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IES Book Collecting Seminars

Upcoming dates of the Institute of English Studies' Book Collecting Seminars which are jointly-coordinated and run by the ABA Educational Trust.  All seminars take place in Room 246Senate House6-8pm. All are welcome.

Please note the first event is on 10 December.

Seventeen from the seventeen-seventies

Justin Croft’s new catalogue is taking us back to the 70’s but instead of flared trousers and ABBA it’s more panniers and Captain Cook. The catalogue features 17 items from the tumultuous 1770s. A decade of revolution, discovery and change. Captain Cook returning from the South Seas, the American colonies in revolt, and cities like London abuzz with news, politics, gossip and pleasure-seeking.   

The catalogue includes a First Edition of The Sentimental Sailor (1772) by little known Scottish author Thomas Mercer, retelling a fictional adaptation of George Anson’s circumnavigation of the world. It perfectly reflects the acclaim Captain Cook returned to upon his return from his circumnavigation in 1771.  

There is also a selection of satirical works reflecting the waves of change taking place throughout this period. The Macaroni. A Satire (1773) by Ferdinande Twigem provides a fine example. A satirical attack on the cult of the macaroni, rife in 1770s London and the effeminate ‘coxcomical fops’ then to be seen depicted in the windows of all the print shops. In the words of the OED a Macaroni was ‘one of a class of 18th-c exquisites, consisting of young men who had travelled and affected continental tastes and fashions.’ 

The collection also reflects how wider explorations were breeding new forms of literature and a fascination with the oriental. A First Edition of the first poetry book published by Sir William Jones, Poems, Consisting Chiefly of Translations from the Asiatick Languages (1772). 

For full catalogue click here. 





4th July – Independence Day & The Great American Novel

In honour of the 4th July we will be highlighting some of the great American works shared by our members. 

Adrian Harrington sharea vast collection of First Editions by Ernest Hemingway including ‘The Old Man and the Sea’ Illustrated throughout with wood engravings by Tunnicliffe and Sheppard, plus a First US edition of ‘Across the River and into the Trees’. 

Jonkers Rare Book is offering a First UK Edition of Harper Lee’s ground breaking novel ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ and Lucius Books is offering a First, signed edition of ‘Go Set a Watchman’, Harper’s subsequent novel published in 2015, one of only 100 copies. 


Bristol Book Fair 2019

The annual Bristol Book Fair will once again gather this weekend. 

Visitors can enjoy thousands of second-hand and antiquarian books, maps, prints, ephemera and much more all under one roof at the iconic Brunel Passenger Shed. 

Fair highlights include 'A Narrative of a Voyage to the South Seas, and the Shipwreck of the Princess of Wales Cutter’ offered by Graham York Rare Books. 

Ashton Rare Books has a signed copy of 'The Calph's Design' by Wyndham Lewis, a special edition of 'The Graphic Work of Edward Wadsworth' and a signed first edition of ‘Catch-22’ by Joseph Heller.  Catch the new TV adaption starring George Clooney and Hugh Laurie currently on Channel 4. 

The Bristol Book Fair runs from5th - 6th July. The Passenger Shed, Station Approach, Bristol, BS1 6QH  


ABA members at Masterpiece 2019

Members of the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association will be joining over 150 UK and international art dealers for the crown jewel of London’s Summer art season  Masterpiece. 

Daniel Crouch Rare Books, Peter HarringtonShapero Rare Books, and Sims Reed Gallery will offering a range of remarkable rare books and artworks.


Firsts London 2019

Firsts London 2019 is complete and a huge thank you to everyone who exhibited, visited, spoke or was involved in ensuring this year was a resounding success.

After a rainy morning the fair doors flung open to familiar and warming voice of actor and rare book enthusiast Stephen Fry. Visitors were met with smiling faces of booksellers’ from the UK and abroad all keen to share their latest treasures. This year the ABA was also joined by a special guest, Shakespeare’s Globe for a bespoke exhibition. Highlights from John Wolfson’s Rare Book Collection, including a First Folio, were displayed alongside a variety of props from the theatre. The International Society of Bible Collectors were also present displaying items such as an original Gutenberg Bible from the 15th Century.

The carefully curated program of talks and tours on all manner of rare book and literary themes provided something for any area of interest. Brooke Palmieri’s ‘Cruising the Book Fair’ a tour highlighting the LGBTQ+ items through the fair and Tom Ayling’s ‘Association Copies of Other People’s Books’ were just two of many tours drawing crowds through the fair aisles. Daisy Dunn author of ‘In The Shadow of Vesuvius’ presented her take on Pliny the Elder’s ‘Natural History’ and Sophie Mackintosh’s ‘Remaking Folklore in the Modern Age’ drew considerable interest in her new novel ‘The Water Cure’.

There was also a host of live exhibitors providing anything from demonstrations to advice. Studio 5 Book Arts were once again on hand creating beautiful decorations. St Bride’s book binders showed us how the special objects throughout the fair were originally made. Whilst Firsts London official partner Biblio was providing insights into all things digital.

The fairs positive feel and an overall buzz of activity was remarked on by both exhibitors and visitors and promises for a fantastic Firsts London 2020.

Shakespeare’s First Folio returns to Britain after forty years.

In the 1970s theatre writer and book collector John Wolfson began accumulating what was to become one of the largest and most rare collections of works on Shakespeare in the world. Housed in New York only the lucky few have been offered the opportunity to see this marvellous collection. That is until a sneak preview of one of its highlights at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare’s Globe last week.
Chairman of Firsts – London’s Rare Book Fair, Pom Harrington, unveiled Wolfson’s Shakespeare’s First Folio (1623), one of the most complete examples of the text in the world, which was purchased from Bernard Quaritch in the ‘70s, and described how it will form the centrepiece of a special exhibition at the Fair staged with Firsts London 2019 Charity Partner, Shakespeare’s Globe. The exhibition will be curated by John Wolfson and includes other historic source books from the collection together with stage props from the Globe.
John Wolfson bequeathed his rare book collection to the Globe in 2008. It includes all four Shakespeare folios, quartos of plays by Shakespeare and his contemporaries, sources of Shakespeare’s plays in their original languages, nearly every Restoration adaptation of a Shakespeare play, and some witty Shakespeare ephemera.
Director of Development at the Globe, Patrick Hewitt, explained that the exhibition is being presented to draw wider public attention to the Globe’s Project Prospero, through which it is fundraising for a new building to house their library and rehearsal rooms.
The exhibition – Highlights from the John Wolfson Rare Book Collection - will be open to the public on the Mezzanine level at the Fair from 7-9 June. Register for your free entry ticket here.

Forsooth! Stephen Fry is to open Firsts London 2019

With just under two months until the curtain goes up, it's with great delight that we can announce that Stephen Fry will open this year's Fair at noon on Friday 7 June.

Roger Treglown appointed as ABA President

Book dealer Roger Treglown is the new president of the ABA. Treglown who operates from an office in Macclesfield has said his main focus as president will be to remind the association that it is "here to help members sell books to put food on the table. We musn't lose sight of that. I think it is also very important to remember to put something back into the trade. Many people just take but I am trying to put something back." 

Starting his book trade career int 1980 Hale, Treglown first joined the ABA in 1989 and was appointed to council in 2000. "Despite all the things that have happened [his personal difficulties included a family tragedy and surviving a brain haemorrhage], I know it is important, in life and in business, to have goals and aspirations. Nearly 20 years after joining the ABA council I have become president." He said he was "very honoured to take on the role" previously held by Angus O'neill of Omega Books in London. 

The position of president is traditionally held for two years. 

Sister Wendy Beckett's Collection on Sale at TEFAF Maastricht with Thomas Heneage Art Books


TV art historian and nun, Sister Wendy Beckett who gained fame during the 1990’s for presenting her BBC documentaries on the history of art, amassed a considerable collection of rare books and artworks. Over the years, despite living by humble means with no regular income, her impressive collection had grown considerably with the help of kind donations. Much of this was acquired from ABA member Thomas Heneage Art Books. 


In December 2018 Sister Wendy passed away and the entirety of her collection was purchased by Thomas Heneage, who had grown to know her quite well. Many of the items that are considered to hold little value were divided for donation and taken to be sold at TEFAF Maastricht 



An unmissable weekend for booklovers....

The second weekend of June 2019 promises to be unmissable for book lovers as a major new fair will open every day between Thursday 6 and Sunday 9 June. For the first time the flagship summer book fairs of the ABA and PBFA will coincide with the annual London Map Fair and Etc Fairs' Bloomsbury Book Fair.

Festival of Books: Introduces NewStory

​The LA Times 'Festival of Books' (150, 000 attendees) introduces a whole new area to the festival this year with the introduction of NewStory, guest-curated by singer-songwriter and innovator Beatie Wolfe. NewStory will celebrate storytelling beyond the book and feature the best in music/tech/art from LA's leading creatives, inventors and thinkers - from NASA and Nokia Bell Labs through to multi-platinum producers and songwriters

Highlights include the premiere of the Raw Space AR chamber pop-up (exhibited at London's V&A museum in the fall) and Raw Space Beam, NASA JPL's lead creative Dan Goods on seeing the unseen, Songwriters Hall of Fame 2018 inductee Allee Willis, Emmy-winning screenwriter/producer Donick Cary (The Simpsons, Parks and Recreation), award-winning production house The Mill, rock star tailor Mr Fish (Hendrix/Bowie), Elliott Smith/Beck video director Ross Harris and multi-platinum producers Kerry Brown (The Smashing Pumpkins) & Linda Perry (Gwen Stefani, Adele)... in addition to premiere screenings, live performances, immersive AR/VR installations, music as medicine and a galactic whisper station. 

For more information visit: website


Sir David Attenborough opened the ABA Rare Book Fair

The ABA Rare Book Fair was opened by Sir David Attenborough this year as it launches in its new Battersea venue. The naturalist and television presenter kicked off proceedings at the 61st ABA fair at noon on May 24.

For the past 20 years the event has taken place at Olympia, but announced the move last year. Other fairs held at the venue include the popular Decorative Antiques and Textiles Fair and the London Antique Rug & Textile Art Fair.

Attenborough, a book collector in his own right, says: “You could say that, after so many years at Olympia, the fair has indeed evolved. Most living organisms do.”

He is an honorary member of the ABA and has written the introduction for this year’s fair catalogue.

In it he writes: “A book brings more than the cumulative meaning of its sentences. It can seduce me by the feel of its paper and the smell of its binding. I delight in recognising whether or not the copy I hold was the work’s first appearance and treasure the misprints or bound-in advertisements that tell me whether or not that was so.”

Around 160 British and international exhibitors will stand at the fair, which can be attended free of charge.

Read the full article at the Antiques Trade Gazette 
More info on the fair: https://www.rarebookfairlondon.com/

The Garima Gospels

The pages crackle, specks of parchment falling to the ground like snowflakes. Wrapped in a white shawl, the book open on his knees on an embroidered velvet cloth, Father Teklehaimanot turns the sheets fastidiously lest the leather ligature tear them. Inside the text is dull and faded. By contrast, the colours of the illustrations are brilliant, rich purples and blues that brighten the gloom of the monastery. On the floor lies the cloth in which the volume is usually enfolded; beside it, the pile of boxes on which it rests. This is where one of the world’s most precious religious artefacts is kept, as it has been for as long as the monks can remember.

The Garima Gospels are not easy to see. These illuminated Christian manuscripts—at around 1,500 years old, perhaps the oldest of their kind in existence—belong to Abba Garima monastery, which is perched on a remote outcrop in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia. The roughly 100 monks store the two books in a circular treasure-house next to the church. Down a slope, just beyond the cloister, is a small museum, built six years ago with the help of the French government, but it is almost empty. The gospels were placed there only briefly before the monks removed them to their customary home. Visiting researchers are occasionally admitted—as The Economist was after lengthy negotiation—but tourists are rarely welcomed.

Read the full article from The Economist

Prestigious Internships

Would you like to gain experience of antiquarian booksellling?
Applications are open for Bernard Quaritch’s 2018 Internship Programme.  A maximum of three full-time positions are available, each for a minimum duration of six weeks.
During your internship you will gain experience of bookselling at one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious antiquarian book dealers. Further information is available here: goo.gl/VjmMzd

All applications must be received by Monday 9 April.

Items Stolen From Carnegie Library

The Oliver Room in the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is home to numerous rare books, atlases and other items off limits to the public. Only scholars and researchers can visit by appointment.

But last spring the museum discovered 314 items (worth over $5 million in total) had been stolen from the collection. Among the stolen objects are nine books printed before 1500, a 1687 first edition of Isaac Newton’s “Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica” and a first edition of Adam Smith’s “The Wealth of Nations.”

Read more

Open Against the Odds

Take a look at libraries from Egypt to Dominica that have remained open despite death threats, extreme weather and terrorism and remained a crucial place for social and academic exchange. 

- The Vanished Library in Cairo, Egypt
- Kabul public library, Afghanistan
- Unnamed library in Mogadishu, Somalia
- Roseau public library, Dominica
- Iraq National Library and Archive, in Baghdad, Iraq

Read the full article via The Guardian 

New York Antiquarian Book Fair

From March 8-11 book lovers will find a fascinating treasure trove at the Park Avenue Armory. Over 200 American and international dealers will exhibit at The ABAA New York International Antiquarian Book Fair, bringing a vast selection of rare books, maps, manuscripts, illuminated manuscripts and ephemera. The diversity of specialties includes art, medicine, literature, photography, autographs, first editions, Americana, and much more.

​This book fair is officially sanctioned by the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America and the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers. This means that the consumer can rely upon the experience and professionalism of participating dealers and the authenticity of the items available for purchase. Simply stated, all books, manuscripts and related material have been carefully examined for completeness and bibliographic accuracy.

“The best book fair in the world.” – Andy Rooney

“It is exciting in a way you probably don't expect when you just hear the word ‘Book Fair.' Well, to me it is just as exciting as sitting in the dark of the theatre and watch a horror film! This experience is not horror. But it's just as exciting!” – Yoko Ono

For more information

Boston Athenaeum's Curator

A 211-year-old independent library in the centre of Beacon Hill—the Boston Athenaeum — is home to about 150,000 rare books. These range from rare collectibles to brand new, huge tomes to tiny ones. Some are made of lead, some are made of shredded uniforms, and one is, famously, made of human skin. Until recently, Stanley Ellis Cushing was in charge of all of them.

Cushing began his career at the Athenaeum in 1970, after he graduated from college. He ended up staying for 47 years—“longer than anybody else in the last hundred years or so,” he says—working as a bookbinder and conservator, then as the Chief of the Conservation Department, and finally as the first-ever Curator of Rare Books. While in this last position, he began the library’s artists’ books collection and discovered such rarities as Audubon’s Birds of America, the great big folio multivolume set of images of birds.

Cushing retired in late 2017 (he is now the Rare Books Curator Emeritus) but his legacy remains on the Athenaeum’s shelves, in the form of the many additions he has made to them. He spoke with Atlas Obscura about his favorite books, his chain of accidentally strategic resignation attempts, and the various priceless treasures he has rescued from the open stacks.

Read the Atlas Obscura interview here

​Medicine in the 16th Century

The life of a 15th- and 16th-century doctor wasn't always savory, but it was never dull - and it was made easier with a groundbreaking anatomy book. The book, Fasciculus Medicinae, was a guide to all things medical, including treating wounds and diagnosing complications in pregnant women. It was first printed in 1491 by a pair of Venetian brothers who brought together a group of medical treatises and added illustrations.

Over the next century, the book was reprinted and embellished, and the exhibition shows the evolution of medical knowledge that occurred as medicine morphed from medieval understandings of the body to a more enlightened Renaissance perspective.

Now thanks to an online exhibition from the New York Academy of Medicine, you can delve into its sometimes bizarre take on medicine at a critical moment for the profession. "Facendo Il Libro: The Making of Fasciculus Medicinae, an Early Printed Anatomy" takes readers on a tour of one of medicine's most influential texts. 

Perhaps the most fascinating part of the book is its illustrations. There's the Zodiac Man, a male figure whose body is split up into sun signs and instructions on how to let blood depending on the time of year. There's Wound Man, an illustration of a down-on-his-luck person with life-threatening wounds from such weapons as arrows and clubs. Disease Man offers insight into the kinds of illnesses a doctor would have diagnosed and treated.

It contained the first printed scene of human dissection, an image that transformed the way physicians thought about the body. Entertaining, insightful and often disgusting, the exhibition is a chance to reflect on just how far medicine has come - and how differently the people of the past viewed anatomy and disease.

Read the full article

Shelley 200th Anniversary

The 51st California International Antiquarian Book Fair in Pasadena this weekend marks the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein." The novel, first published by a small London publishing house on 1 January 1818 - and originally titled "Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus," - is being celebrated this weekend at Antiquarian Book Fair, featuring some 200 dealers -- a share of them offering a wide array of editions of the Shelley novel, as well as knockoffs and spinoffs.
California International Antiquarian Book Fair Committee Chapter Chair Brad Johnson said Shelley and her book are well worth remembering. "You know, 200 years ago, an 18-year-old girl sat down on a stormy night in Italy and put together what is considered to be the foundational work in science fiction and a work that's been reinterpreted by every subsequent generation," he said. While a success in her lifetime, Shelley would never see "Frankenstein" become a phenomenon. 

Read the full article here

Potter, Hawking and the Hobbit

A rare Harry Potter book (worth £40,000) has been stolen from a Norfolk bookshop, as well as first editions of Winnie-the-Pooh, The Hobbit, a copy of Stephen Hawking's ‘A Brief History of Time,’ which was marked with the author's thumbprint and a signed first edition of The Colour of Magic, the first book in Terry Pratchett's popular Discworld series. 

"These books are very rare and in some cases unique and not the sort of thing you see every day," said Thetford Police Constable Gideon Weigelt-Holmes. “I am urging people, especially book dealers or those working in specialist book shops, to be vigilant in case they are offered for sale.” A first edition copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is the most valuable book to have disappeared in the burglary. Only 500 copies were printed by Bloomsbury for the book's first run in 1997, with 300 sent to libraries.

Special editions of JK Rowling's books have fetched high prices in recent years. Last year, two first editions of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone were put on sale for a combined price of £10,000, while one of seven illustrated copies of her The Tales of Beedle the Bard sold at Sotheby’s for £368,750 in 2016.

Last month, a miniature one-off manuscript with drawings from Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone was valued at £120,000.

The police have released a full list of the books stolen in last week's heist:
* Hardcover Bloomsbury first edition of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in a red custom box worth around £40,000.
* Hardcover signed first edition of The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett worth around £9,000.
* Set of four first editions of Winnie-the-Pooh in a black custom box worth around £5,000.
* Hardcover first edition of The Hobbit from 1937 worth around £7,000.
* First impression of The Great Gatsby from 1925 in a dark blue custom case worth around £2,000.
* Paperback copy of Brief History of Time from 1983 with a thumbprint signature by Stephen Hawking.
* Two first editions of the Gunslinger by Stephen King worth around £2,000 each.
* Sketchbook from the 1820s-1840s by an unknown artist including pencil and water colour sketches.

Read the full article by The Telegraph 

Rare Book Top 10

Another year has come to a close so here is a look back at the top 10 auction prices in the field of books and paper for the year 2017. The high end of sales was a little softer this time. Nothing matched last year's high price of $5.6 million, let alone previous years when the Bay Psalm Book and Audubon's Birds of America pushed the top price into double digit millions. This year, the best that could be mustered was $1.8 million, the lowest high in many years.
And now, the Top 10.
10. Tintin en Amérique, by Hergé (Georges Remi). Tintin has taken up permanent residence on the Top 500 list. This is a drawing of Tintin on the running board of a car in Chicago for the 1937 edition of Tintin in America. Based on the price, Tintin must have been the most important French visitor to America since de Tocqueville. $798,180.
9. Autograph manuscript for the song Ich Bin Der Welt Abhanden Gekommen, by Gustav Mahler (1905). $869,375.
8. Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis, ad usum Romanum. An illuminated Book of Hours circa 1483 by the humanist Bartolomeo Sanvito, produced for a wedding uniting the powerful Sforza and D'Aragon families. $885,000.
7. Autograph manuscript notes by Mao Zedong, late in life, concerning his love for classical literature and poetry, along with notes by a professor who assisted him in his ill, later years on the subject (1975). $916,175.
6. Quinte-Curce, Faiz Et Conquestes d'Alexandre (History of Alexander the Great), circa 1470-80. This is an illuminated manuscript on parchment and paper. $990,080.
5. On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, by Charles Darwin. Long lost copy of Darwin's sheets of the third English edition (1861) with notes for revisions sent to his German translator for the second German edition. These changes would then be made to the fourth English, this being the definitive text of Darwin's work. $1,056,925.
4. Biblia Latina (vol. 1 only). Printed in 1460 in Strasbourg by Johann Mentelin, this was the first book printed anywhere other than Mainz. $1,209,500.
3. Autograph manuscript for Honoré de Balzac's novel Ursule Mirouët (1841). $1,392,300.
2. Albert Einstein Manuscript Note. "A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness." Einstein gave this note to a courier while in Japan because he had no cash for a tip. He told the courier that some day it might be more valuable. This note was not the greatest observation of Einstein's life, but he was right about the value. $1,560,000.
1. The Declaration of Independence. Written in 1776, primarily by Thomas Jefferson, this is the founding document of the American nation. It was first printed July 4 in Philadelphia, but there were no large printings in its early day. Rather, it was printed locally for dissemination throughout the colonies. This was the first New York printing, one of the earliest (July 9), known only in five copies. $1,800,000.

To view the full top 500 list, visit Rare Book Hub Top 500

Running an Indie Bookstore, With Churchillian Resolve

Churchill died in 1965 at age 90, leaving an output of more than 40 titles and volumes that have been reprinted in some 8,000 different editions by now. Those now lie in the hands of Barry Singer, 60, owner of Chartwell Booksellers in Midtown Manhattan — “The World’s Only Winston Churchill Bookshop.” 

There are also roughly 800 books about Churchill, said Mr. Singer, who added that he’s had a copy of all of them in the store at some point. His inventory ranges from a $10 paperback of “Churchill on Europe” to a 1906 first-edition softcover of “For Free Trade,” written by the man himself, and stored in a safe at the shop. It goes for a “negotiable” $185,000, Mr. Singer said.

Rare editions of every title Churchill authored can be glimpsed on five shelves locked behind glass doors in the rear of the store: from a first edition of “The Story of the Malakand Field Force” ($5,500), to a signed volume of one of his final works, “A History of the English Speaking Peoples” ($6,500).

The shop has hung on as one of the last independent bookstores in Midtown Manhattan partly because of Mr. Singer’s own Churchillian tenaciousness, and also because the skyscraper’s owners, the Fisher Brothers, have long extended a “favorable” financial arrangement to Mr. Singer, he said.

Read the full article by Corey Kilgannon for The New York Times

Heard and Not Seen

It is not a surprise that children find the author's novels off-putting, said actor and Dickens expert Simon Callow, when asked by teachers to read the text in silence. Instead, children should be encouraged to read the words aloud or - better still - to listen to them being read.

"I think it is very much to do with the way it looks on the page. It's a bit scary. There's a lot of it in rather complicated sentences, and a lot of dialect.

"But just read it aloud to yourself, which is exactly the way most people heard it when it was first published," Callow said.

“When Dickens wrote these stories, he did so in serial form. The head of the family would buy the instalment, go home and read it to the family around the fire. Once you have got Dickens' voice, it becomes infinitely more accessible."

His suggestion that children would benefit from reading Dickens aloud were supported by academics.

Prof Kathryn Hughes, professor of life writing at the University of East Anglia and author of Victorians Undone, said: “I remember doing Bleak House for A-level, and being told we had to start it in April of our O-level year because it was so long. We all sulkily flopped around in the garden reading it over the summer.

“For teenagers, Dickens also has a slightly camp quality with all the silly names. Having somebody called Chuzzlewit is toe-curling - it seems like kiddie stuff, at a time when you don’t want to be seen as a kid.

“These things are off-putting. And Dickens was absolutely written to be proclaimed, to be read aloud with people clustering around.

“So it is a nice idea to think of the books being read aloud now, although I do rather think it would help if the father in the family is Simon Callow, and not an embarrassing dad who thinks he is a lot better at voices than he actually is.”

Dr Christopher Pittard, senior lecturer in Victoria literature at Portsmouth University, agreed that Dickens "can look intimidating" on the page.

"Many of the novels are huge, but the single-volume publication we see as the norm is actually a modern imposition - the novels were published serially over an extended period, a year-and-a-half in some cases," he said.

"Reading aloud was one of the main ways in which literature was disseminated among families. Although this was not necessarily Dickens' own innovation, there is a verbal quality to his work.

"Regarding the best way of introducing children to Dickens, reading aloud is a good strategy and in-keeping with Victorian modes of reading."

Read the full article by Anita Singh

Judging books by their covers

Book jackets are, admittedly, a peculiar art which came into its own in the 1920s. Martin Salisbury’s splendid survey, “The Illustrated Dust Jacket, 1920-1970,” describes how utilitarian commercial designs became an “important branch of the applied arts” and gave rise to manuals, guilds and exhibitions by those who saw not only artistic possibilities but also a new avenue of work for illustrators who relied on freelance commissions.

The most memorable ones usually approach a book indirectly. In fact, Salisbury says that “visual metaphor is often more effective than explicit representation in the distillation of the text into image.” At its best, a classic jacket, joining hand-rendered lettering with traditional portraiture and landscape painting, became an appealing glimpse into a book, welcoming readers inside.

Read the full article

Forged Million Dollar Map

The map seemed to be an unbelievable find, an unknown fifth original of the rarest of documents, a vision of the world, circa 1507, by the famed German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller. Designed to be cut out and pasted around a sphere, these creations of Waldseemüller are thought to be the first printed globes ever made, as well as the first maps ever to use the name “America.”

Christie’s, the auction house, estimated the new find would fetch from $800,000 to $1.2 million when it went on the block Dec. 13 at its London salesroom.

But something about the map didn’t seem right to Alex Clausen, a San Diego-based rare-map dealer, who compared it to high-resolution images of the other known copies.

Read the full article by Michael Blanding for The New York Times

Declaration of Independence sale

A crowd of residents and bidders from across the country gathered at Blanchard’s Auction Services (New York) on Saturday to witness something historic — the auction of a 1776 printing of the Declaration of Independence, one of five surviving copies. Read the full article on the Watertown Daily Times. The $1.5 million winning bid set a world record for any New York printing of the Declaration of Independence.

Pioneering work by female entomologist

A rare first edition of the 300-year-old book in which the entomologist, artist and explorer Maria Sibylla Merian details the insects of Suriname is expected to fetch up to £120,000 when it is auctioned at Sotheby’s on Tuesday.

Showing exquisitely detailed images of the plants, insects, spiders, butterflies and amphibians of Suriname at the turn of the 18th century, Merian’s Metamorphosis insectorum surinamensium caused a sensation when it was published in 1705, with George III acquiring her work for the royal collection. Sotheby’s said it was “one of the most important natural history books of the period”, with very few studies of insects having been done previously, and Merian one of the first naturalists to observe them directly, as well as one of the first female scientific explorers.

Read the full Guardian article by Alison Flood: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/nov/13/pioneering-work-by-female-entomologist-goes-up-for-auction

The London Photography Fair

The London Photograph Fair has been London's marketplace for fine vintage photographs, albums and photobooks since 1982. It continues to be a great resource for dealers, collectors and curators from around the world - a best-kept secret for those in the know.

Works are bought and sold at the fair that later end up on the stands of Paris Photo and AIPAD - for many times more.

Quarterly collectors fairs are held in Bloomsbury in March, May, September and November at the Bloomsbury Holiday Inn hotel.

The Special Edition of The London Photograph Fair - an annual edited, boutique event - was launched in 2015 to great acclaim at Two Temple Place, the former Astor mansion on the River Thames. In May 2017 the Special Edition moved to a new, airier, but no less grand venue: The Great Hall at King's College London on the Strand, adjacent to Somerset House.  The Special Edition will return to King's College on Saturday & Sunday the 19th & 20th May 2018.

At all London Photograph Fairs a great variety of works are on display and for sale: from original vintage fine art, press and fashion photographs, to contemporary, modern and 19th Century rarities. Specialist book dealers offer a range of original and collectible photobooks as well as reference material. Prices range from a few pounds into many thousands.

Whether an experienced collector or new to the field, you will find a relaxed atmosphere, a wealth of specialist knowledge at hand, and new photographic discoveries every time.

Collecting Rare Books and First Editions - (Part I)

By L. D. Mitchell

Just why it should have happened, or why it should have happened just when it did, he could not, of course, possibly have said; nor perhaps could it even have occurred to him to ask. The thing was above all a secret, something to be preciously concealed from Mother and Father; and to that very fact it owed an enormous part of its deliciousness. It was like a peculiarly beautiful trinket to be carried unmentioned in one’s trouser-pocket-a rare stamp, an old coin, a few tiny gold links found trodden out of shape on the path in the park, a pebble of carnelian, a sea shell distinguishable from all others by an unusual spot or stripe-and, as if it were any one of these, he carried around with him everywhere a warm and persistent and increasingly beautiful sense of possession. Nor was it only a sense of possession-it was also a sense of protection. It was as if, in some delightful way, his secret gave him a fortress, a wall behind which he could retreat into heavenly seclusion. This was almost the first thing he had noticed about it-apart from the oddness of the thing itself-and it was this that now again, for the fiftieth time, occurred to him, as he sat in the little schoolroom... 

Conrad Aiken, Silent Snow, Secret Snow (1934)

Given the tremendous demands on one's time in modern industrialized societies, we have always thought it interesting that more book collectors do not have a number of collections of short stories on their bookshelves.  This literary form, born of oral storytelling traditions, is less complex, with fewer characters and plot devices, and appears far better suited to the pace of modern life, than its wordier cousins, novels and novellas.  Short stories are just the right length for consumption during a subway ride, or a break during a hectic day, or the hour before dawn when one's household (hopefully) is still abed. 

Short story collections have been published for a wide range of authors.  Among the many literary worthies who have produced exceptional work in this form are such well-known authors as Honoré de Balzac, Heinrich Böll, and Haruki Murakami. Of course, not every short story in collections is (to use baseball parlance) a "home run."  This is not a problem if one is collecting everything written by a particular favorite author.  As we shall see in the next post, though, some folks are much more selective ...

The article by L. D. Mitchell was published in The Private Library. It is presented here by permission of the author. Thank you very much.

Collectors and the Country House Library

Last Chance to Book
Thursday 19 October: Strawberry Hill, Collectors and the Country House Library (Strawberry  Hill)
This is the third in a series of study days hosted at Strawberry Hill. The shelves of Horace Walpole’s Library at Strawberry Hill, emptied in the great sale of 1842, have recently been filled with the loan of books from the library of Aske Hall, North Yorkshire. To celebrate this event we are holding a study day on the Country House Library. Particular themes of the study day are the evolution of country house libraries, including how the libraries of art collectors such as Walpole support and enrich our understanding of their broader collections. Country house libraries may develop over generations of owners, but they may also strongly reflect the personality and interests of one collector, whether as bibliophile or in the broader history of collections of works of art, or they may reveal information on book binding practice. We will be looking not only at Walpole, but at a broad range of other collectors and their collections to show how much these libraries can reveal. Papers will be given by Megan Aldrich, Stephen Lloyd, Giles Mandelbrote, David Pearson, Stephen Clarke, Claire Reed and Mark Purcell.

Refreshments including a light lunch will be provided.

Location: Strawberry Hill, Strawberry Hill, 268 Waldegrave Road,
Twickenham, TW1 4ST
Date: Thursday 19th October
Time: 9.30am - 4.30pm
Price: £60
To book: www.Strawberryhillhouse.org.uk/events or e-mail Claire Leighton at claire.leighton@Strawberryhillhouse.org.uk.

Los Angeles 2018 - ILAB Congress

The 43rd ILAB Congress will be help in LA between 3 - 11 February 2018. The last ILAB Congress was held in September 2016 in Budapest. The organisers arranged for a fascinating programme of visiting libraries and major book collections, evening functions in most appropriate venues and allowed international visitors to get a real feel for Hungarian history and the local book trade. 

The 2018 ILAB Congress will be hosted and organised by the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America, ABAA who have been working incredibly hard in the past few months to put together a programme for the well travelled bibliophile and bookseller. 

ILAB Congresses and Book Fairs are held every two years in another country. They are cultural and social events that lead the booksellers to the capitals of the world, where they are shown the treasures of book printing and arts, with the possibility of networking in a relaxed atmosphere with booksellers from across the globe. 

For more information, please visit: ILAB

Peeling back the dust jacket

In a brief break from browsing, John Fawcett is telling me about his fascination for Beatrix Potter books. He has just bought two more to add to his collection of them, which he reckons may run to 400. The two new ones are The Tale of Tuppenny and Jeannot Lapin. Not heard of that one, I say. “Benjamin Bunny in French,” he says. 

Surrounded by fellow collectors, all busily delving and peering and rummaging at Ilkley Book Fair, he mentions that he also collects other books published by Frederick Warne & Co.

“Do you have the Rutley Seashore?” bookseller Louise Harrison, the fair’s manager, asks him. “No!” he says, with lightly concealed excitement. She goes to fetch it. We’ll come back to the Rutley Seashore and Benjamin Bunny, but first a bit of context. 

Next weekend sees the annual York National Book Fair – Britain’s biggest antiquarian book fair – once again taking over the Knavesmire Suite at the city’s racecourse. More than 200 booksellers will be touting their wares, though with all due dignity and decorum: these are not rowdy events. 

The books on offer – ranging in price from a few pounds to tens of thousands – will be variously described as antiquarian, rare and secondhand (“used” isn’t a favoured word), and maps and prints will also be on sale. Organised by the Provincial Booksellers Fairs Association, the fair generally pulls in 2,000 visitors from across the country, with those arriving by train ferried there by a free shuttle bus from near York railway station. 

It’s a sort of jamboree – a reunion – for the book trade, which is going through testing times. Janette Ray, the fair’s publicity manager, reckons Britain now has fewer than 300 second-hand bookshops – that’s shops run as businesses rather than charity bookshops. 

Attitudes to books have changed. When Colin Tatman announced last month that he was selling his long-established Beverley Old Book Shop, he told The Yorkshire Post that young people don’t value books as much as previous generations did. “They come in and say all sorts of nice things as if we were a museum and then walk out without buying anything,” he said. 

Online trade, often coupled with high rents and rates, has seen off thousands of shops. It leaves many dealers working from home and selling by post – which is why Janette Ray, whose York bookshop specialises in art and architecture, thinks fairs are so important. 

“Buying books on the internet only works if you already know what you want,” she says. “Fairs give people a chance to see and feel books, to experience them.” And, she adds, there’s always the serendipity of finding a book you never expected to come across or even didn’t know existed. 

Which brings us back to John Fawcett, from Ripon, and the Rutley Seashore. This is collectors’ shorthand for Along the Seashore by Cecily M Rutley, a 1950s guide to shoreline nature with gulls on its chalk-cliffed dust jacket. 

John unhesitatingly buys it from Louise Harrison for around £20. It will join the 500-600 Observer’s Books and the 300-400 Beatrix Potters in his collection (different editions). 

Why Beatrix Potter? What’s the fascination of Squirrel Nutkin and Mrs Tiggy-Winkle? What’s the pulling power of Jemima Puddle-Duck, Pigling Bland and the Flopsy Bunnies? 

“I read the stories myself when I was a child and read them to my sons,” he says. “I like to have books around me; I like to sit and look at them; I like the smell of them. I went to an auction at Northallerton and bid up to £500 for some Peter Rabbits, but I stopped at that.” He adds that a first edition of The Tale of the Pie and the Patty Pan, another Potter title, went for £300, then puts the Rutley Seashore in his bag and moves on to another stall. 

Louise Harrison runs TP Books in nearby Addingham. She specialises in children’s books (plenty of Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers series here), detective fiction and female authors and has been managing the two-day Ilkley fair for eight years. 

“It could be said to be the York fair in miniature,” she says. “We don’t charge an entrance fee here, to encourage people. Book fairs may be intimidating if you’ve never been before, and we want people to realise it’s a very pleasant way to spend two hours.” 

And the name of her business? What’s TP stand for? “Truffle Pigs. If you’re looking for children’s books, you often have to scramble around on the floor.” 

Four dozen booksellers, a third of them from Yorkshire, have packed Ilkley’s balconied Winter Garden and adjoining King’s Hall, its stage arch dotted with white Yorkshire roses (plaster ones) and its boxes fronted by carvings of Shakespeare, Milton, Scott and other, less recognisable, authors. 

There’s a convivial atmosphere, a sense of dealers off the leash, away from catalogues with their codified book descriptions (“A good, tight, clean copy... light spotting to title... a little rubbed and faded... the spine just a touch sunned... some fox marks... text lightly age-toned... a little distressed”). 

There are specialists here in mountaineering, police history, HE Bates and Rupert annuals and there’s what may be Britain’s oldest second-hand bookshop – Halewood & Sons from Preston, celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. 

Some dealers cater for highly specific interests. The artfully named Idle Booksellers, based in Idle, near Bradford, have brought Tales of Bolton Methodist Church, the programme for the 1929 Bradford Hospital Gala, and Jaggermen’s Bridges on Packhorse Trails (published by the Sledgehammer Engineering Press). 

They also have a small selection of the thousands of books they stock by and about the Wakefield-born Victorian novelist George Gissing. “Most of the people who buy books by him are readers rather than collectors,” says co-owner Ros Stinton. And the Idle Booksellers name? “It amuses people and they remember it.” 

As does the Haunted Bookshop, which Sarah Key runs in Cambridge. “We have a lady ghost who, I have to say, hasn’t been seen for quite some time; the last sighting was about 25 years ago,” she says. “But it gets customers in.” 

Her specialisms include “quirky titles and anything we deem interesting”. Hence A Holiday for Honk and Me and My Pussies, a 1924 children’s book. “That wouldn’t get published today,” she says. 

Nothing I see in Ilkley, however, quite matches the title of a book I once saw at a book fair: The Potato – A Compilation From Every Available Source (by Eugene H Grubb). Though A to Z of British Bus Bodies and GEM Skues: The Way of a Man with a Trout by T Donald Overfield run it close. 

And the appeal of book fairs? “It’s good to get away from your shop and computer screen and get out into the real world,” says Sarah Key. “You meet people you know and you may meet customers you’ve never met.” It’s the pleasure of putting a face to a credit card number. 

As for the big York fair... Phil Woolley, from the Black Cat Bookshop in Leicester, reckons it’s “a fantastic gathering of like-minded people”. So what do dealers do when they meet up? Gossip? “Inevitably. When people in a similar industry get together you talk about deals you’ve done... and customers.” 

One he particularly recalls is ‘The Ghost Man’. “He’d turn up at fairs and suddenly loom up at the side of you and say: ‘Have you anything ghostly?’ I haven’t seen him lately though. I think he may have passed over to the other side. He’s possibly a ghost himself now.” Though clearly not at the Haunted Bookshop. 

York National Book Fair will be held at York Racecourse’s Knavesmire Suite on Friday, September 15 (12 noon to 7pm) and Saturday, September 16 (10am to 5pm).

Olympia Moves to Battersea in 2018

The ABA flagship summer book fair, which until now has been held at Olympia, will be moving to its new home of Battersea Evolution for next year’s event, 24-26 May 2018.

The fair, which will celebrate its diamond jubilee in 2018 at its new home, has been held at Olympia since 1998. 

The new Battersea venue is close to Chelsea (a shuttle bus will run from Sloane Square tube, taking just 5 minutes) and the attractive site is already well known for art, antique and photography fairs. With over 150 of the world’s leading booksellers exhibiting annually, Evolution provides the larger venue needed to consolidate the UK’s position as the hub of the international trade in rare books.

Grasmere Book Fair

Grasmere Village Hall, Broadgate, Grasmere, Ambleside, Cumbria LA22 9TA

Opening Times
Friday 13th October 2017 (12pm - 6pm)
Saturday 14th October 2017 (10.30am - 5pm)

The Bristol Book Fair

Old, rare, vintage and second-hand books, maps, manuscripts and ephemera to suit all budgets and tastes.

The Bristol Book Fair returns to The Passenger Shed for its third year, bringing together dealers in old, rare, vintage and second-hand books, maps, manuscripts, ephemera and more from all around the UK, on all subjects and to suit all budgets. Whether you are a keen reader looking to expand your collection, or a seasoned collector searching for one elusive title to complete your library, the Bristol Fair is well worth a visit.

A café serving hot and cold food will be open throughout the fair, as well as a bar and live entertainment for a welcome break from shopping.

Please visit the website for more information 

Rare Book London 2017

London's Festival of Old and Rare Books runs from 23rd May through to 12th June 2017

One highlight of the festival will be the ABA London International Antiquarian Book Fair (or Olympia Book Fair) which runs June 1st - 3rd. More information: www.olympiabookfair.com

​The ABA apprenticeship scheme is changing

In contrast to an internship, which typically lasts for six weeks, our scheme allows for a trainee bookseller to work for an ABA bookseller for two years. During that time, the trainee will gain valuable experience, while the ABA bookseller gets financial support from the Educational Trust. Trainees are paid for both their normal working hours and the time they spend training.

The trainee follows a curriculum of guided learning designed to introduce all aspects of the antiquarian book trade, which includes study at the London Rare Books School and the York Antiquarian Book Seminar.

The ABA Educational Trust is delighted to have seen two trainees through to full time employment in the antiquarian book trade: Oliver Clegg at Sotheran’s and Hannah Aspinall at George Bayntun.

The reason for the name change

Major changes to apprenticeship funding are due to come into place in 2017. Large employers across the UK will start paying an apprenticeship levy in April 2017 and a new funding system will be introduced in England in May 2017. 

In preparation for this, the Enterprise Act 2016 gave apprenticeships the same legal treatment as degrees and the term “apprenticeship” was protected to allow the government to take action if it is misused by training providers.

It is the ABA Educational Trust’s intention in the long term to apply for government recognition for ABA booksellers as apprenticeship training providers. Meanwhile, however, we are obliged to avoid the term "apprentice" and refer to "trainee booksellers".

For more details of the scheme, please email Adam Douglas adouglas@peterharrington.co.uk

Bernard Quaritch - Intern programme

About us 

Quaritch sells rare books, manuscripts and photographs relating to the history of ideas, science, travel and literature in both modern and ancient languages. We are based in London's Mayfair, just south of Oxford Street but our private and institutional clients span the globe.

About you

You can demonstrate a keen interest in the book trade, are knowledgeable about one or more of our subject areas, are a careful researcher, and are comfortable in a business environment. You speak and write English fluently, and have a working knowledge of another language. You will need to have a reasonable level of fitness to tackle several flights of stairs, and be ready to lift and carry medium loads.

About the role 

You will answer the telephone and receive visitors, and assist with packing, deliveries and other routine administrative duties. Working alongside our booksellers, you will also provide research and cataloguing support to them. Remuneration will be £7.50 per hour.

How to apply Email your CV and covering letter to Ms Alice Ford-Smith (a.ford-smith@quaritch.com), with "2017 Internship" in the subject line. Please include the date on which you would be available to start work (from 19 June onwards). All applications must be received by 10 April and they will be acknowledged by email within two weeks. Interviews will take place from 3 May. For further information, please email Alice Ford-Smith.

​Graduate Intern Programme

Thomas Heneage Gallery Bookshop offers paid graduate internships for a minimum period of six weeks. The programme is run for the benefit of applicants with a genuine interest in a career in the art world.
Applications for the 2017 Graduate Intern Programme will open 1st January 2017. Click here for details.

Antiquarian books worth £2 million stolen

Antiquarian books worth £2 million have been stolen in a daring raid. A gang made off with more than 160 rare books after abseiling into the warehouse near Heathrow Airport, where the books were being stored ahead of the California Book Fair. 

One dealer lost £680,000 of books in the heist, which happened in the early hours of Jan 30, while the "jewel" in the haul was a 1566 copy of Nicolaus Copernicus's De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium worth around £215,000. There were also early works by Italian scientist Galileo, Isaac Newton, Leonardo da Vinci and a 1569 edition of Dante’s Divine Comedy.

One source told the newspaper: “They would be impossible to sell to any reputable dealer or auction house.” 

Anyone with information should contact police via 101, or contact Crimestoppers anonymously.

York One Day Book Fair

Over 100 booksellers from the UK. A wide selection of prints, maps and ephemera and a great day out at one of the country's most famous sporting venues.

Organized by:    PBFA
Venue:    York Racecourse
Address:    Knavesmire Road YO23 1EX
Town:    York
Number of stands:    100
Opening hours:    10am - 4.30pm / free shuttle bus from Memorial Gardens
Cost of entry:    GPP1
Phone:    +44 749 799 9539

​ILAB International Mentoring Programme

ILAB has recently launched the ILAB International Mentoring Programme. This programme aims to help young or recently launched booksellers throughout the world by offering support and counsel on a one to one basis.

How do the mentors and their mentees get matched?

A list of booksellers are prepared to volunteer their time and potential mentees are asked to contact the ILAB office for further information: Please email: editor@ilab.org

The ILAB Committee will review applications and make suggested matches between mentors and mentees.

Mentors and mentees will have a preliminary interview or talk, ideally in person at a book fair or other event. If they are unable to meet, a preliminary talk can take place by Skype or telephone. 

How often are the meetings?

Mentors should undertake to be available to offer advice at least one hour a month for a term of one year, and new booksellers should try to be flexible in working out mutually agreeable times. Whether they meet once a month or multiple times is up to them, as are the technical aspects of how the mentoring is performed.  What is important is that everyone feels comfortable.

Who should consider becoming a mentor?

We are seeking ILAB booksellers interested in supporting the future of the antiquarian book trade. It is an honourable and important role which will be recognised on the ILAB website. 

What's in it for mentees?

A friendly experienced bookseller willing to listen to problems and to help you find information you might need. A mentor can help you gain the knowledge and confidence to run a successful book business in challenging times. 

For further information, please contact the ILAB Office. 

Gutenberg to Zuckerberg

From Gutenberg to Zuckerberg is the motto of the first ever ILAB International Antiquarian Exhibition and Fair in Budapest, which is held on 24 and 25 September, following the 42nd Congress of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB) from 19 to 23 September. Over a hundred booksellers from across the world will be welcomed to the bi-annual congress, exhibitors from Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Russia, Japan and of course, Hungary are expected to display most rare and most beautiful books and manuscripts at the succeeding International Antiquarian Book Fair. The items on display at the Vigadó target collectors with different interests and economic possibilities, and guarantee the active participation of international collectors.

Read More 


Beyond Austen and Dickens

Television adaptation is a wonderful way of opening up literary history to the reading public in all its diversity. You’ll get Dickens, Tolstoy, Jane Austen and — so garlanded by now in TV adaptation terms that she joins their ranks — Hilary Mantel. You might get the odd better-known Brontë, if you’re lucky, and Hardy always goes down well. Then what?



ABA Education Trust - New Website

The ABA Educational Trust exists to promote and support education and research across the entire field of rare book studies and antiquarian bookselling. This includes: the organisation and funding of courses, bibliographical research, support of apprenticeships including cataloguing skills, encouraging the reading and collection of books, promotion of exhibitions and publications, making grants to individuals and institutions, research into the history of the book, liaison with and support of rare books librarians and archivists, promoting lectures and seminars, and awarding bursaries and grants. 


The Charm of a Book...

Living With - And From - Books: A Century of Manuscripts and Early Printed Books of Literature, Fine Arts, Science and First Editions By Umberto Pregliasco

Part 1

"An insatiable passion possesses me, which even today I cannot and would not stop … I never grow tired of books. Perhaps I have more than necessary ... as they give us so many benefits, they don’t need any food or drink and they are satisfied with cast-off clothing and a place to lay their head”.

(Francesco Petrarca, 14th century)

We are rare book dealers and from the items we bought and sold over these decades,  we had the opportunity to learn something about history, literature, art, life and the  world (past and present). We realised that editing a text in English which should  be read almost as an “historical tale” is a very hard job, something totally different from  the usual bibliographic descriptions with our familiar technical terms. In any case, this  pamphlet will be a much more comfortable way for you to share our history with us:  let’s say that this text was guided by the same “Italian passion” that we have been putting  in our works for a century...

The Meaning of a Catalogue

“in that depth, saw in one volume bound with love, whatever the universe unfolds” (Paradiso XXXIII, 86-87)

At the same time when Italy celebrates the 150th anniversary of the Italian  Unification, the Libreria Pregliasco turns one hundred years old. Therefore Italy was  merely fifty years old when young Lorenzo Pregliasco, born in 1894 in the  Piedmontese Langa, asked his family to sell a farm house to be able to buy a dusty  second-hand bookshop in the centre of Torino. After returning from World War I, in  1921, together with his brother, Secondo, he published catalogue no. 1, offering for  sale four hundred books, among which the most expensive one was an illustrated incunabulum  offered for 65 liras.

Since then we printed out about 300 publications, such as cyclostiled short-title  lists, pamphlets for exhibitions, “Convivia” of various subjects and monographic catalogues.  For this occasion we are presenting the “Catalogue 100” of the third series,  one more reason to celebrate now one century of our activity. The custom for some  antiquarian booksellers is to honour important events with catalogues limited to a  few highly valuable books. On the other hand, we wanted to present a catalogue with  the purpose of documenting the history of our activity under every aspect, as a bookshop  moved by a passion that is beyond the financial aspect, aimed at bibliographical  research, the conservation of books and manuscripts, and at the re-evaluation of what  was not well known yet or has already been forgotten.

One of the bookseller’s duty is also to share culture, stimulating the book lover’s  curiosity, offering books within every price range: throughout the chapters of this catalogue  dealing with previously approached topics, and monographic catalogues, that  followed one another through the years. we are also presenting, therefore, some volumes  that assume their meaning when they are introduced side by side with the more  expensive ones, dealing on the same subject. Once more we have decided   to go through some of the aspects of the booksellers’ business along the 20th century,  through the history of our bookshop, that is intended to guide the book lovers in the  reading of this catalogue.

“When a writer dies, he embodies the books he has written”, Borges declared; paraphrasing  this significant quotation, we could say that a rare-book dealer relives through  the catalogues he has published. Very few memories might be left of the books that  have been purchased and sold, while the collection of his own catalogues is the bookseller’s  true spiritual last will, the story of his life and of how he was able “to sell his  own soul”, transmitting with every sale his knowledge and passion to the bibliophiles.

A good book should leave you... slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives  while reading it. (William Styron)

In his quite messy bookshop, Lorenzo used to receive visits from the cream of Turin  intellectual elite: Benedetto Croce, Piero Gobetti, Franco Antonicelli and from a  young man interested in political economics: Luigi Einaudi.

As Francesco Fadini wrote in his introduction to the Risorgimento catalogue of  1978: “Croce really liked the ‘ excellent Pregliasco’, recalled by his daughter, Donna Elena  in her Ricordi familiari when in the Libreria he used to meet his friends: Einaudi, Gioele  Solari, Francesco Ruffini, Domenico Bulferetti, Gobetti, Federico Patetta”. Einaudi, the future  President of Italy used to confess: “I would rather buy, after years, on the rare-book  market, and for 50 lira, the book that was sold out and that had become famous, which I  would have bought new for 10 lira. So, I can save the money that I would have risked to  spend on useless books”.

A great hunger for antique books drove the founder of the Bookshop throughout  Italy – “travelling in the smoking section of the third class”, as he loved to remember –  searching for libraries; his most important purchase is the one of the famous library  put together by Francesco Melzi d’Eril, viceroy of Italy during Napoleon’s occupation. 

And it was the dispersion of the Biblioteca Melziana, that in the period after the war  gathered bibliophiles and book dealers from half-way around the world in the bookshop  in Torino.

“Whoever has entered rooms which used to house volumes, maybe over the course of centuries,  is aware of the feeling of holding ancient documents and books, and can imagine the  emotion to give a new life to works that a long sleep has laid still for years. Through the  bookseller’s search there will be a new stage of the mysterious route that the books follow in  a time that is longer than the one allowed to their owners. Tracing the map of the trip is not  possible, in some cases we are talking about hundreds of years that the book spends from library  to library. It would be interesting to know where and from whom the volumes chosen  by Melzi d’Eril had originated and where they have ended up. The Pregliasco family has  been the means of a sudden return to life and, although it is obvious that a bookseller does  not operate for this purpose, the result is fascinating and we cannot avoid recognizing the  merit for a work that is not merely business.”.

Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.

(P.J. O'Rourke)


To be continued ...

Part 1 of "Living With - And From - Books: A Century of Manuscripts and Early Printed Books of Literature, Fine Arts, Science and First Editions", published by Umberto Pregliasco on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Libreria Antiquaria Pregliasco. The text is presented here by permission of the author.


Stolen Columbus Book Returned

A stolen copy of Christopher Columbus’ account of his voyage in 1492 to the New World is being returned to the Old World. The book had been stolen from a library in Florence and then ended up as a donation to the Library of Congress in 2004. Last week American officials returned it to Italy. 

"It's a print of undisputed historical value, said Fulvio S. Stacchetti, head of the Riccardiana library in Florence, “and has made a unique two-way trip ... five centuries after its writing. And now it's back home.

The investigation began several years ago when U.S. agents, working with the Italian Carabinieri art department, received a tip that the "Plannck II edition" at the Florence library had been replaced with a forgery.

Examinations of the forged copy carried out by scientific experts with the military police in Italy discovered that: "the text of the forged letter was a high-quality photocopy, that there was no original library stamp from the [Riccardiana] Library and that the stitching patterns did not match original stitching patterns for known Plannck II Columbus Letters."

Experts at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington carried out their own studies and found that chemical agents had been used “to remove the ink of the Riccardiana library stamp and that printed characters had been retouched to further disguise the letter's provenance, or place of origin.” 

Officials said that the Florentine letter was bought by a rare-books collector in Switzerland in 1990 and was sold to an anonymous buyer for $330,000 at Christie’s auction house in New York in 1992, the 500th anniversary of Columbus’s first voyage to the New World.

Mr. Franceschini, the culture minister, said on Wednesday that the original letter would soon be returned to the Riccardiana library, “its legitimate home.” This is “the story of a very sophisticated theft,” he added. “For many years, we didn’t discover that the libraries had copies of the original. It shows that our level of attention has to remain high.” Particularly at a time when collecting is taking off in emerging markets, he said, “the temptations start now.”


Position at Peter Harrington

The job:

We are an award-winning leading London-based rare bookseller with a global client base and at the forefront of our industry both for product and business approach. You are an experienced, self-starting Digital Content and Campaign Manager who will expand our presence and profile and create, develop and lead our digital, social and traditional marketing activities.

Become our Digital Content and Campaign Manager and you’ll help deliver an outstanding digital experience, connecting us with our customers across a range of touch points. You’ll join a small, highly-focussed team driving positive change at the heart of our business, reporting to our Digital Marketing Manager and liaising with our team of expert booksellers and marketing partners to ensure consistency of content in fully integrated campaigns. Our aim to stay fresh and ahead of the curve in our industry means the role is dynamic, challenging and rewarding.

£23,000 - £25,000 + benefits

What you’ll do:

- Write great copy and sub your colleagues’ work, dealing with tight deadlines and flimsy briefs

- Deliver content for our catalogues, newsletters, blogs and across our digital channels

- Play a key role in generating new marketing and brand campaigns

- Identify and implement improvements in system policies and processes

- Support complete accuracy and consistency across the digital team


You’ll definitely:

- Be an experienced copy-writer and content/project manager

- Have worked in digital content role with a proven track record

- Be happy planning and prioritising your workload

- Have competency with blogging and email software (knowledge/use of either Wordpress or Mailchimp highly desirable)

- Ability with Adobe software, particularly inDesign and Photoshop

- Have excellent interpersonal skills: the vast majority of projects will be undertaken in conjunction with other members of staff

- Historical and/or literary areas of interest & knowledge

- A good general understanding of social media


We’d love you to have:

- Fluency or competence in a major second language – Spanish or Russian would be particularly helpful

- Previous experience working in a library, bookshop or relevant institution or the luxury industry

- Self-motivation in planning and prioritising your workload

- Flexibility in regards to working occasional evening events

What’s in it for you:

- Competitive salary

- Generous contributory pension

- Employee Assistance Programme and personal Accident Insurance

- Discretionary bonus

- 21 days’ holiday


Discounted products

If you would like to apply please send a CV and covering letter to rob@peterharrington.co.uk


The Bard, centre-stage

'The Bard' as he is known, is widely considered the greatest writer in the English language, and his plays and poems have become an integral part of Western culture. Over the course of his 52-years, Shakespeare produced 38 plays, 154 sonnets and a number of other works. But how have they managed to remain relevant for over four centuries?

Celebrations have taken place through out the day in Stratford-upon-Avon to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death and the Bard is back where he has always belonged – centre-stage.

Prince Charles attended one of the evenings events, Shakespeare Live - a televised performance celebrating the playwright's life at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.


Welcome to Charleston Festival 2016

With a line-up that includes leading architects, scientists, novelists, politicians, scholars and poets, the 27th edition of Charleston Festival (20 - 30 May 2016) is peerless in the quality of its speakers. 2016 is a special year for Charleston, marking 100 years since Bloomsbury Group artists, Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell, arrived to make Charleston their Sussex home creating an artistic and intellectual hub, which would later host distinguished literary figures John Maynard Keynes and Virginia Woolf. 


Highlight Conferences - Senate House

Annotating Woolf, Saturday 9th (10:00 - 16:00), explores the challenges of producing new editions of Virginia Woolf's novels and, in particular, the Cambridge University Press editions of her first three novels. The event features lectures from Stuart Clarke, Dr Emma Sutton (University of St Andrews) and Dr Michael Whitworth (Merton College, Oxford).

Collectors, Collections and Collecting, Friday 15th, will cover a range of topics including the future of private collections, Ruskin and his legacy, and features a plenary lecture by Dr Stella Panayotova, Keeper of Manuscripts and Printed Books, The Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge.


The Conscience of our City

“One of the many things I’ve learnt is that our suggestions for the preservation and betterment of Bath often take considerable time – years – to come to fruition. Conversely, sometimes we can make an important and immediate impact, such as our work behind the scenes with Network Rail to install appropriate railings and fittings through our World Heritage Site." - Edward Bayntun-Coward of George Bayntun bookshop and chairman of the Bath Preservation Trust 

Read the full article from The Bath Magazine 


The Magical Mouldering Mystery Library

The Bolton Library, a national treasure of early printed books and manuscripts dating back to the 13th century, has been placed in the care of the University of Limerick, where work is under way to restore the collection.

The Library, which contains many items of great rarity, “at least 50 not recorded elsewhere in the world and some 800 not recorded elsewhere in Ireland,” is considered to be one of the most important private library collections in Britain and Ireland. 

Comprising of some 12,000 early printed books, maps, manuscripts and prints, the collection belonged to Theophilus Bolton, an early 17th-century Church of Ireland archbishop of Cashel.


Rare Book Collecting Is Not a Dying Art

Rare and antiquarian books is a broad category and encompasses manuscripts, medieval handwritten pages, first prints and first editions of both fiction and nonfiction and even some contemporary publications. 

One might think that in this age of Kindle and Nook, when used book stores are rapidly disappearing and real estate is at a record premium, that the world of rare book collecting should be similarly declining. However the rarefied world of rare book collecting is not a dying art and a rich field of booksellers continues to operate.

Technology may, in fact, help to facilitate rare book collecting, as buyers are able to locate and acquire sought-after books online sometimes more effectively than if they browsed one place after another. “I’ve put together two or three collections that I wouldn’t have been able to assemble as comprehensively and in such a short period of time without the Internet,” said Eric Holzenberg, a collector of books on architecture and the decorative arts, as well as director of New York City-based The Grolier Club.


RF Shipping & Logistics - Sales Person Required

We are an established Shipping and Logistics Company currently operating in the antiques, fine art and rare book world looking to expand our market. The ideal candidate will demonstrate sales experience, preferably in our general sphere of operation, administrative skill and genuine enthusiasm.

The position requires a part-time minimum 3 day week based on a full time gross pay of £34,000.00 pa. with proportionate holiday pay and an additional profit sharing incentive bonus scheme. 

Please send your CV and a supporting covering letter to info@rfshipping.com using the phrase “Job Application” in the Subject field. Interviews from 29th February.



DIY aristocrat wallpaper project 'could have cost £7.3m'

Lady Hertford jazzed up her dining room with bird pictures cut from what is now said to be the world's most expensive book

When Lady Isabella Hertford sought to brighten up her 1820s dining room, cutting colourful birds out of a handy book must have felt like an inspired idea. The decision could in fact have cost £7.3 million. For the book she chose was not just any old ornithology survey, but a rare copy of John James Audubon’s famous Birds of America.

His ornate sketches of exotic birds from around the world now adorn the walls of Temple Newsam House in Leeds, in a decorating decision which has now lasted for nearly 200 years.

The full story of Lady Hertford and her Chinese Drawing Room will now be told, after the curators spent weeks undertaking “painstaking” protection and preservation work to help restore it to its best.

Similar first edition copies of the original book which have recently sold for more than £7 million at auction.

The rare nature of the books means that if Lady Hertford’s copy had survived, the current owner could have been in line for a multi-million-pound nest egg today. The house will reopen to the public in February, in time for spring visitors, as a new curator unveils the conservation work. Built in 1518 the stately home also boasts gardens designed by Capability Brown and 40 rooms which have held a notable selection of art and furniture.

Easily the most colourful is the Chinese Drawing Room, which was almost entirely decorated by Lady Hertford in the 1820s after she inherited the house from her parents. A mistress of the then-Prince of Wales, who went on to become George IV, she accepted rolls of “extravagant” wallpaper from him as a show of his affection. But once they were on the walls, experts said, she “decided it needed to be more lively”. She turned, naturally, to her copy of John James Audubon’s Birds of America, carefully cutting out the creatures inside and pasting them onto the wallpaper. In 2012, the text was proclaimed “the most expensive book in the world” after a series of sales, with different copies making $8.8m at Christie’s New York in 2000, and £7.3m at Sotheby’s London in 2012, and $7.9m again at Christie’s.

In 2010, The Economist estimated that five of the ten highest prices ever paid for printed books were for copies of Birds of America, when adjusting for inflation. Printed in the 1820s, its pages will be famous to anyone with even a passing interest in birds, with image after image plate of nature studies painted in bold colours.

The 43-room house, which was once home to Mary Queen of Scots husband Lord Darnley, was sold to Leeds Corporation by Edward Wood, the 1st Earl of Halifax, in the early 1900s, with Leeds City Council now overseeing its running. Its latest makeover, overseen by new curator Rachel Conroy, has seen all items of furniture and art work removed from the drawing room while specialist cleaning with brushes and miniature vacuums takes place.

Bobbie Robertson, principle keeper at Temple Newsam, told the Telegraph that both the wallpaper and the book are “rare and significant” in their own right, becoming “absolutely unique” in the hands of Lady Hertford.

“Both items are fantastic, but combine them in this rather humorous way and they become quite wonderful,” she said.

"We absolutely love the wallpaper and commend Lady Hertford for her flair and creativity as it’s created a total one-off and a real showpiece."

Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said: “We absolutely love the wallpaper and commend Lady Hertford for her flair and creativity as it’s created a total one-off and a real showpiece. “However, if anyone at the time had realised the potential value of the beautiful illustrations, I’m quite sure they wouldn’t have become part of Lady Hertford’s DIY project.”

Born in 1759, Lady Hertford was the daughter of Charles Ingram, 9th Viscount of Irvine, and married Francis Seymour-Conway, the second Marquess of Hertford at the age of 16 before catching the eye of the Prince of Wales. The house was passed down the family line until the 1st Earl of Halifax, when it was moved to the authority of the council.

Had the book survived, it is likely that it would have been sold off as one of many items offered on tables on the lawns of the house in 1922.

Read the full article from The Telegraph 


How a karma-seeking Redditor uncovered one of the world’s rarest atlases

A reference librarian at the National Library of Norway came across an old Ottoman atlas in the collections there that seemed perfect for a Reddit board devoted to the appreciation of maps. Weeks later, he figured out that the map in question was a previously-unknown copy of one of the rarest atlases in the world: the Cedid Atlas.

The librarian, Anders Kvernberg, otherwise known as Reddit user PisseGuri82, posted an image from the atlas to r/mapporn  a couple of weeks ago. He simply identified the map — which he pieced together from scans of different pages from the atlas — as an Ottoman world map from 1803.

At first, it appeared the atlas he found was just one of many of the dusty, untouched maps hiding out in their collection. “Of about 150,000 maps and atlases, I would guess a couple of thousand are used during a year,” he wrote in a Reddit post explaining the whole situation. The atlas wasn’t digitally cataloged, and the librarian doesn’t read Ottoman Turkish, so he didn’t have much more information on it at the time.

The atlas went back into the library’s collections, where it would have stayed, ignored, had Kvernberg not seen a post two weeks later from another r/mapporn user who posted an Ottoman map of Africa from the same year. It was easily identified as a scan from the Library of Congress’s copy of the Cedid Atlas, which can be seen online:


Kvernberg hadn’t yet made the connection to his own find, but he was intrigued by the Cedid Atlas, and began reading about its rarity.

The “Cedid Atlas Tercümesi” was the first atlas based on western cartographic techniques and geographic research to be published by Muslims, according to the Library of Congress‘s 1998 announcement of its acquisition of its copy of the atlas. The Ottoman Military Engineering School Press published it as an educational and strategic resource for the military. There were only 50 total copies printed.

As Kvernberg learned more about the rare book, the Library of Congress’s page scans started to look very familiar. “Then I realized this was the very same atlas I had held in my hands a few weeks earlier,” Kvernberg wrote on Reddit.

“I ran off to tell our expert on maps, Benedicte Gamborg Briså, that I had something I thought she should take a look at,” Kvernberg told The Post in an email. “She was excited, of course, and we started leafing through the old card catalog, researching the names scribbled by previous owners, and so on.”

“At first, we just assumed we had a later edition or a common reprint,” Benedicte Gamborg Briså, the National Library of Norway’s maps expert, said in an emailed statement to The Washington Post. But there was only one edition of the atlas ever printed, and the atlas in their collection was “clearly genuine old paper and leather binding.”

“We compared every single page with online scans from the Library of Congress. Every page, as well at the title and printing year, was identical,” she wrote. “Also, there was only one edition ever printed, and as far as we know there are no known reprints. That’s when we realized this was the real thing.”

Here, for comparison, is a page from the atlas Kvernberg found:

Briså told The Post that the National Library of Norway’s copy of the Cedid Atlas is the 15th known surviving copy — 14 others are held by various libraries around the world.

Her research indicates that about 20 copies total of the atlas may still exist.

“Even modern libraries’ collections, dating centuries back, rely heavily on physical catalog cards, not searchable on the net. This means looking through the shelves can sometimes turn into a serendipitous treasure hunt,” Briså wrote.

The book is still being cataloged, but Briså shared some of the information that she and Kvernberg were able to find on how the rare book may have ended up in Norway, although its exact path from its publication in Istanbul in 1803 to its rediscovery in 2016 remains a “mystery.”

“The previous owner, an Oslo textile importer, is known to have travelled in the Balkans during the late 1930s,” Briså wrote. “He may have purchased the atlas there, just years before the devastating German invasion during WWII. He might just have saved it from destruction.”

“Luckily,” she added, “it has been kept in air-, light- and humidity controlled environment the past 60 years.” After it’s cataloged, the map will be examined by paper conservation experts to ensure that it lasts even longer.

This piece by Abby Ohlheiser originally appeared in The Washington Post.


17th-century flap book details the wonders of anatomy

The German-language volume, digitised for the first time, uses paper flaps to demonstrate the different layers of the human body. Nowadays, pop-up books and flap books are mostly found in the children's section, but centuries ago, they served a much more educational purpose. As early as the 16th century, paper flaps were integrated into anatomy books to illustrate how the parts of the body all fit together and overlap.

They are things of deeply intricate beauty and craft, but also highly delicate and rare. The average person will never get a chance to handle one in person, but, thanks to the wonders of digitisation, we can pore over the pages at leisure.

"Kleiner welt spiegel, das ist, abbildung göttlicher schöpffung an dess menschen leib : mit beygesetzer schrifftlicher Erklärung : so wo zu Gottes Weissheit : als dess menschen selbst erkandtnuss dienend" is the somewhat tongue-twisting title of a volume recently digitised by the Archives & Special Collections at Columbia University's Augustus C. Long Health Sciences Library.

Published in 1661, the volume is a German translation of an earlier work, the more concisely titled "Catoptrum Microcosmicum," written in Latin by Johann Remmelin and published in 1613. It was intended more as an informative tome for curious-minded laypeople than a textbook for the medical professional. And it appeared that people were curious indeed, as the book became a bestseller.

Getting the delicate book fit for digitisation was a tricky prospect. Many of the flaps had become tangled, and needed to be carefully flattened and mended so that they wouldn't tear. Also, the book had been stained, which obscured the text and made the pages brittle. This was painstakingly lightened using moisture and a suction device. Finally, the book was rebound.

The book was then imaged with every flap folded and unfolded. There is only one page that includes flaps, showing bodies of a man and a woman, the torso of a pregnant woman between them. Multiple flaps lift to show nerves, veins, muscles, and bones.

In all, the page contains over 120 flaps. These had to be lifted using fine brushes and spatulas to avoid damage, with pieces of glass placed between them to make the flaps appear as though they are standing. Lifting each flap and placing the glass required the work of as many as four librarians. Then a glass was placed between the book and the camera, and the page was photographed.

Text by Michelle Starr @riding_red originally published on CNET 11th January 2016.

View: 'A Medical Pop-Up Book from the 17th Century' 




Gutenberg Bible reproduced by Falkirk binders

A book-binding company in Falkirk has created a copy of one of the world's rarest and most valuable books.

Helix Binders worked with the John Rylands Library in Manchester to create a "handling copy" of the 15th Century Gutenberg Bible.

The library wanted to provide scholars with a replica of the volume owned by the University of Manchester that they could view and touch. There are thought to be only 16 complete copies of the bible.

Daniel Crouch talks to Monocle

Listen to Daniel Crouch talk to Monocle's Andrew and Tom about a new title from Phaidon ‘Map: Exploring the World.’

Daniel Crouch Rare Books is a specialist dealer in antique atlases, maps, plans, sea charts and voyages dating from the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries - also including a number of fine prints and globes, and a selection of cartographic reference books. 


ABA Booksellers

A round-up of news stories relating to our members - click here for the links ... 

On the Origin of Species voted most influential academic book in history

Charles Darwin’s formulation of the theory of evolution takes overwhelming share of public vote, ahead of Kant, Plato and Einstein. 


Situation Wanted – Tom Guest

Educated at Winchester College and King's College London, I have a degree in War Studies and particular interest in Late Modern History.
I was formerly Gallery Assistant at Jonathan Potter Ltd with responsibilities for cataloguing maps and atlases, sales (in the gallery and online), customer liaison, office admin and attending book / map fairs. Following the closure of the London shop, I spent three months setting up Jonathan Potter's new gallery in Bath, a process that has included rationalising the company's IT and email processes. 

Instagram had a medieval equivalent – and it’s making a comeback

Emblems were to the Early Modern world what comics, logos or adverts are to us. Like the ones in Délie, they would traditionally put together a title or motto with a picture, revealing an enigmatic overall message when you read them together.  The term comes from the title of Andrea Alciato’s 1531 Emblematum liber (“Book of Emblems”), starting a genre that is also well represented by Daniël Heinsius' love meditation Emblemata Amatoria in 1601 (see title image). These emblems appeared in books – popular books, bestsellers even – but also on the costumes of courtly parades, on the decorations of churches and schools and inscribed on the palaces of Europe. Hundreds of years before the internet, these visual representations crossed cultural frontiers. And emblems were arguably no less powerful: Protestants and Catholics used them, as did princes and pornographers.

Anatomical cross-sections made out of old books

These visceral anatomy cross-sections are made out of old books. Artist Lisa Nilsson's ‘Tissue Series is stunningly detailed and well-executed, consisting of simultaneously grotesque and pleasing cross-sections of brains, abdomens, torsos and more.

Rare Boccaccio manuscript at Florence Biennale

This Autumn, Dr. Jörn Günther Rare Books will exhibit for the first time at the 29th edition of the Biennale Internazionale dell’Antiquariato di Firenze. This historic and established fair will take place at the magnificent Palazzo Corsini, Florence, from 26 September - 4 October 2015, with a preview on 25 September.

Statement from the Chairman

A statement from Sir Richard Sykes FRS, Chairman of the Royal Institution, regarding the charity’s plans to remove its outstanding debt, which include selling off some of the Ri's treasures at Christie's in November. 

Drawings of Libraries

Several years ago, after finishing a series of drawings of staircases, I knew that my next theme would be books and bookcases.  Books are the most beautiful and clever objects man has ever created.  They have been the very core of civilization, substantively and symbolically.  Yet it seems that the significance of books as the main tool for conveying knowledge and thoughts is beginning to disintegrate.  Perhaps because of the invention of cyberspace, I do not know.  But I knew then that I wanted to devote the next several years of my life to books, to capture their essence, so to speak, before their shape and presence are extinguished altogether.

Politician’s Books Came From Libraries Across Italy, Police Say

The authorities pursuing a thread in one of the biggest rare book heists in Italian history said thisweek that some of the 20,000 books seized two years ago from the private Milan library of Marcello Dell’Utri, a former senator in prison for Mafia association, had been removed from public libraries and religious institutions across Italy.