. An investigation is currently underway." ILAB President Norbert Donhofer was invited to speak at the conference at the British Library, which will be followed up by another international meeting in New York in 2016.
Recent news concerning the Girolamini thefts and the ongoing investigations: In an official press release the Bavarian authorities announce that they will return some 500 books which were confiscated at the Munich auction house Zisska & Schauer (now Zisska & Lacher) in May 2012 in connection with the thefts from the Girolamini Library in Naples. The books dating from 16th and 17th centuries and worth over 2 million euros will be handed over to Italian judicial authorities in Munich on 13th February 2015.
On Sunday, November 9th, Il Sole 24 Ore devoted an entire page to recent problems in the Italian rare book trade, featuring two excellent articles by Daniele Danesi and Fabrizio Govi. These articles moved me to speak a few words prior to the Bloomsbury Rome auction of November 12, with its books "released from confiscation" ("dissequestrati"). Had he not been abroad, I am certain that Fabrizio, who succeeded me as president of the ALAI in 2010, would have done exactly the same. I recognize that in this time of severe economic crisis and in the aftermath of the "Girolamini Affair" and related criminal activities, Fabrizio has demonstrated outstanding leadership in speaking out on behalf of ALAI members, and defending them against irresponsible allegations and harassment by Italian authorities.
Melbourne Rare Book Week was, and is, a stroke of marketing genius! It has transformed how ANZAAB members feel about our book fairs, made our Melbourne Book Fair a very successful event and heightened ANZAAB's profile enormously - but it was not something we all "got" at the beginning …
"Keep your Manola Blaniks, Giuseppi Zanottis, your Dolce & Gabbanas. When I need to snuggle up and spoon I go for vintage, old-fashioned ladies' shoes. It's like collecting rare books: Modern Lit. or Antiquarian? I prefer a shoe that's been around the block, is experienced and has character. They don't make 'em like they used to. As far as I'm concerned, they stopped making shoes when Chronos hit the twentieth century." Go shopping with Stephen J. Gertz and Booktryst!
Online: Great War Dust Jackets - NYPL Digital Gallery - Classic Crime Fiction - Hogarth Press Illustrated Dust Jackets - Modern Library Dust Jackets and Bindings: 1917-1939 - The ModernLib ML Database - Books for Girls - Vietnam War Literature Dust Jackets - The Robert Weinberg Collection
I'm very pleased to announce that ALAI will organize an antiquarian book fair in Milan as early as March 2013, open to ILAB members only. We managed to get a truly exceptional venue, the seventeenth-century Palazzo Giureconsulti, which has its entrance in Piazza dei Mercanti and an entire side overlooking Piazza Duomo (see the attached picture and, for more details, please visit www.palazzogiureconsulti.it). The event dates are March 15-17, with opening on Friday morning and closing on Sunday in the early afternoon.
Joséphine Diebitsch-Peary (1863-1955) était la fille de Hermann Diebisch, une linguiste allemand travaillant au Smithsonian, et de sa femme Magdalena. En 1888 elle épousa Robert Peary, qui commençait tout juste à se faire un nom en tant qu'explorateur polaire. En juin 1891, elle accompagna son mari et le petit équipage du Kite jusqu'au nord du Groenland. Ils passèrent l'hiver dans la baie de McCormick, à mi-chemin entre le cercle polaire et le pôle nord. Son expérience fut relatée dans « My Arctic Journal». En quittant le Groenland, elle conclut son texte en se demandant si le peuple pauvre et ignorant tirait bénéfice de ses rapports avec les Américains ou s'ils avaient soudainement réalisé leurs conditions précaires ! Lorsque le livre parut, Joséphine était à nouveau dans le Grand Nord avec son mari, où elle donna naissance à Marie Ahnighito Peary, affectueusement prénommée bébé des neiges par la presse. Elle raconta la naissance de sa fille dans le livre également intitulé Le bébé des neiges paru en 1901. C'est en 1900 qu'elle embarqua à bord du Windward pour retrouver son mari à Fort Conger. Le bateau fut abîmé par un iceberg, et Joséphine, Marie et tout l'équipage passèrent l'hiver au Groenland, à 450 kilomètres au sud du campement de Robert. Pendant cet hiver, Josephine fit la connaissance de Allakasingwah, l'amante Inuit enceinte de son mari ; elle n'en voulut pas à son mari malgré la peine sans doute ressentie. Il mourut en 1920 et Josephine lui survécut une trentaine d'années, défendant ardemment la mémoire de son mari en tant que premier vainqueur du Pôle Nord.