Bookselling

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Carnegie Library Theft

By Susan Benne

In an effort to assist in the recovery of materials missing as a result of the Carnegie Library theft, the ABAA would like to bring to the public's attention the list of items believed stolen. Click this link to view the list. Update 8/20/18: The following list includes more details. Should any member of the public identify having purchased or otherwise having knowledge of the disposition or current location of any items from the Carnegie Library—whether on this list or not—please contact one of the following detectives from Allegheny County District Attorney's Office: · Det. Fran Laquatra (412) 388-5305 flaquatra@alleghenycountyda.us · Det. Perann Tansmore (412) 388-5307 ptansmore@alleghenycountyda.us ` · Det. Lyle Graber (412) 388-5316 lgraber@alleghenycountyda.us Please note, the detectives do not have reason to believe that anyone who may have purchased any of these items was necessarily aware that the material had been reported stolen. The ABAA appreciates your attention and assistance with respect to this grave matter. Please check our post from March for further details, including additional information on collection markings. Sincerely, Vic Zoschak President, ABAA Brad Johnson Chair, ABAA Security Committee Susan Benne Executive Director, ABAA [more]

The Northern & Southern California Chapters of the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America would like to announce The California Young Book-Collector's Prize. UPDATE: Deadline extended until December 15. Submissions should be sent as a .pdf file to Ben Kinmont, Chair of the Northern California Chapter of the ABAA, at bkinmont@gmail.com. Most great collectors started when they were young, and most great collections started with a passion for a particular object or subject. When these objects are books and manuscripts, the collectors are called bibliophiles, or lovers of the book. Curiously, the love of books continues unabated today, despite their increasing rarity and the rapid growth of digital media. Some might even argue that the printed page has taken on a new meaning and cultural resonance in our era of computers and electronic texts. In recognition of the next generation of bibliophiles, we have created The California Young Book-Collector's Prize. The competition is open to collectors aged 35 and under who are living in California. All collections of books, manuscripts, and ephemera are welcome, no matter their monetary value or subject. The collections will be judged on their thoroughness, the approach to their subject, and the seriousness which with the collector has catalogued his or her material. The winner of the competition will be awarded: 1. A gift certificate of $500 to spend at the 2019 California International Antiquarian Book Fair 2. An exhibition of... [more]

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Books of the Week

By Rich Rennicks

A couple of literary first editions caught to eye this week, along with an original WWII propaganda poster, and an entertaining and very honest description of a first edition Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. THE COLOSSUS AND OTHER POEMS by Sylvia Plath New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1962. First edition. Hardcover. Fine/Fine. 84 p. First American Edition. With this startling, exhilarating book of poems, Sylvia Plath (1932-63) burst into literature with spectacular force. In such classics as "The Beekeeper's Daughter," "The Disquieting Muses," "I Want, I Want," and "Full Fathom Five," she writes about sows and skeletons, fathers and suicides, about the noisy imperatives of life and the chilly hunger for death. This copy belonged to Anne Wilder, the confidant and lover of poet Anne Sexton, with Wilder's signature to the front flyleaf. The two engaged in a passionate affair and a prolific correspondence (Wilder is identified as "Anne Clarke" in Anne Sexton: A Self-Portrait in Letters), which reveals much about Sexton's work and her psychological struggles during the mid- to late 1960s. Like Plath, with whom she shared a brief but intense friendship while attending Robert Lowell's graduate writing seminar at Boston University, Sexton was among the finest confessional poets of her generation. The two remained inextricably linked by their work, which explores the darker, feminine aspects of the American experience, and by the nature of their untimely deaths. Octavo. Or... [more]

Many booksellers have insurance policies that protect against loss, damage, and even liability, but what can you do to protect against crime? We asked experts from Risk Strategies and Michals Insurance to give us the low-down. In the case of credit card or check fraud, certain policies can cover loss. Kierstin Johnson of Risk Strategies says that certain Fine Art and Rare Book policies will treat the incident as a theft if the dealer ships the item out prior to the transaction going through, and then cannot collect the money. In essence, the dealer is out the book and the money and a “theft” claim could be filed with the insurance company, as the book has essentially been stolen. However, different insurance carriers take a different view. It is important for booksellers to review the exclusions in their policies. Look for the word “conversion” or “voluntary parting.” If these are present, the insurer might not cover the claim as it considers this loss caused by voluntary parting with the property because of any fraudulent scheme, trick, or false pretense. Especially when dealing with older material, even the most diligent and scholarly booksellers can find themselves in possession of material that does not have clear title. Brad Michals of Michals Insurance cites art theft as a $6 billion-a-year industry and questions of ownership can make sellers susceptible to loss. To mitigate risk, insurers recommend purchasing Title Insurance. This requires a one-time premiu... [more]

ABAA members list new items on abaa.org almost every day, and publish catalogs and E-lists of new acquisitions almost weekly. Among the items that caught the eye this week, are first editions of Armistead Maupin's classic Tales of the City, A.A. Milne's Now We are Six, and Yoko Ono's Grapefruit, along with anti-fascist paper art, Nikola Tesla's John Hancock, and a first edition of John Gould's multi-volume magnum opus The Birds of Europe. Tales of the City First Edition Paperback by Armistead Maupin (Cover map by Phil Frank) New York: Harper Colophon Books, 1978. Paperback. 240p., 7.5x9.25 inches, lightly-worn first edition stated, number line ends in "1" trade paperback original in pictorial map covers with a key to locations of the story. Originally published serially by the San Francisco Chronicle. Made into a TV miniseries and being rebooted as we speak! Offered by Bolerium Books. Metamorphic Puzzle - Hitler the Fifth Pig A 6" x 8 ¾" folding paper puzzle when open flat depicts 4 different pigs. The caption at center reads To find a fifth one fold as indicated. When folded the "business end" of the pigs creates Adolph Hilter's face. Reverse is blank. Offered by Eclectibles. Found in Eclectibles' new catalog "E-list No. 49" (item #11). This item is not listed on abaa.org. The Birds of Europe (5 Volumes; Folio) by GOULD, JOHN (1804-1881) London: printed by Richard and John E. Taylor, published by the Author, 1837. 5 volumes, folio. (21 1/4 x 14 1/4 inches). 2pp. list of sub... [more]

This morning, the ABAA leadership learned that Greg Priore, former Carnegie Library Archivist, and former ABAA member John Schulman of Caliban Books, have been charged with theft from the library. This is a truly regrettable situation for the larger book community, and one in which the Association shares the public's dismay that such a theft took place. At this point in time, to comment further would be premature, as we support the legal process currently being pursued and will await its outcome. During this period we will continue to closely monitor the developments concerning this serious matter. Sincerely, Vic Zoschak President, ABAA [more]

On March 11th, the ABAA Women's Initiative hosted a panel discussion on Collecting and Women during the New York Antiquarian Book Fair at the Park Avenue Armory. Elizabeth Denlinger, Sarah Gordon, and Molly Schwartzburg discussed topics relating to representations of women in collections, women as collectors, and women-focused institutions as Nina Musinsky moderated. More than 100 men and women booksellers, librarians, and enthusiasts attended. If you missed it, we have a recording below. Since 2016, we have held networking receptions for women in conjunction with book fairs, and honored Carol Sandberg — a longtime bookseller who has championed women in the trade. This panel is our first foray into programming and we are thrilled to have so many of you here. Please do leave your business cards or add your name to our mailing list so we can keep you informed about events and ideas. We would like to thank and acknowledge the people who have worked on this project: Claudia Strauss-Schulson — the Initiative's chairwoman — Heather O'Donnell, Rebecca Romney, Kim Schwenk, Kait Manning, Cokie Anderson, Susan Hirsch, Laurelle Swan, Joyce Kosofsky, and Mary Gilliam. We would also like to thank Jennifer Johnson and Sunday Steinkirchener for their help in organizing events. We also want to recognize the many people who have shared their stories, put forth ideas, and voiced support publically and privately for this important work. Subscribe below to receive alerts and information ab... [more]

You've no doubt heard the great news that Assembly Bill 228 has been introduced by California State Assembly Members Gloria and Chiu. If passed, this bill will provide significant relief from the most troubling and onerous provisions of AB 1570, California's new autograph law. The ABAA, IOBA, PBA Galleries, and The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, The Manuscript Society, The Ephemera Society, The Professional Autograph Dealers Association, Horror Writers Association, The Grolier Club, Biblio and The Easton Press have formally expressed support for this pending legislation in the linked letters. The legislative process is long and complicated. Bills pass through policy committees in each house of the legislature and the process takes many months. What this bill needs to help ensure that it becomes law is your support. We encourage members and interested parties to write a letter of support for AB 228 addressed to the bill's primary author: Assemblymember Todd Gloria P.O. Box 942849 Sacramento, CA 94249-0078 You can also add your name and comments to the change.org petition. We'll keep you updated on progress here. [more]

Bookseller Ed Smith (Ed Smith Books) interviewed Kurt Brokaw, a professor and film critic, who likes to moonlight as a rare bookseller (specializing in noir paperback originals) on the streets of Manhattan. I got to know Kurt Brokaw through a mutual friend. When I was in Manhattan for a movie memorabilia auction at Bonham's that I'd partly consigned, I stopped at his weekend table of 1940s paperbacks and earlier pulp magazines. He often sets up outside Zabars at 80th & Broadway, or further down Broadway in Lincoln Center. He's the only bookman doing high end vintage paper on the street that I've ever met, and he explains an actual New York City book law from the 1890s that gives him the legal right to vend written matter on NYC sidewalks without a license. This 6-minute spontaneous and unrehearsed interview should be of interest to collectors. (Photo by Lynda Bullock/Flickr via cc license) [more]

The fourth installment of Kaitlin Manning's series on taking better pictures of rare books and ephemera. No matter what kind of camera you use, there are a few basic practices you can apply before you start shooting to improve the look and quality of your images (and to avoid fixing time consuming mistakes later on). While it is true that editing programs like Lightroom, Photoshop, and Gimp can work wonders and correct a myriad of errors, you will want to spend as little time as possible in these programs, especially if you are dealing with hundreds of photos at a time. Starting with good quality images from the beginning will eliminate the need for major edits -- and this begins before you even click the shutter. Make sure you have enough light. I've covered the basics of putting together a home studio in a previous post, but let me reiterate the need for good, diffuse light now. If your photos continuously look dull or underexposed, consider adding more light to the scene, but always make sure that it is properly diffused (i.e. there needs to be something translucent between the light and the object). Bare bulbs look harsh, create shadows, increase glare, and can either wash out or obscure details. Invest in a tripod. This was also mentioned briefly in a previous post, but let me elaborate a bit here: if you don't have the steadiest of hands and/or you routinely shoot manually in low speeds (generally less than 1/60 of a second) a tripod is a must. Camera shake can make you... [more]