Blog Posts tagged "rare books"



Weekly Highlights

By Rich Rennicks

Our members list new acquisitions and recently cataloged items almost every day of the year. Below, you'll find a few highlights from these recent additions... Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace Boston: Little, Brown & Co, 1996. Special Galleys, First Edition. Paperback. Fine. SIGNED (WITH DRAWING), ADVANCE "SPECIAL GALLEYS" OF THE FIRST EDITION OF THE MOST IMPORTANT WORK BY FOSTER WALLACE. Lis... [more]

Fall 2024 ABAA Diversity Initiative Discovery Program Program Overview The ABAA Diversity Initiative is proud to announce the first season of a guided discovery program for those historically underrepresented among workers in the trade—black, indigenous, people of color, and the LGBTQ+ community. Designed to co-occur with annual ABAA book fairs, the program offers an introduction to antiquarian ... [more]

How does one shop an ABAA Virtual Book Fair? Our Virtual Book Fairs combine the convenience of online commerce with the community of in-person book fairs. Just like at an physical book fair, you will be able to: browse the inventory of many exhibitors, but now with the advantage of only having to check out once no matter how many exhibitors you purchase from! speak with the exhibitors in real time... [more]

Join us for an in-person Bibliography Week Showcase at the French Institute: Alliance Française, Monday, January 22, 2024. Opening Hours: 10:30am-4pm The Showcase features 30 dealers displaying printed and manuscript material from the Middle Ages to the present day. Admission is free! Browse exhibiting dealers here… Location: French Institute: Alliance Française 60th Street between Park and Ma... [more]


2023 NCBCC Winners

By Rich Rennicks

The Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America (ABAA) is delighted to announce the winners of the 2023 National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest: First Prize Ishaan Prasad (Harvard College) for "Confessions of a Former Sheep Thief: Ten Years of Exploration in Typography". Prasad first became interested in typography while designing arcade-style games for the iPhone, which led to a desire to... [more]

One thing that distinguishes the book collector from the casual reader is a preference for owning first editions. What is a First Edition? A first edition is the format a book took when it was first made available for sale. The ABAA glossary of book terms states: First Edition: “All of the copies printed from the first setting of type; can include multiple printings if all are from the same sett... [more]

What's better: a simple author signature, or an inscription? As a longtime bookseller -- a veteran of Borders, Waldenbooks, and independent bookstores -- I thought I knew the answer. But, once I began working for antiquarian booksellers, I discovered the question is much more complex. A comment on the ABAA Facebook page recently asked why some booksellers appear to prefer plain signed books, rathe... [more]


Jacketed Three-Deckers

By Mark Godburn

I would like to record any three-deckers with surviving dust-jackets. I have one, and have heard of another, but there probably aren't many more than that. Three-Decker under Canvas. Three-Decker under Paper. A Thomas Hardy three-decker of unknown title is reported to retain remnants of jackets printed with rules and lettering. Does anyone know what title this is, and where it is today? My own thr... [more]

One phrase you might hear at a rare-book fair is mapbacks. No, that's not some sort of tattoo favored by rare map dealers; a "mapback" is the informal name for a series of pulp paperback books published by Dell between 1943 and 1950. Initially, the back cover of these books featured bland art, but starting with the fifth book in the series, Four Frightened Women by George Harmon Coxe, Dell added a... [more]

Wouldn't you like to automate the process of searching our members' listings for the books or other items you desire? Well, you can easily let us do the searching for you! WANT LISTS Customers can set up “Want Lists” — saved searches for the books or items you are actively hunting for — which alert you (by email) anytime a new copy is listed or an existing listing changes substantially (ne... [more]

Robert Jordan was the best-selling author of The Wheel of Time fantasy series, and (because I need to get my utter impartiality out of the way at the start) one of my favorite authors. I've collected his books for the past 25 years. If you're unfamiliar with The Wheel of Time, think of it as a 14-volume The Lord of the Rings set at a future point in Earth's history when society has regressed techn... [more]


2021 NCBCC Winners

By Rich Rennicks

The ABAA is proud to announce the winners of the 2021 National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest. First: Jessica Camille Jordan (Stanford University) for "Six Decades of Leo and Diane Dillon." Second: Read W. Brown (New York University) for "The Serious Business of Fun: A Collection of Books on the Video Game Industry." Third: Shannon D. Bohle (Johns Hopkins) for "Life through Space and Time: A P... [more]


Behind The Queen's Gambit

By Rich Rennicks

Rare books and ephemera can be a fascinating avenue to examine the past and understand what was really happening during significant events or time periods. We took a deep dive into the database to see what light our members offerings could shine on America's new favorite drama... The Queen's Gambit Netflix's #1 new show is the coming-of-age story of a female chess prodigy struggling with addiction... [more]

Every so often an ABAA member lists an item that gets people in the business talking, regardless of whether it fits with their own particular interests or specialities. One of those items is this exceptional letter from Jack Kerouac to a young boy tasked with writing to a published author for a school project. The response is generous, eloquent, and expansive, offering more of a window into the au... [more]


New ABAA Members

By Rich Rennicks

Welcome the latest members of the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America! Full Membership Charles Bolick, AIGLATSON Charles Bolick has lived and worked in New England for over 50 years, but grew up in North Carolina and attended public schools there, graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1962. He served as an officer in the United States Navy for three years, ... [more]

The first ABAA Virtual Book Fair starts at 10am (EDT) on Thursday, June 4. Here are some preview items drawn from the rare books and print ephemera you'll find when the virtual doors open. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain London, Chatto & Windus, 1876. First English Edition, which preceded the American edition by six months. Bound in red cloth lettered and decorated in black and gilt. Ho... [more]


New Members

By Rich Rennicks

Meet the latest members of the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America. Full Membership Daniel R. Danbom, Danbom & Son Books (Denver, CO) Dan Danbom is owner of Danbom &; Son Books, which deals primarily in modern first editions in Denver, Colorado. Before entering the book business, he was in journalism and corporate communication.. For many years, he was a humor columnist for several ind... [more]


Rare Book News

By Rich Rennicks

A quick roundup of the news about rare books and collectors from around the world. (Regularly updated, with the latest news items added at the top.) Biography of Texas Bookman Johnny Jenkins Michael Vinson's biography of legendary Texas bookman Johnny Jenkins, Bluffing Texas Style: The Arsons, Forgeries, and High-Stakes Poker Capers of Rare Book Dealer Johnny Jenkins, will be published by the Univ... [more]

ABAA-member John Crichton of San Francisco's Brick Row Book Shop has loaned the oldest-known Christmas card to the Charles Dickens Museum in London for inclusion in their current exhibition “Beautiful Books: Dickens and the Business of Christmas.” The card, illustrated by John Calcott Horsley and designed and commissioned by Sir Henry Cole, was printed and mailed in 1843, making it the oldest ... [more]

Like any field of endeavor, the rare book trade has its quirks and rituals, its habits and history, its jargon and secrets. Unlike some other trades, book dealers have never been afraid to commit their secrets, memories, and insights to paper. There are many, many fascinating and educational books detailing the inner workings of the rare book trade. We polled some dealers and collectors and arrive... [more]


Boston Book Fair 2019

By Rich Rennicks

One of the oldest and most respected antiquarian book shows in the country, the 43rd Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair will be held November 15-17, 2019 at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston. Featuring the fascinating collections and rare treasures of more than 130 American and international booksellers, the event gives visitors the opportunity to see, learn about, and purchase the fi... [more]


Collecting Faith Baldwin

By Rich Rennicks

Faith Baldwin was once one of the bestselling authors in America, although she was never a lauded award-winner. Instead, Baldwin practiced what was variously called “light” or popular fiction, and today is generally called romance — usually with a touch of superiority. In her obituary, The New York Times declared her 'the doyenne of American light fiction writers.” Raised in relative wealt... [more]


Horatio Alger, Jr.

By Rich Rennicks

In his day, Horatio Alger, Jr. (1832-1899) was one of the most-famous authors in America. While his books have largely fallen out of print today, everyone is familiar with his main idea, because Horatio Alger, Jr. popularized the “pulling oneself up by the bootstraps” ideal that permeates so much of American life. It's not too much of a stretch to say that Alger gave America its great national... [more]

The ABAA is accepting entries for the 2019 National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest, once again supported by the Jay I. Kislak Foundation, the generous underwriter of prizes for this contest. The National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest is open to all prizewinners of college book-collecting contests, whether or not first prize, as well as to interested students whose institutions do not offe... [more]

The 2019 California International Antiquarian Book Fair takes place in Oakland, California February 8-10, 2019. Nearly 200 rare-book dealers from around the world will be bringing their most-outstanding items to surprise and delight book collectors. Some of the ABAA members attending preview their wares below... Harold Arlen. "The Wizard of Oz" Record Set - Inscribed by the Composer! 1939. 4-disc ... [more]


What was a Green Book?

By Rich Rennicks

In the Jim Crow era, travel was fraught with difficulty for African Americans. The growing black middle class could afford to buy cars and travel for leisure, and throughout the South, the purchase of a car was an important goal for black families as it allowed them to avoid segregated public transport. However, traveling by car to new towns and cities, African Americans did not know which restaur... [more]

Enjoy this selection of preview items that our members will be exhibiting at the upcoming 42nd annual Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair. We'll be adding items to this page all week, so check back daily for more extremely rare and beautirful items! Fantaisie-Fantasia-Fantasie-Fancy- Scenes for Ladies of Leisure to Construct c1840. A large folio with die-cut opening in cover to create a "pi... [more]


ABAA Members Expanding

By Rich Rennicks

A number of ABAA members have either opened new stores or renovated their existing premises recently. This is significant because for years, antiquarian booksellers were either retiring or converting to “closed shops,” which only sell by appointment, on the internet, and/or at rare book fairs. It's an expensive undertaking to keep a shop open to the public with regular business hours, staff, u... [more]


Boston Book Fair 2018

By Rich Rennicks

It's back! The Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair returns to the Hynes Convention Center in Boston's beautiful Back Bay for its 42nd year, November 16-18, 2018. Special events at this year's event include documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman on the making of Ex Libris: The New York Public Library; political guru Michael Goldman on 1968: The Year of the Century; Sumio Yamazaki from the K... [more]


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, exhilara... [more]

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