ILAB - History of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers
The beginning of the 21st century saw the first woman at the head of the League: Australian bookseller Kay Craddock was elected ILAB President during the Congress and the International Antiquarian Book Fair in Edinburgh 2000. Craddock, meanwhile ILAB President of Honour, was succeeded by Bob Fleck from 2002 to 2006, and Michael Steinbach 2006 from to 2008.
After the Boston Presidents' Meeting in 2001, the Danish, Swedish, Finnish and Norwegian associations organized a very special event: The 36th Congress and 19th International Antiquarian Book Fair took place in four countries, with a sea journey in between. On this occasion the 13th ILAB Bibliographical Prize of $10,000 was awarded to Anna Perälä, for her atlas of Finnish typography, 1642-1827, a monumental two volume work, published in Finnish, Swedish and German. Kay Craddock presented the award to Anna Perälä at a dinner in Helsinki.
In 2003 the Presidents travelled to Potsdam for their annual meeting, only a year later the ILAB affiliates met for a Congress and a Book Fair in Melbourne, well organized by the Australian and New Zealand Association of Antiquarian Booksellers (ANZAAB).
2004 saw the first Virtual ILAB Book Fair on the recently established ILAB website. The four day event included a beneficial auction for UNICEF, a book fair, lectures, appraisals, and a "Biblio Quiz" for book collectors. Presidents’ Meetings in Montréal 2005, Wilmington 2006, followed by the 21st International Antiquarian Book Fair in New York. Kay Craddock and Keith Fletcher were unanimously elected ILAB President and Member of Honour.
2006 was the year of the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association. The British ABA, the oldest organization worldwide, celebrated its Centenary with a publication (“Out of Print and into Profit. A History of the Rare and Secondhand Book Trade in Britain in the Twentieth Century”, edited by Giles Mandelbrote), and with a Centenary Ball held at the Royal Geographical Society in London. On this occasion the winners of the 14th International Prize for Bibliography were announced before 200 guests: Arthur and Janet Freeman for “John Payne Collier: Scholarship and Forgery in the 19th Century” and Christian Dekesel for “A Bibliography of 17th century Numismatic Books”. In the same year the ABA generously opened their reference library to any ILAB affiliate members that might find the need to use it.
Since 2007 the Committee and especially the Executive Secretary N. Marsh represent the League at the various ILAB sponsored book fairs in San Francisco, New York, Paris, and London. ILAB has established contacts with the International Confederation of Fine Art and Antique Dealers’ Associations (CINOA) that will lead to an associate membership in the near future. CINOA, founded in 1935, is the principal international umbrella organization representing 5000 of leading art and antique dealers from 32 associations and 22 countries. The dealers cover a wide array of specialties from antiquities to contemporary art. Membership of CINOA is based on associations which bind their dealer members to adhere to reputable standards of quality and expertise. ILAB and CINOA are very similar in structure and share similar problems. The new partnership will do much to promote the legitimate global trade.
The 38th ILAB Congress was held in Madrid. Rare book dealers from all national associations admired the treasures of the Prado and the Escorial, as well as the rare books and prints exhibited at the following 22nd International Antiquarian Book Fair. In Madrid a new ILAB President was elected: Adrian Harrington’s (London) presidency began with three decisive steps for ILAB’s future.