Save the Warburg Institute!

WarburgThe University of London has taken legal action to challenge its own deed of trust concerning the care and integrity of the Warburg Institute. Possible results of this action include the dispersal of the library, or its relocation abroad.

This is not the first time the Institute has been threatened: it was relocated from Hamburg to London in 1933, endangered by Hitler's rise to power, and although the University of London accepted the collections in 1944 (the agreement currently under review), similar action was considered in 2010.

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ABA New Member - Peter Nicholls (Boxwood Rare Books & Prints)

Peter NichollsI have been trading as Boxwood Rare Books & Prints since 1995. My focus has been on books illustrated with woodcuts and wood engravings and on signed engravings printed from the wood. Naturally this has led me to specialise in that remarkable period between the wars in the last century when British book illustration and typography enjoyed, in the words of Eric Gill, an “adventure of discovery”. The result was an extraordinary creative flair with artists such as Paul and John Nash, Eric Gill, Robert Gibbings, John Buckland Wright, Gertrude Hermes, Blair Hughes-Stanton, Clare Leighton, Agnes Miller Parker, Eric Ravilious and John Farleigh experimenting with wood engraving to illustrate beautiful books.

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Collecting Dickens


Charles Dickens collectors see prices rise as signed book fetches £275k - the Financial Mail on Sunday talks to Brian Lake about collecting Dickens 

Brian Lake, president of the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association, says the key appeal of Dickens is that there is a wide range of books and ephemera to suit all pockets.

"Dickens prided himself on being a man of the people and insisted his publishers offered his books cheaply so they could be widely read. His popularity meant print runs tended to be high and this means there are now large numbers of collectable editions available. No matter what your budget, there is something you can afford."

Read Toby Walne's full article here

A History of the Twentieth Century in 100 Maps

A History of the 20th Century in 100 Maps

The October 2014 seminar in the book-collecting series organised jointly by the Institute of English Studies (London University) and the ABA Educational Trust will be given by Tim Bryars and Tom Harper.

Tim Bryars is a well-known mapseller, with premises in London’s Cecil Court, while  Tom Harper is a curator at the legendary Map Library at the British Library.  Their book, A History of the 20th Century in 100 Maps, is scheduled to be published in September 2014.  The twentieth century was a golden age of map-making, and maps permeated almost every aspect of daily life.  It was a century overshadowed by war which was also marked by tremendous social and technological change ...

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Chelsea Book FairEVER FANCIED OWNING a First Edition of Diamonds Are Forever or The Hobbit?

Are you curious to know what your aunt’s dusty old leather-bound copy of Bleak House might be worth?

If you are, then the Chelsea Antiquarian Book Fair in November should be right up your street. Held at the stunning Chelsea Old Town Hall on the King’s Road, this event has become a magnet for collectors and dealers alike who travel from far and wide for two days of book dabbling and dealing.  For nearly a quarter of a century the Chelsea fair has been a fixture in the November calendar for those who love to buy and sell old books, maps, manuscripts, prints and related ephemera.

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The ABA is increasing its membership

ABA/ILAB BadgeThe ABA is increasing its membership - have you thought about joining the best booksellers in Britain? 

A message to all ambitious sellers of rare and antiquarian books from Brian Lake, President ABA and Steve Liddle, Membership Secretary, ABA.

Why join the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association?

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De Caro Thefts - List of confiscated / withdrawn books


De Caro and the Girolamini thefts - Notice from ILAB president Norbert Donhofer, concerning the list of books confiscated or withdrawn from auction No 59 at Zisska & Schauer (Munich), May 2012.

BTHC Brochure and Booking Form 2014

bthcBookshops have been at the centre of the trade’s activity from the beginning. This year’s conference will explore some aspects of the arrangement of bookshops and the way in which they framed social and commercial interaction of many kinds. Leading scholars in the field will present original papers, drawing evidence from different countries and different historical periods.

The Book Trade History Conference will take place on Sunday 16th & Monday 17th of November 2014 at Stationers' Hall.

Download the BTHC Brochure and booking form here

Books Thefts: Pontremoli


Hundreds of books – incunables and early printings – and historical sketches have been announced missing from the Biblioteca del Seminario vescovile di Pontremoli and the Archivio storico della cattedrale di Massa. The attached list contains pictures of the library stamps and ex-libris as well as book descriptions.

If you come across of one or more of the items listed in the pdf file below, please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it (President of ALAI) or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Download the Pontremoli List of stolen books here

De Caro and the Girolamini Thefts - ILAB Protest Note

Official Note of Protest of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellersilablogo14

Since spring of 2012 the issue of the massive thefts in the Girolamini Library and other Italian libraries had kept busy both the Italian Justice as well as the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB). ILAB understands fully that this is a complicated issue as the main suspected person, Marino Massimo de Caro, has carefully – and partly successfully - tried to cover up the traces of plundering he had left in the National Heritages. ILAB has, however, offered from April in 2012 onwards its help and cooperation to clear up this mess in many ways, an offer, which unfortunately had never been accepted and had not even been answered by Italian authorities. 

The latest developments in this case – the arrest of the Danish dealer Christian Westergaard and the confiscation of eleven books out of his stock – gives ILAB no other choice as to announce an official note of protest against the department of investigation. This note of protest will be sent to officials in both the Ministry of Culture of Italy and the Ministry of Justice of Italy, and it will be spread out to librarians, journalists, and the public worldwide.

Grief, grit and humour at the British Library

women of britain say go

Grief, grit and humour – Enduring War opens at the British Library to mark the centenary of the First World War, running from 19 June to 12 October 2014

Key items in the exhibition include a letter from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to his mother describing his worries about his son serving at the Front, written in the light of his belief in Spiritualism. Also included in the exhibition on rare display is a letter from Isaac Rosenberg and the manuscripts of well-known war poets, such as Rupert Brooke.


Gutenberg Bible Theft

gutenbergbibleRussia has sentenced three of its Federal agents after they attempted to sell off a Gutenberg Bible. Colonel Sergei Vedishchev had offered it to a collector for under $1.15m (£700,000; 1.07m euros), a fraction of its estimated value.

Court spokeswoman Irina Zhirnova said the book was "priceless" and that experts expected it to fetch at least $20.4m. "These people were not art specialists," she explained. 

An interview with ILAB President Norbert Donhofer

President Nobert“My highest priority is to build up confidence in the professional antiquarian book trade” - ILAB President Norbert Donhofer

In mid-April 2014 the Austrian antiquarian bookseller Norbert Donhofer was elected ILAB President. In this interview he talks about recent challenges of the international antiquarian book trade and his plans for the upcoming two years of his presidency. 


By Bettina Führer


Next Fair

Chelsea FairThe 24th Chelsea Book Fair will be held at the Old Town Hall, King’s Road, London on 7-8 November 2014.

The Chelsea fair has become a strong fixture in the November calendar for book collectors and dealers. Warmer than Boston, more intimate than York, less formal than Paris – Chelsea has it all.

For more information visit: www.chelseabookfair.com

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Fairs and Events

All books are either dreams or swords, / You can cut, or you can drug, with words.

Amy Lowell, ‘Sword Blades and Poppy Seed’ (1914)