A LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT
This year the Nederlandsche Vereeniging van Antiquaren celebrates its 40th Anniversary. It is one of the oldest among the National Associations of Antiquarian Booksellers. One of its distinguished members is Menno Hertzberger, the 'Father of the League'. In 1960, the N.V.V.A. celebrated its 25th birthday by inviting the I.L.A.B. to hold a Congress at Scheveningen. It was the first I attended as a very young bookseller. Again in 1975, the N.V.V.A. has invited us all to Amsterdam to mark the occasion. I look forward to the 23rd Congress of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers with particular pleasure and I hope that many booksellers will come in honour of our Dutch friends.
The work of the Congress includes, as a matter of course, the election of new officers and committee members, the reception of reports, and so forth, but in addition there are important matters to discuss such as the growing problem of book thefts, a new edition of the Directory, and the tabulation of confidential information. In this more and more difficult world for individualists, for such we antiquarian booksellers doubtless are, the activities of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers are increasingly necessary both to promote and maintain the freedom of our Trade.
Dr. Frieder Kocher-Benzing
AGENDA OF THE 23RD
AMSTERDAM, SEPTEMBER 21-25, 1975
1. Nomination of scrutineers.
2. Approval of the official report of the President's meeting in Turin, September 24-25, 1974.
3. The Committee's report on the League's activities since September 1974:
a) President's report
b) Secretary's report
4. Treasurer's report.
5. Round Table Brussels.
6. Preparation of a new directory.
7. Bibliographical Prize.
8. Confidential list.
9. Security and Book thefts.
10. Revision of the rules:
The Committee proposes to cancel point 5 of the rules.
11. Proposal by the N.Y.V.A.:
That the I.L.A.B. organize an International Symposium, to take place at the next Congress (1977), to discuss and study the prospects for the future of the antiquarian book trade throughout the world.
12. Proposal by the S.B.L.A.M.:
Possibility to standardize valuation rates and adherence to rates in use in other countries in accordance with the rules of national associations.
13. Election of new Committee members:
The second term of Mr. Glen Dawson is ending this year; the first term of Mr. Hans Bagger as a member of the Committee is ending this year as well.
The Committee and Den Danske Antikvarboghandlerforening propose to select Mr. Hans Bagger as Treasurer.
The A.B.A.A. and the Committee propose to elect Mr. William Salloch as member of the Committee.
14. Future meetings.
15. Sundry matters.
Article 22 of our Rules was amended during the General Assembly held in Tokyo on September 23, 1973. We are reprinting the correct, new version below. Please adjust your personal copy:
The Committee consists of seven members: President, Vice-President, Treasurer and four members, each chosen from a different country. The members have as their task to assist the President and the Vice-President in the administration of the League.
MINUTES OF A COMMITTEE
held in Paris, February 13, 1975
Present: Dr Frieder Kocher-Benzing (President)
Stanley Crowe (Vice-President)
Bob de Graaf
Pierre Petitot (Committee Members)
And: Messrs Georges Deny, Einar Gronholt
Pedersen, Fernand De Nobele and Fl. Tulkens (Presidents of Honour)
Interpreter: Mr Edgar Franco.
Apologies for absence were received from: Messrs Glen Dawson, Menno Hertzberger & Dudley Massey.
The meeting was opened by the President at 2.10 p.m. He welcomed those present, in particular the new member of the Committee, Mr. Pierre Petitot. He then proceeded with the Agenda.
1. Approval of the Minutes of Committee Meetings held in Turin, September 24-25,1974: These minutes were approved unanimously.
Mr De Nobele criticized the quality of the French text. The acting Secretary explained that both the English & the French texts were read & corrected by Mr Franco. It was agreed that in future, the English version would be corrected by Mr Crowe, who would send it either to Mr Petitot or Mr Tulkens who would then prepare a French translation.
2. The Commitee's Report on the League's activities since September 1974:
(a) President's Report: This Report was mainly concerned with routine matters. The President stated that as an ex officio member of the Societe Internationale des Bibliophiles, he had attended a meeting of that society in Oxford, in December last. Mr Jules Cain having passed away, Mr Frederick Adams was elected President in his place. The Societe's next Congress will take place in Geneva & Zurich from September 29 - October 5, 1975. Referring to the changed dates of our own forthcoming Congress & Book Fair in Amsterdam, the President remarked that it demonstrated the need for better co-ordination.
(b) Secretary's Report: The Secretary presented his Report which also largely related to normal affairs. Newsletter No 25 had just been sent to the national associations. It seemed probable that it would again be self supporting.
Newsletter No 26 will appear shortly before the Congress in Amsterdam, in September. The acting Secretary proposed to print about 200 additional copies for distribution to delegates at the Congress as Newsletter No 26 would contain the complete Agenda for the General Assembly.
Following the Acting Secretary's Report, Mr Jean-Jacques Magis joined the Meeting, & the President proceeded to item No 11 of the Agenda.
11. Security & Book Thefts: Mr Magis informed the Committee that he had been elected to preside as Chairman, at the Meeting of Security Representatives held the same morning, when delegates from 8 national associations were present. He said that their discussions had related to many aspects of book stealing & security. This was the first meeting of this kind & it had afforded a useful opportunity for the fruitful exchange of ideas & opinions. Mr Magis enumerated problems such as differing national security measures, the application of criteria, the need for quick action & the international transmission of information, the desirability of uniformity in practice, the matter of expense, etc. He suggested that the responsibility & cost of keeping an international register of stolen books might eventually have to be considered by the League. The Security Delegates agreed to meet again in Amsterdam, in September, during the Congress.
The acting Secretary was concerned that the League might be involved in expenditure beyond its means.
Mr Deny mentioned difficulties in co-operating with national police & with Interpol in matters of this kind.
Mr Crowe eschewed a type of form in use with the A.B.A., & suggested that progress could be made by circulating a questionnaire to the national associations.
Mr Magis agreed to prepare a report on the matters discussed by the Security Committee.
After being thanked by the President, Mr Magis left the Meeting.
3. Treasurer's Report: The Treasurer had prepared a financial statement covering 1974, of the assets & disbursements of the U.S.A. accounts. The acting Secretary had done the same for the various Dutch accounts (see separate reports appended). The acting Secretary in the Treasurer's absence, presented brief summaries of both reports, & in conclusion, stated that the League's finances appeared in good order.
Mr Deny drew attention to the considerable expense which will be occasioned by the' Triennial Prize for Bibliography.
Mr De Nobele urged that the legal domicile of the League should be changed from Geneva, Switzerland, to Stuttgart, in Germany.
The President agreed to investigate this.
Mr Bagger proposed a small increase in dues & subscriptions to counter continued inflation.
Both reports were approved.
4. Round Table, Brussels: Nothing further to report. The next meeting of the Round Table will be in January or February, 1976.
5. Preparation of a new Directory: There being only 30 copies now left, the President urged that preparation for a new edition of the Directory should commence as soon as possible. The problem of finding someone to undertake the work was discussed. Among the officers & committee there was no one able to take on this onerous task & the matter was left open.
6. Bibliography Prize: Mr Deny stated that the period for sending books for review by the Jury closed on December 31, 1974. Seventeen works had been received including some of notable interest. The Jury will be convened sometime in April, 1975.
7. Confidential List: The President drew attention to his suggestions made in Turin. It is hoped to make positive proposals concerning this in September, in Amsterdam. Mr Petitot & Mr De Nobele had agreed to collaborate & draw up a report.
8. Revised Rules: The necessity of reprinting the Rules was discussed & also the need of partial revision. Mr De Nobele stated that it was possible that he might have a number of copies & promised to investigate this. It was agreed to publish the corrected version of Rule 22 in Newsletter No 26. Off-prints could be taken & used to amend any remaining copies of the Rules.
9. Preparation of the Agenda for the General Assembly, 1975, including elections: Mr Crowe proposed & the Committee agreed that the Agenda for this Meeting be used as a suitable basis. Note was taken that, in September, the office of Treasurer will fall vacant when Mr Glen Dawson completes his second term, & that Mr Hans Bagger, on completion of his first term as a committee member, would be eligible for re-election to this or other office. Note was taken that the A.B.A.A. had indicated that they may wish to make a nomination in this respect.
10. Future Meetings: In a letter dated October 28, 1974, the Syndicat Belge de la Librairie ancienne & moderne had generously invited the Presidents to conduct their Meeting in 1976, in Brussels. This had been provisionally accepted with thanks. A similar invitation for the same event had later been received from the A.B.A.A. This was greatly appreciated it is hoped that this invitation will be extended for another occasion.
In 1977, the Verband Deutscher Antiquare will organise a Congress in Frankfort.
Mr Bagger announced that the Danske Antikvarboghandlerforening would be pleased to invite the Presidents to meet in Copenhagen, in 1978.
In 1979, the Syndicat de la Librairie ancienne et du Commerce de I'Estampe en Suisse will organise a Congress in Switzerland.
Mr Mitsuo Nitta mentioned that the A.B.AJ. would be willing to extend an invitation for the President's Meeting in 1980 to take place in Kyoto.
12. Sundry matters: The President drew attention to the varying practices followed by different postal authorities in respect of printed matter, registered or otherwise. It was agreed that this should be kept under review.
There being no further business, the President closed the meeting at 6.35 p.m.
Bob de Graaf,
(English text revised by Mr. Stanley Crowe).
MINUTES OF THE MEETING
OF SECURITY OFFICERS:
PARIS, FEBRUARY 13,1975
Present: Mr. Stanley Crowe , Vice-President of the I.L.A.B.,
Mr. JeanJacques Magis, President of S.L.AM.,
Mrs. Diana Parikian (Great Britain),
Messrs. Jacques Van Der Heyde (Belgium), Hans Bagger (Denmark), Wemer Taeuber (Austria), Wemer Fritsch (Germany), Jorg Schafer (Switzerland), R. Schierenberg (Netherlands), Francois Chamonal and Andre Jammes (France).
The President of S.L.A.M., Mr. Jean-Jacques Magis, welcomed the delegates and said that the results of the Meeting would indicate in some measure the role that the I.L.A.B. would play.
The President of the League, Dr. F. Kocher-Benzing, thanked Mr. Magis and the French Association for their hospitality and wished the meeting success.
Mr. Francois Chamonal (France) proposed Mr. Magis as Chairman of the Meeting which was agreed unanimously.
The Chairman then opened the Meeting and asked Mr. Van Der Heyde if he would act as Secretary, to which he agreed.
Before commencing the Agenda, the British delegate asked if our Meeting could reach conclusions to take immediate effect. Mr. Stanley Crowe pointed out that No. 2 on the Agenda concerned action to be taken immediately whilst No. 3 related to action in the longer term.
The Chairman proposed as a basis for the discussion:
1. The Report presented by Mr. Stanley Crowe to the Congress in Tokyo in 1973.
2. The Memorandum of the Netherlands Association presented by Mr. Benjamins at the Presidents' Meeting in Turin, 1974.
Mr. Stanley Crowe's Report
Point 1.: Which are the countries with an established security system? Reply by the delegates: all the countries represented at the Meeting had a security system more of less workable.
A practical question arises: is it necessary to inform traders (antique, second-hand goods dealers, etc.) not members of the national association?
The general answer was: there is a danger in informing such dealers individually but it could be worth while to inform the Associations to which such dealers might belong. Mrs. Parikian stated that the British police were not in favour of informing everybody as it is possible for the thief to be among those warned.
The Chairman proposed that this point should be raised again later.
Point 2.: That all countries should send a delegate.
This has been achieved, certainly for those countries represented at this meeting.
The Belgian delegate hoped that all European countries may develop a security system so that there may not be a gap in the method of international warning.
Point 3.: Methods of circulation of information. The Chairman, supported by Mr. Stanley Crowe, urged the necessity of the rapid transmission of information concerning thefts.
Three European countries have a Telex available:
- Great Britain: Bernard Quaritch Ltd.
- France: Maison Europeriodiques
- Netherlands: Antiquariaat Junk
A notice will be sent to the Committees of all the National Associations informing them of the Telex numbers.
Mr. Fritsch hoped that it would be possible to establish a uniform system for passing information, and asked if it might be possible to reach an understanding with firms possessing Telex outside the Book Trade.
Mr. Schafer suggested that the security delegate might be a member of the executive of the National Association.
Mrs. Parikian urged that countries not represented should be encouraged to take security measures.
Mr. Stanley Crowe replied that the League would urge them to do so.
Mr. Van Der Heyde proposed that information should be sent to Associations even though they were not represented.
Point 4.:To take into account the value of stolen books to ensure the rapid passing of information.
The Chairman stated that even a book of small value could lead to the tracing of a thief.
The British delegate stated that in her Association the circulation was limited to books having a minimum value of £ 50.
In regard to this, Mr. Magis remarked that booksellers who have been the victims of thefts of small value have as much right to have their books included in a list of stolen books as those victims of important thefts, for they all subscribed and should benefit equally. The purpose is the catching of thieves and every thief taken means fewer thefts.
Point 5.: The circulation of lists of stolen books.
Mr.Chamonal urged the need for the identification of stolen books (library stamp or label, book plate, any marks whatsoever, etc.).
Mrs. Parikian stated that in their records of stolen books, the most important column was the one devoted to identification.
All the delegates were in agreement on the need to request from booksellers and librarians the fullest information regarding the identification of stolen books.
The British delegate handed round copies of their latest list of stolen books.
Mr. Schierenberg said that the lists seemed too long. The Chairman remarked that this only demonstrated the importance of the subject, and was in favour of the method of grouping stolen books "by theft" in order to facilitate identification, rather than in alphabetical order. The British delegate replied that for ease in reading, lists sent out were arranged alphabetically but that the Association kept an Index arranged "by theft".
Point 6.: Central Register.
The Chairman asked if a Central Register is kept in Great Britain. Mrs. Parikian replied that her Association did its best to include lists of stolen books sent by other Associations, and proposed that a Central Register should be kept by the League with someone specially appointed to look after it. Mr. Crowe said that this would be an ideal solution and said he would lay the proposal before the League.
All the delegates hoped that it might be possible to establish a Central Register under the auspices of the League.
Mr. Fritsch suggested information sent from National Associations should be of uniform lay-out to facilitate the making of "off-set" lists.
Mr. Schierenberg stated that al this was a matter of money since the transmission of information is expensive.
Mr. Stanley Crowe wondered what the actual cost might be.
The Chairman now turned to the Netherlands Memorandum:
For whom is action to be taken?
For everyone, the costs to be met by the victim of the theft or the Association reporting the theft.
Mr. Stanley Crowe stated that the costs are met by the British Association as an insurance for the protection of its members. Mr. Van Der Heyde was of the opinion that the costs should be borne by the bookseller robbed. The latter would be encouraged to describe the stolen book in detail (long lists without particulars for identification would be avoided) and suggested that a rate per book be established for the circulation of information. Small countries could not undertake the expense of a permanent secretariat.
Mr. Schafer expressed his support for this proposal and said it would change the idea of a minimum value; members would then decide themselves what should be circulated.
Mr. Bagger said that it is necessary to protect booksellers against buying stolen books, and a tariff could restrict the notification of certain books. Mr. Schierenberg said that it was impossible to estimate both the amount of time and work and Mr. Fritsch tells us that in Germany there is an arrangement with libraries in respect of costs, and sometimes with private persons if the latter are insured, and we understand also that the German Association circulates information regarding thefts from libraries, from private persons, in Fairs, but not from booksellers. In regard to this, Mr. Magis said that we are speaking of different things, France, for example, transmits mainly information of thefts from booksellers, and asked each delegate what was the practice followed in their own countries. The replies were as follows:
Belgium: Booksellers and libraries, not private persons.
Denmark: Not often, but from any source.
Austria: Booksellers only.
Switzerland: Four libraries send their information direct to booksellers.
Netherlands: Booksellers mainly but also others.
Great Britain: From any source; including books stolen from auctioneers.
Mrs. Parikian said they received a good deal of information from libraries because there had been a joint meeting with the booksellers at the suggestion of the A.B.A. With libraries the date of a theft is often very vague.
Courses of action: The circulation of lists, telephone chain, Telex, advertisements, etc. These have already been considered during the discussion on Mr. Stanley Crowe's report.
To whom should information be sent?
Members of the National Associations (Netherlands)
That is to say to anybody who could be in contact with the thief.
Mr. Magis opposed the sending of lists to booksellers non-members and to private persons.
Mr. Schiereriberg said there was a question of priority: members of the Associations or others? The most important thing was to recover the books.
Mrs. Parikian said the A.B.A. had discussed this problem with Scotland Yard (Special Department for antiques and works of art) who advised against warning private persons as the thief might be one of them.
Mr. Van Der Heyde drew attention to the fact that books stolen from the Royal Library in Denmark were bought by a bookseller non-member.
Mr. Fritsch asked what the attitude was of the police in different countries regarding our lists; at Munich, he said, the police are not in favour of the circulation of such lists.
It would seem that the situation varies in each country (see Point 1. of the discussion on Mr. Stanley Crowe's report).
The Circulation of lists received.
- Insufficient information refused
- Should we require that the police have been informed?
Mr. Magis was of the opinion that the bookseller who has been robbed should decide whether or not the police should be informed.
In regard to the last comment, Mrs. Parikian proposed that the rapport between bookseller and police should be left to the discretion of each Association.
Mr. Crowe and Mr. Schierenberg supported this, and all delegates concurred. This Committee of Thefts or Security (Netherlands) is composed of three members, one a member of the Executive. The treasurer is responsible for all expenses incurred.
Mr. Jammes expressed French viewpoints: he would like to see following the example of Germany, the French libraries participate in the circulation of information regarding stolen books, possibly with a financial contribution. He advised booksellers to insert a secret mark in their books, particularly in those accessible to a possible thief.
The French delegate urged the necessity of warning colleagues in each country to be suspicious of offers coming regularly from certain non-professional persons; this is a possible way for the disposal of stolen books. He also suggested that the Central Register should be confidential as it could be subject to error.
It was agreed to meet again during the coming Congress of the I.L.A.B. in Amsterdam.
Mr. Stanley Crowe was glad that this Meeting had possibly provided the first positive step towards the establishment of an International organisation to combat efficaciously the disease of book stealing. On behalf of the League and of the delegates present, he thanked Mr. President Magis for his warm welcome.
The Meeting closed at 12.45.
From this first Meeting concerned with protection against book thieves, it has been possible to conclude that up till now, the thefts notified in the lists circulated, have varying origins according to different countries; thefts from booksellers, private persons, librarians or museums. Lists should only be circulated to members of an Association, in order to avoid lists falling into the hands of thieves or receivers.
Everyone was agreed that it is of first importance that information concerning stolen books should be circulated as quickly as possible, and that a Telex arrangement is desirable in all member countries of the I.L.A.B.
With regard to a Central Register, it is important that this should be regarded as confidential, as it could be subject to error. Information regarding books recovered must be sent quickly so that the Central Register and National Indexes can be amended.
It would seem necessary to leave to the discretion of each Country, of in some cases to the individual concerned, the rapport between booksellers and police, and booksellers and private persons.
(English translation: Stanley Crowe)