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Beautiful Devotion: Illuminated Manuscripts

First created over 2000 years ago, illuminated manuscripts had drawings or paintings of ornate initials, borders, flowers, vines and other decoration to accompany text. A true illuminated manuscript was made without machines. Frequently in devotional prayer books, the most exceptional art served as a status symbol. Nowadays, original illuminated manuscripts are highly scarce. But due […]

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2013 Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar Contest

Are you thinking of becoming a rare bookseller? Or have you just started to sell collectible books? The Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar is a week-long educational event held in Colorado Springs in August, 2013 for booksellers, librarians and collectors that offers expert discussion about rare books. The Book Seminar provides an opportunity for leading specialists […]

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Leporello and Concertina Books

The term leporello refers to printed material folded into an accordion-pleat style. Also sometimes known as a concertina fold, it is a method of parallel folding with the folds alternating between front and back. The name likely comes from the manservant, Leporello, in Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni. Famed rogue and lover Don Giovanni (in Italian […]

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New York man gets medieval on King James Bible

A retired interior designer from upstate New York named Phillip Patterson recently decided that he wanted to learn more about the bible, so for the past six years he has spent upwards of 14 hours a day copying out the passages of the King James bible line by line; in much the same way that […]

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April’s Top 10 Most Expensive Sales on AbeBooks

Our top 10 most expensive book sales list for April is topped by the poetry of none other than Emily Dickinson. Dickinson was unheralded during her lifetime but today, 127 years after her death, the poet’s work is treasured by collectors. Three volumes of her poetry were sold last month on AbeBooks and became our […]

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Visiting New York Book Fairs

Earlier this month I visited the ABAA New York Antiquarian Book Fair and the Manhattan Vintage Book & Ephemera Show. Each year AbeBooks attends a variety of book fairs in North America and Europe. Visiting the book fairs is a great opportunity to meet our booksellers face to face and see some of the beautiful […]

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The Good House-Wife Made a Doctor by Thomas Tryon, 1692

Today’s interesting old-timey find on the site is The Good House-Wife Made a Doctor by Thomas Tryon, 1692. We only have one original copy, priced at just over three grand, so one would have to be very interested indeed to purchase it. But for those chiefly interested in its contents and text, there are several […]

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Bookstores of New York

Last week I was in New York. The purpose of the visit was to attend two antiquarian book fairs, but I always try to make time to visit booksellers in their stores. Nothing can replace the touch and feel of a beautiful book and talking to someone that is passionate about what they do. Walking […]

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20th Century Hand-Illuminated Book

Today’s gorgeous and unusual find is this hand-illuminated book. Not much appears to be known about it, but it’s just stunning (An illuminated manuscript is any manuscript whose text is accompanied by decoration. It originally referred only to silver or gilt adornments, but came to be acceptable terminology for any manuscript with drawings, paintings or […]

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A Late 19th-Century Tulip Catalog

A great part about working in the AbeBooks marketing department is the high number of unique, strange, wonderful books and ephemera I get to see and learn about, that I would almost certainly not come across if I didn’t work here. Today’s find is a late 19th-century tulip catalog. It’s very simple, sure, but totally […]

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