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Digital Subscriptions > Antiques Trade Gazette > 2290 > Stronger by association

Stronger by association

From the earliest days a common bond has bound the antiquarian book trade together. And, more than ever, professional standards matter


A Book-Sale at Sotheby’s Auction-Room, first published in The Graphic in May 1888. Many of the 16 subjects identified in the picture’s margin are the leading booksellers of the period including Alexander Balderston Railton (1844-1904), a future partner in Sotheran’s, and Bernard Alexander Christian Quaritch (1819-99), whose business still survives today.

A print hanging in the London office of the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association (ABA) gives a glimpse – perhaps an idealised one – of how the book trade used to be.

The venue is Wellington Street, just off the Strand. The date is 1888 and the scene is a book auction at Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge.

An inscription to the margin identifies 16 of the bearded gentleman present as the leading booksellers and collectors of the period – men that 18 years later would meet over lunch at the Criterion restaurant in Piccadilly to create what would become the art and antique trade’s most venerable association. Those badges displayed today by dealers of all descriptions began here.

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About Antiques Trade Gazette

Antiques Trade Gazette is the essential publication for everyone with a serious interest in art, antiques and collectables. Every week it is packed with up-to-the-minute news on the market, with individual items beautifully illustrated throughout. Since 1971 it has been the most reliable source of information on what is really happening at auctions in the UK and around the world. Each issue is filled with auction advertisements and detailed auction reports written by expert journalists. The Dealer’s Diary section keeps readers constantly updated on what is happening at the fairs and markets and in the galleries and shops. Market professionals and serious collectors throughout the world rely on ATG to keep them informed on developments and issues which shape the art market. It is here that they learn about the prices achieved at auction in every area - from antiquities to pop memorabilia, from impressionist paintings to Chinese art. With 500 or more art objects pictured, every issue is a treat to the eye and a visual education. Whatever the topic Antiques Trade Gazette is well-informed, up-to-date and entertaining.

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