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What is ILAB

The International League of Antiquarian Booksellers - A Global Network for the Rare Book Trade

ILAB logoThe global network of rare booksellers in 37 countries

In the aftermath of World War II, representatives from five European countries met in Amsterdam to discuss a new international booksellers’ organization.  Its goal was to foster friendship and understanding and to encourage international peace through open markets. By September 1948, ten countries had joined and ILAB/LILA was formally incorporated in Copenhagen. Today’s League retains its original official languages, English and French, and now consists of twenty-two national associations representing some thirty-seven countries and around 1800 individual bookselling firms.


International League of Antiquarian Booksellers ILAB/LILA
The ILAB Secretariat can be contacted via email

Booksellers’ Expertise – Buy with Confidence

The main objectives of the League are to uphold and advance technical and ethical standards, to encourage international trade, and to contribute to a broader appreciation of the history and art of the book.

Affiliated booksellers worldwide adhere to ILAB’s strict Code of Usages and Customs requiring books and related material to be accurately and professionally described and to guarantee the authenticity and genuineness of all material for sale.


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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ILAB History
Published on 17 July 2013
Today the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers unites 22 national associations under one roof. Some of them had already been established when the League was founded in 1947/1948. Five of them were the driving forces: the antiquarian booksellers of Great Britain, France, Denmark, Sweden and The Netherlands.
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Preliminary Conference
Published on 17 July 2013
In 1947 representatives from Great Britain, France, Denmark, Sweden and The Netherlands met in Amsterdam for a Preliminary Conference. They discussed Hertzberger’s idea of forming an organization that counteracted the animosity and suspicion engendered by the Second World War. The new International League of Antiquarian Booksellers should foster friendship and understanding between the nations as the mutual basis for a fair and professional trade in the future.
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Copenhague 1948
Published on 17 July 2013
The ILAB was formally incorporated in Copenhagen in September 1948, with ten participating countries. Representatives from Belgium, Finland, Switzerland, and Italy joined their colleagues from Great Britain, France, Sweden, Denmark and The Netherlands at the conference table. Denmark was holding a proxy for Norway
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Published on 17 July 2013
“Considering the dubiety with which our activities were treated it is pleasant to record that the Congresses in London in 1949 and in Paris in 1950 were very successful both socially and professionally, while the standard of hospitality in both cities was impeccable." (Muir)
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Published on 17 July 2013
The admission of Japan, the ILAB Bibliography Prize (now ILAB Breslauer Prize for Bibliography) and the first ILAB International Antiquarian Book Fair were the milestones of the 60s.
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