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Bookshelves of the Rich and Famous

If money were no object, what would your book collection look like? Would you own an original Hobbit, a signed Einstein or the ultimate Joyce collection for six figures? I find myself dreaming about this from time to time. I love books so much, in so many different ways – the pleasure of reading (chiefly), […]

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Antiquarian Medical Books: Bloodletting and Beyond

We’ve just done a feature on collectible medical books, and it was fascinating to find all of the old techniques and beliefs about medicine and the human body in the books from decades and centuries ago. While medicine has been practiced in various forms for thousands of years, the constant evolution of its tools and […]

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The Most Expensive Book Sales in May

Our most expensive book sales in May tell a fascinating story. The British Empire still stretched around the world during the Edwardian era. The British traveled and imposed their colonial ways, but a few were also taking photographs. John Claude White was part of a military expedition to Tibet in 1904 and his pioneering photographs […]

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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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