Thursday, June 09, 2016

Antiquarian Book News

Books about Maori for sale

New Zealand books, including several about Tangata Whenua, are among the more valuable books on offer at The Star Regent 24-hour Book Sale. Regent Theatre Trust chairwoman and book sale co-ordinator Alison Cunningham said that she felt that they had done particularly well in some of the rarer books about Maori this year.

Featured prominently on a table devoted to New Zealand tomes are titles such as Maori Rugby 1884-1979 and The Lore and History of the South Island Maori.  Besides the rare New Zealand material, a wide selection of sporting books, cookbooks, novels and more will be on offer.

The Star Regent 24-hour Book Sale will be held at the Regent Theatre from noon on Friday, 10 June, until noon on Saturday, 11 June.

Darwin Letter Returns

A letter written by Charles Darwin in 1875 has been returned to the Smithsonian Institution Archives by the FBI after being stolen twice. The FBI received a tip that the stolen document had been located very close to Washington, D.C. The ‘art crime team’ recovered the letter but were unable to press charges because the statute of limitations had expired.

The FBI worked closely with the Archives to determine that the letter was both authentic and definitely Smithsonian's property.

X-Ray gets through

Medieval manuscripts that have been hidden from view for centuries could reveal their secrets for the first time, thanks to new technology. Dutch scientists and other academics are using an x-ray technique to read fragments of manuscripts that have been reused as bookbindings and which cannot be deciphered with the naked eye.

After the middle ages manuscripts were recycled, often pages were pasted inside bindings to strengthen them. At Leiden University experiments have found a fragment from a 12th-century manuscript that includes excerpts from the work of Bede, the 8th-century monk and scholar.

Researchers were able to disassemble multiple pages that had been pasted on to one another, making the text legible. In one case, they could read each of three medieval pages that had been glued together. Elsewhere, they found two fragments stuck together underneath the cover of a 16th-century binding.

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