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Stand firm & carry on: Churchill’s 1940 instruction leaflet on surviving the German invasion

April 1940. Britain’s darkest hour as the country braced for invasion by German forces. Prime Minister Winston Churchill took the extraordinary step of printing and distributing 14 million leaflets, titled Beating the Invader, featuring instructions on what to do when German troops reached British soil. The key messages were quintessential Churchill – “Stand firm” and […]

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In Pictures: the First American Divorcee to Marry a British Royal

Meghan Markle is not the first divorced American to marry into the Royal Family. In 1936, King Edward VIII revealed that he intended to marry an American socialite and divorcee, and this sensational news rocked Britain, taking the country to the brink of a constitutional crisis. Wallis Simpson was the Baltimore-born woman at the eye […]

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It’s the Gormenghast Automata: Mervyn Peake’s characters in motion

This is the ‘Gormenghast Automata’ – the ultimate accessory for fans of British novelist and artist Mervyn Peake, who created the Gormenghast trilogy of gothic fantasy novels. Custom built by an anonymous Gormenghast-loving English craftsman from wood and metal, this brand new automated mechanical device depicts Peake’s decaying castle and some of its unusual inhabitants. […]

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Don’t miss the Amsterdam Antiquarian Book & Map Fair

Anyone who loves antique books, atlases, old maps, fine prints, manuscripts, first editions and any other versions of the written/printed word should visit the Amsterdam International Antiquarian Book & Map Fair on 30 September and 1 October. The fair has attracted a large number of prominent antiquarian dealers from the Netherlands and also Britain, the […]

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Bookseller profile – John Atkinson

John Atkinson’s bookselling business, which was launched in 2007, is located in Ripon in North Yorkshire. We were thrilled to meet John at the recent London International Antiquarian Book Fair and he has given us an insight into his work as a seller of some beautiful modern first editions. A member of the ABA and […]

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Visit the 2017 London International Antiquarian Book Fair

Save the date for the 2017 London International Antiquarian Book Fair, one of the world’s leading rare book shows. The event takes place at the Olympia exhibition centre on Thursday 1 June (1pm to 8pm), Friday 2 (11am to 7pm) and Saturday 3 (11am to 4pm). Visiting Olympia is a fantastic way to view and […]

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Before he was ‘Glam’, archive showing 18-year-old Marc Bolan goes on sale

A collection of letters, photos and poetry from 18-year-old Marc Bolan, showing the early days of his music career, has been listed for sale on AbeBooks. Bolan became one of the biggest names in 1970s Glam Rock but this archive provides an insight into his life as he prepared to release his debut single, The […]

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Did these toy building blocks inspire young Einstein’s imagination?

Albert Einstein’s much-loved childhood building blocks have been listed for sale on AbeBooks.co.uk. Housed in two wooden boxes, the set features approximately 160 pieces with some chipped from use. Did these humble toy building blocks nurture the imagination of the boy who would become the world’s greatest physicist? It’s inspiring to think that these simple […]

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Bookseller Q&A: Colophon Books, PBFA

Today’s Bookseller Q&A comes from Staffordfshire. Mike Barlow is the owner of Colophon Books, PBFA in Leek. He has been selling books since the mid-1970s, and during that time has sold to major libraries around the globe, university collections, as well as serious private collectors, and has sold 1st editions of The Hobbit, a letter […]

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Vinegar valentine cards – vintage insults for 14 February

More than 150 years ago, Victorian ‘greeting card trolls’ were using the fledgling postal system to insult people with so-called ‘Vinegar Valentine’ cards. These anonymous cards, illustrated with caricatures and snarky poetry, were a major phenomenon as the ability to communicate regardless of distance became more accessible. It appears vinegar valentines originated in the United […]

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