{vistor:mbr_blog_screenname}

Blog posts by Rich Rennicks

Content creator and publicist for the ABAA. 


“All discarded lovers should be given a second chance, but with somebody else.” — Mae West The celebrated Vaudevillian Mae West might have been talking about men she had known, but her advice is equally true for the books one has loved. The demands of shelf space, changing family needs, or a simple change in personal taste may all inspire us to part with books we once loved. Rare books are no different: our interests change, our areas of focus narrow or broaden, and ownership of certain volumes may come to be of less importance to us — usually because the need for funds to purchase a book of more interest or greater rarity becomes acute! Of course, that isn't to say nobody else might want desperately to own our books! This is the natural cycle of rare and collectible books. Collectors prune their collection as a gardener prunes h... [more]

Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton is a phenomenon, even by the standards of hit Broadway musicals; people who have no hope of getting their paws on a ticket until sometime next year are obsessively listening to the cast recording and watching videos compulsively on YouTube. If the subject matter was anthropomorphic felines or an alternative take on a classic children's book we wouldn't blink an eye, but Miranda's remarkable success is built on the comparatively dry history of the founding fathers that most people day-dreamed their way through in high school. Looking through the items listed by ABAA members, we find many rare books and documents signed or written by the actual people dramatized in the musical. While you're waiting for more tickets to be made available, check out some of these amazing first editions, fine-press reprints, and ev... [more]

The 50th annual California International Antiquarian Book Fair will take place in Oakland, CA from February 10-12, 2017. Recognized as one of the world's largest and most prestigious exhibitions of antiquarian books, the California Book Fair gives visitors the opportunity to see, learn about and purchase the finest in rare and valuable books, manuscripts, autographs, graphics, photographs and more. Where: The 50th California International Antiquarian Book Fair Oakland Marriott City Center 1001 Broadway Oakland, California When: Friday, February 10 (3pm to 8pm) Saturday, February 11 (11am to 7pm) Sunday, February 12 (11am to 5pm) Largest Book Fair on the West Coast Featuring the collections and rare treasures of 200 booksellers from the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America and the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers,... [more]

At a time when some brick and mortar antiquarian bookstores are closing their doors in favor of an internet-only presence, Matthew and Adrienne Raptis, of Raptis Rare Books, have gone against the grain and recently opened a rare bookstore on Worth Avenue in Palm Beach. Worth Avenue, like Madison Avenue or Rodeo Drive, is synonymous with luxury brands and caters to an island that is home to the rich and famous, including the new President-elect, Donald Trump. Raptis Rare Books had previously operated mainly as a catalog and online business out of a beautiful Italianate villa in Vermont, but Matthew Raptis wanted to have more interaction with his customers and allow people to come into greater contact with “these wonderful written works of art.” The new gallery opened on November 1, but the grand-opening is being held until January 2017... [more]


New Members: Fall 2016

By Rich Rennicks

The ABAA has recently approved several new members, all of whom have successfully proven themselves to be, in the words of the ABAA Guarantee, "established, knowledgeable, and of excellent reputation." These new members were sponsored by existing members, and have undergone a rigorous screening process. We welcome the newest members of the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America. Full Members: Kim Herrick, The Book Lair Kim Herrick got her start in the book trade by buying a large collection from an estate sale and then going to the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar to figure out what to do with it. Luckily, this turned into a passion for a new career and Kim went on to attend the Rare Book School several times and many trade shows with her new business, The Book Lair. A graduate of UC Berkeley, Kim has kept her roots in the Bay A... [more]

Denver has its very own "Booksellers' Row" after the relocation of two ABAA members, Anderson Butler Rare Books and Gallagher Books. Anderson Butler Rare Books has opened and Gallagher Books has re-opened after moving seven doors South of their previous location. Anderson Butler Rare Books relocated to Denver from Seattle a year ago and have just rented the storefront at 1460 South Broadway. Mark Anderson has been in the antiquarian book business since 2001. Mark's wife, Nora Butler Anderson, joined him in the business in 2008. The original store opened on the second-floor of a Seattle building in 2010. Now in its new street-level incarnation on Antique Row, Anderson Butler Rare Books specializes in antiquarian, collectible and eclectic books, manuscripts, art and ephemera across many fields including Americana, Literature, Travel and Phi... [more]

I've been reading a fascinating book about how humans have exchanged news and views through the centuries, and the changes printing made possible. In Writing on the Wall: Social Media The First 2,000 Years, Tom Standage, the digital editor of The Economist, traces the history of social media through the last 2000 years, highlighting how the last 150 years of broadcast media are in fact an anomaly in human communication. Yes, social media has been around for 2000 years, not a little over a decade as I thought. Far from being the brave new world that Facebook et al. like to claim, online “social media” is, in Standage's view, simply a return to an older style of communication, a style for which humans may be hardwired. Serious book collectors and students of printed history may be the only ones not surprised by this claim, as Standage d... [more]

ABAA member Kenneth Karmiole has donated $100,000 to the Book Club of California to endow an annual lecture series entitled “The Kenneth Karmiole Endowed Lecture on the History of the Book Trade in California and the West.” The lecture series will focus on the book trade — printing, publishing, and bookselling — over the past two centuries. Planning for the inaugural lecture (tentatively planned for the final quarter of 2017) is under way, and details will be announced next year. Kenneth Karmiole is a philantrophist and antiquaraian bookseller. He has been a member of the Book Club of California since 1976 and is currently serving on its board of directors. The Book Club of California said, “Mr. Karmiole's leadership and vision are inspiring. His initiative, and in particular his generous endowment — the first of its kind for ... [more]


Rare Books News

By Rich Rennicks

The focus around the office and blog has been the Boston Antiquarian Book Fair for the past few weeks. Now that the fair is over, here's a roundup of the big stories book collectors are talking about. Shakespeare Canon Expands, and Co-Authors Named -- The biggest news in some time comes from the editors of the New Oxford Shakespeare, who have concluded that up to 17 of "Shakespeare's" plays were written collaboratively, and have named Christopher Marlowe and Thomas Kidd as official co-authors of several plays! Not only that, but the "Shakespeare" canon has been expanded to include several additional plays, including the previously anonymous Arden of Faversham and The Spanish Tragedy, now thought to have been a collaboration between Thomas Kidd and Shakespeare. Read more... Thomas Beckett's Personal Book of Psalms Found -- Do we need to ad... [more]


Collecting Harry Potter

By Rich Rennicks

A lot of people collect J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books. In fact, the major book collectors of tomorrow will likely bond over their memories of midnight-release parties and argue the merits of Mary GrandPré versus Thomas Taylor's cover illustrations. My own book shelves host two complete sets, one American (hardcover) and one British (paperback), and one set-in-progress (the illustrated editions). My children are lobbying for the addition of a set of the new American paperbacks, illustrated by Kazu Kibuishi, because the spines of each form an image of Hogwarts Castle when displayed in sequence (known as a "linked-spine binding"). Naturally, the hardcovers are no longer in great shape, having been read by every family member multiple times, but replacing them with pristine copies is stangely unappealing. It's in-part their hard-earned ... [more]