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

  • [+] More Music and Theatre in Bohemia and Europe – The Autograph Collection of Fritz Donebauer (Prague) 

    Music and Theatre in Bohemia and Europe – The Autograph Collection of Fritz Donebauer (Prague)
    Published since 27 May 2013
    105 years ago, from 6th to 8th August, 1908, a famous 19th century autograph collection was auctioned by J. A. Stargardt in Berlin. The owner of the collection was Fritz Donebauer, born in 1849 as a son of a Bohemian innkeeper who became a banker and insurance agent in Prague, and most of all: a collector. In his lifetime he owned hundreds of autographs and manuscripts of mostly Bohemian theatre artists and musicians as well as rare documents from the history of Bohemia and the Thirty Years War. Little is known about Fritz Donebauer, whose collection came to auction in Berlin in April 1908, and even less is known about the private collectors, dealers and institutions who bought the documents, manuscripts and handwritten letters. Eberhard Köstler tries to reconstruct Fritz Donebauer's life and the fate of his famous collection.
  • [+] More Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Is "Flat Signed" Better? 

    Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - Is "Flat Signed" Better?
    Published since 27 Mar 2013

    This (or a variant of it) is probably the most often asked question I hear. What I'm talking about is, of course, whether it is better to buy a book (or get it autographed by the author) with just a signature alone or whether it is better to have it with a personalized inscription.

  • [+] More The Alec Guiness Archive at the British Library 

    Published since 14 Feb 2013

    The British Library has acquired the personal archive of Sir Alec Guinness. The archive includes more than 900 of his letters to family and friends and over 100 volumes of diaries from the late 1930s to his death in the year 2000. The letters and diaries of the award winning British actor enrich the British Library's collection of archives of great 20th century artists along with those of Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud and Ralph Richardson.

  • [+] More Dedication Copies and the Antiquarian Book Trade 

    Dedication Copies and the Antiquarian Book Trade
    Published since 09 Jan 2013

    How much is it worth? This question is most often asked by book collectors. And most often, there is not a precise answer. Although it is quite common nowadays to discuss rare books “as investments”, the value of a book can hardly be counted in Dollars and Euros. It is even more difficult to measure the “worth” of dedication copies. Is the book inscribed by the author? Is this author famous and important, dead or alive? To whom is the book inscribed? Which words did the author choose to express his gratitude or sympathy? Eberhard Köstler, autograph specialist, gives examples of dedications by George Bernard Shaw, George Orwell, Franz Kafka, Thomas Mann and many other authors, and he shows that nothing is binding when it comes to the “real worth” of dedications.

  • [+] More Provenance and The Private Library 

    Provenance and The Private Library
    Published since 30 Nov 2012
    In detective fiction and on the cop shows it's called "chain of evidence."  Book collectors call it provenance. Unless you plan to build your private library solely with "hot off the press" titles, you need to understand provenance.  The concept is important for all kinds of collectibles, from works of art to books to archaeological artifacts. Basically, it means: "to confirm or gather evidence as to the time, place, and if appropriate, the person responsible, for the creation, production or discovery of [an] object."
  • [+] More Albert Einstein's complete archives to be posted online 

    Albert Einstein's complete archives to be posted online
    Published since 22 Mar 2012

    Great news: The Guardian and Associated Press report that the Hebrew University of Jerusalem puts online 2,000 documents from the Albert Einstein archives including unseen letters, postcards and research notes.

  • [+] More Aldous Huxley and Anita Loos in Hollywood 

    Aldous Huxley and Anita Loos in Hollywood
    Published since 17 Feb 2012

    Though best known as a British author, Aldous Huxley spent the last twenty-six years of his life living in the United States. When he and his wife, Maria, left England for the United States in 1937, they did not plan to stay, but with the war in Europe heating up and their son's acceptance to an American school, they decided to settle in Los Angeles. It was there that Huxley renewed his acquaintance with Anita Loos, the author of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

  • [+] More Napoleon hair found in great novelist’s book on TV’s Antiques Roadshow 

    Napoleon hair found in great novelist’s book on TV’s Antiques Roadshow
    Published since 08 Sep 2011

    “The BBC's Antiques Roadshow is a TV programme which examines many fine and fascinating art and antiques, but as a general rule it is not known for valuing particularly weird memorabilia … When it was called to the former home of Sir Walter Scott in the Borders, however, the team made a rather surprising discovery in a blotter which had belonged to Napoleon. A small handwritten note dated 8 November 1827, written to Sir Walter Scott from a Mr Dalton was found inside which contains a lock of Napoleon's hair.”

  • [+] More Collecting Rare Books and First Editions: The Letters of B. Traven 

    Collecting Rare Books and First Editions: The Letters of B. Traven
    Published since 21 Jul 2011

    One of the great things about working for a bookseller is you get to see some very cool items. One of the best in recent days is a collection of letters from the writer B. Traven - best known for his novel The Treasure of Sierra Madre - sent to the model and actress Ruth Ford. If you’re only familiar with the classic movie starring Humphrey Bogart, you’ve been missing out because B. Traven was a man of mystery worthy a movie all his own.

  • [+] More When Kerouac Met Dostoyevsky 

    When Kerouac Met Dostoyevsky
    Published since 22 Jun 2011

    Sometime during March-April, 1949, John-not-yet-Jack Kerouac, 27 years old and living with his parents as "The Wizard of Ozone Park" (Queens, NYC), as his Beat friends referred to him, bought a cheap reprint edition of short stories by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. He annotated the book, and entered his ownership signature. Dostoyevsky was an important influence on Kerouac; his novel,The Subterraneans, was consciously modeled on Dostoyevsky's Notes from Underground, one of his favorite books, and there are many references to the Russian author in Kerouac's novels and letters.