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ILAB Library - All You Need To Know About Rare Books and the Antiquarian Book Trade

  • London Rare Books School – 2013

    London Rare Books School – 2013

    A couple of appearances for me on the maps course last week, but a full-time commitment to the Modern First Editions course this week.  Booksellers generally love talking, of course – especially about books (and even more about themselves) – so it’s been an excellent week. A delightful if very mixed group of students.  The course well under way on Monday with a discursive session on the history and background of collecting modern books, the intellectual rationale of collecting, the nuances of textual transmission, the meaning of ‘modern’ in this context and the first appearance of author-collecting guides.

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  • ILAB Internships – Out of the Classroom, into the World: Barcelona, Spain 2013

    ILAB Internships – Out of the Classroom, into the World: Barcelona, Spain 2013

    Hello, it’s me again! Another two weeks have past, and my today’s post is about Barcelona. The city hasn’t lost a bit of its charm since I’ve been there three years ago, and I was really happy to come back here and to spend these days with Albert Casals and his friends.

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  • Book Scouting in … Amsterdam: Holy Ground

    Book Scouting in … Amsterdam: Holy Ground

    Ever been in Amsterdam? As in every European city there is much to see. Beautiful old buildings, the  historic canals (Amsterdam is one of the cities called ‘Venice of the North’!) lots of museums, history and art. For booklovers there are some great old book shops and flee-markets. People are friendly, and - guess what? - with few exceptions everybody speaks English too!

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  • Collecting Rare Books and First Editions: Chilling Tales from the Icy Wastes

    Collecting Rare Books and First Editions: Chilling Tales from the Icy Wastes

    The polar regions have always had a huge attraction for mankind and its explorers. What lay in or beyond those icy wastes? An open sea? The way to Asia? Riches beyond the dreams of avarice? Many set out to find out, never to return. Probably no other field of exploration has brought forth so many heroes, sung and unsung, so much suffering and so many, often unnecessary, deaths. Probably most of the gruesome deaths in the icy reaches will never be known or told, but several made it into print from the 16th to the 20th century. I have picked 10 expeditions at random, my only criterion being that there had to be horrible suffering, death, and, maybe, cannibalism.

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  • Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Alexandre Grothendieck and Survivre et Vivre

    Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Alexandre Grothendieck and Survivre et Vivre

    Survivre et Vivre was a radical environmentalist magazine which was issued c. 1970 to 1973, and published by the group of the same name, formed by the eccentric genius and founder of modern algebraic theory - the mathematician Alexandre Grothendieck, certainly one of the most fascinating figures in modern science.

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  • Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - La storia di un burattino at The Private Library

    Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - La storia di un burattino at The Private Library

    Susan A. Burgess, writing in Children's Books and Their Creators, penned a rather harsh assessment of this celebrated story's author.  He was, she suggested, a hack journalist, an undecorated soldier, and a low-level government official whose best-known work is full of inconsistencies and contradictions, evidence of careless writing.  An assessment, incidentally, with which the author's admirers profoundly disagree.

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  • No Rare Books, Just Whisky – Shackleton's Whisky Discovered in the Antarctic

    No Rare Books, Just Whisky – Shackleton's Whisky Discovered in the Antarctic

    They have been frozen for more than 100 years. Sir Ernest H. Shackleton had stored them in his hut in the Antarctic during his 1908 Antarctic expedition, before the famous explorer returned to Great Britain: five cases filled with bottles of whisky and brandy. The hut was restored in 2006 by the Antarctic Heritage Trust who found the cases. Now the Scotch is going to be thawed at the Canterbury Museum in Christchurch (New Zealand). Let’s see whether the stuff is still drinkable …

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  • Descartes Letter Found, Therefore It Is

    The story of a spectacular robbery and its happy ending 170 years later is published in the New York Times, by Patricia Cohen

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  • Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Chechen jihadist

    Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Chechen jihadist

    Sheikh Mansur was a Chechen resistance fighter who waged a six-year campaign against Catherine the Great’s forces before his capture in 1791, calling upon fellow Muslims to join him in jihad.  ‘He was the first to preach and lead … the Holy War against the infidel Russians in the Caucasus …  Dropped, as it were, from the clouds full grown, a warrior, preacher and prophet and, in spite of [his] many failures … he drew after him now one, now another, of the the fierce tribes of the mountain and the forest …  He it was who first taught them that in religious reform lay the one chance of preserving their cherished liberty and independence’ (Baddeley, The Russian Conquest of the Caucasus, p. 47).

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  • Collecting the Physical Book in the Digital Age

    Collecting the Physical Book in the Digital Age

    I’m going to make some general comments about my experiences as a dealer buying and selling in the Internet/digital age today and offer some reflections on the past – over the thirty-five years that I’ve been in business. I won’t keep you in suspense any longer. The impact of the Internet and computer technology has been enormous on the rare book business. There are three basic things that we do in this profession: buy books, sell books, and research what we are buying in order to sell them. All have been greatly impacted by technology. Today everything that I acquire is researched online in regard to bibliographical information, as well as for pricing comparison by looking at other copies in the marketplace. This research plays a key role in deciding what to buy, what to pay for the book, and in determining a fair amount to price the book for sale. Of course a subscription to the online auction record database is essential.

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  • 'The Most Agreeable Servants of Civilization', Booksellers and Librarians in a Changing World – A Conference Report

    'The Most Agreeable Servants of Civilization', Booksellers and Librarians in a Changing World – A Conference Report

    Three categories of people attended the recent joint conference of the Australian and New Zealand Association of Antiquarian Booksellers (ANZAAB) and the National Library of Australia, held in Canberra on 19 and 20 May 2014 – librarians, booksellers and collectors. Its title was 'The Most Agreeable Servants of Civilization', Booksellers and Librarians in a Changing World. You can see the program at www.anzaab.com.

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  • Medieval Beauties, Revolutions, Mutinies, and Modern Art

    Medieval Beauties, Revolutions, Mutinies, and Modern Art

    The first event of the bibliophile’s year, and one of the most traditional – From January 29 to 31, exhibitors from Germany, Australia, France, Italy, Great Britain, USA, Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands offer masterpieces of book art and milestones in the history of ideas at the 49th Stuttgart Antiquarian Book Fair.

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