All posts by Raptis Rare Books

The Works of Aristotle. Translated by Thomas Taylor, First Edition, 1806-12. Raptis Rare Books.

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The Works of Aristotle.
Aristotle; Translated by Thomas Taylor.

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London: Robert Wilks, 1806-12. Exceptionally rare complete set of the first edition in English of the works of Aristotle, limited to only 50 sets. Quarto, 11 volumes. Bound in full contemporary calf by J. Mackenzie, Bookbinder to the King. Gilt leaf and flower borders on covers, gilt titles and tooling to the spine, morocco spine labels, ribbon book marks bound in, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. The set composes of the following: Volume 1: The Organon, 1807, signed at the end by the translator Thomas Taylor, and with A Brief Notice of Mr. Thomas Taylor, the Celebrated Platonist, with a Complete List of his Published Works, by J.J. Welsh. Volume 2: The Rhetoric, Poetic, and Nichomachean Ethics, 1811. Volume 3: The Great and Eudemian Ethics, the Politics and Economics Volume 4: The Physics, 1806, signed by Thomas Taylor on the last page. Volume 5: The Treatises on the Heavens, on Generation, and Corruption, and on Meteors, 1807, folding plate of mathematical figures. Volume 6: The History of Animals and Treatise on Physiognomy, 1809. Volume 7: The Treatises on the Parts, and Progressive Motion of Animals, Problems; and His Treatise on Individual Lines, 1810. Volume 8: The Treatises on the Soul; on Sense and Sensibilities; on Memory and Reminiscence; on Sleep and Wakefulness; on Dreams; on Divination by Sleep; on the Common Motion of Animals; on the Generation of Animals; on the Length and Shortness of Life; on Youth and Old Age, Life and Death; and on Respiration, 1808. Volume 9: The Metaphysics, 1812. Volume 10: A Dissertation on the Philosophy of Aristotle, by Thomas Taylor, 1812. This set includes an 11th volume being Taylor’s first edition of The Metaphysics, 1801 containing an extensive introduction and notes. Lowndes, p. 68: “Of this valuable translation, the only complete one extant in the English language. Fifty copies only were printed at the expense of William Meredith, Esq.” In near fine condition with only light toning. Complete sets are of the utmost rarity; rare and desirable set of this landmark work.

Aristotle’s philosophical works covered an incredibly broad range of subjects including physics, biology, zoology, metaphysics, logic, ethics, rhetoric, politics and government; constituting the first comprehensive system of Western Philosophy. Through these many branches, Aristotle sought the universal; his aim was to discover the essential nature of being, becoming, existence and reality which he believed could be achieved through detailed systems of logic and classification. Aristotle’s works on natural history, particularly observations of the sea-life visible from the island of Lesbos, are some of the earliest known to have survived and include one of the earliest classification systems. Aristotle’s Metaphysics is considered to be his principal work as well as the first major work in metaphysical philosophy itself. “It forms the highest step in Aristotle’s system, and deals with the first principles of all existence. Here he grapples with the deepest questions of philosophy” (Peck, 130). Translated by Thomas Taylor, a leading English classicist of the day. “In his knowledge of Plato and Aristotle he has never been equaled by any Englishman, and he is still the most important disseminator of ancient philosophy in the history of English and American literature” (Axon, 11).

Music: The Piraeus Lads · Manos Hadjidakis · Evangelos Boudounis · Maro Razi

The Works of Aristotle. Translated by Thomas Taylor, First Edition, 1806-12. Raptis Rare Books.

First Edition of The Road to Serfdom by F.A. Hayek

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The Road To Serfdom.
Hayek, F. A.

London: Routledge & Sons, 1944. First edition of one of the most influential and popular expositions of classical liberalism ever published. Octavo, original black cloth. Signed by F.A. Hayek on the title page. Light rubbing, near fine in a very good dust jacket with some expert restoration. The British edition (which this copy is) was published in March of 1944, preceding its American counterpart, which was published later that same year in September. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. Rare signed.

“Hayek has written one of the most important books of our generation. It restates for our time the issue between liberty and authority with the power and rigor of reasoning that John Stuart Mill stated in his great essay, ‘On Liberty’” (Hazlitt, 82). [I]n my opinion it is a grand book. . . . Morally and philosophically I find myself in agreement with virtually the whole of it: and not only in agreement with it, but in deeply moved agreement” (John Maynard Keynes). The Road To Serfdom placed fourth on the list of the 100 best non-fiction books of the twentieth century by National Review magazine.
Music: Tchaikovsky – Waltz of the Flowers

William Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. Fourth Folio, 1685. Raptis Rare Books

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Mr. William Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. Fourth Folio.
Shakespeare, William.

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London: Printed for H. Herringman, and are to be sold by Joseph Knight and Francis Saunders, 1685. First edition of the Fourth Folio of Shakespeare. Bound in full brown morocco, elaborately gilt-decorated spine. The fourth folio is the final and most magnificent of the four 17th-century folio editions of Shakespeare’s plays. The Fourth Folio “contains the additional seven plays that first appeared in the 1663 edition [including the authentic Pericles, Prince of Tyre], as well as a good deal of correction and modernization of the text designed to make it easier to read and understand” (Folger’s Choice). Old paper repair to verso of title-page, several other very minor paper repairs. Some browning and minimal staining, a very good example. As in some other copies, as Greg notes, number of errors in signatures have been corrected in manuscript, presumably at the time of publication. Although there is no accurate census of the number of folios still extant today, it is believed that copies of each printing number only in the hundreds. The rarest form of the fourth folio. This is the rare Knight and Saunders issue, with their names on the title-page. W. W. Greg observes, “Since the title is entirely reset it is presumably a cancel printed after the volume was complete and perhaps republished, and designed for those copies that Herringman chose to issue through his own booksellers” (Greg III, 1121). In 1684, Herringman turned over the retail side of his business to Francis Saunders and his partner Joseph Knight. Fourth Folios almost invariably bear the imprints “Herringman-Brewster-Bentley” or “Herringman-Brewster-Chiswell-Bentley.”

The Shakespeare Folios “have an aura of book magic about them. For a bibliophile it is a volume devoutly to be wished for and rarely attained; to a library it is a crowning jewel of a collection Shakespeare, indeed, is a name to conjure with. No lengthy explanation as a good deal of corres are needed; he is simply the most distinguished author in the English language” (Legacies of Genius, 36).

Music: Vivaldi – La Follia

William Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. Fourth Folio, 1685. Raptis Rare Books

Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow, Inscribed First Edition, 1973. Raptis Rare Books.

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Gravity’s Rainbow.
Pynchon, Thomas.

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New York : The Viking Press, 1973. First edition of Pynchon’s National Book Award-winning novel. Octavo, original cloth. Presentation copy, inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper, “To Herb Yellin- Regards, Thomas Pynchon.” The recipient Herb Yellin, was the publisher and founder of Lord John Press, considered by many to be one of the most important small presses of the 20th century. He formed a friendship with the author, Thomas Pynchon. Fine in a near fine dust jacket with some light wear to the extremities and a closed tear to the rear panel. Jacket design by Marc Getter. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. Books signed and inscribed by Pynchon are one of the great rarities of twentieth century literature.
“Gravity’s Rainbow is one of the few truly great novels of the century, and at the same time one of the most disappointing, disturbing, maddening…. One of the most original fictive styles to have been developed since Joyce” (Contemporary Novelists, 1136). It is regarded by many scholars as the greatest American novel published after the end of the second world war, and is “often considered as the postmodern novel, redefining both postmodernism and the novel in general” (Pohllman). Time named it one of its “All-Time 100 Greatest Novels”, a list of the best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005.

Music: Vivaldi – Concerto for 2 Violins, 2 Cellos and Strings in D major RV 564

Bobby Jones, Down the Fairway, First Edition 1927. Raptis Rare Books

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Down the Fairway: The Golf Life and Play of Robert T. Jones, Jr.
Jones, Robert (Bobby) T., Jr. and Keeler, O.B.

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New York: Minton, Balch & Company, 1927. Signed Limited edition, preceding the first trade edition of what is many consider the greatest golf book of the 20th century. One of 300 numbered copies, signed by both Robert T. Jones and O.B. Keeler, and again by Jones beneath his frontispiece. Octavo, original half vellum over green cloth, gilt titles to the spine, top edge gilt, frontispiece, illustrated. Foreword by Grantland Rice. In fine condition. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box.

“Jones left an enduring legacy of athletic prowess and exemplary personal characteristics. No one is likely to break his records of 13 U.S. and British national championships, and four in one year (he won the U.S. Open a total of four times, the U.S. Amateur five times, the British Open three times, and the British Amateur one time) The Masters seems to have a secure place in the pantheon of golf; and the name Bobby Jones will continue to represent the highest standards of amateurism, sportsmanship and self-mastery” (ANB).

Music: Handel – Oboe Concerto in G minor

Signed First Edition of The Grapes Of Wrath by John Steinbeck

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The Grapes of Wrath.
Steinbeck, John.

New York: The Viking Press, 1939. First edition, with “First Published in April 1939” on copyright page and first edition notice on front flap of dust jacket. Octavo, original beige cloth. Boldly signed by John Steinbeck on the front free endpaper. Light shelfwear, near fine in a bright dust jacket with light rubbing to the spine extremities. From the library of John Steinbeck. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. A very nice example with noted provenance.

“The Grapes of Wrath is the kind of art that’s poured out of a crucible in which are mingled pity and indignation Its power and importance do not lie in its political insight but in its intense humanity [It] is the American novel of the season, probably the year, possibly the decade” (Clifton Fadiman). Basis the the 1940 film directed by John Ford, starring Henry Fonda. The film is widely considered as one of the greatest American films of all time. In 1989, this film was one of the first 25 films to be selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” Listed by Modern Library as one of the 100 best novels of the twentieth century.
Music: Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major, K. 488: I. Allegro – Mozart

First Edition of The Cat in the Hat

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The Cat in the Hat.
Seuss, Dr. (Theodor Seuss Geisel)

New York: Random House, 1957. First edition, first issue of Dr. Seuss’ classic work. Octavo, original illustrated unlaminated boards. Inscribed by the author, “For Ruth Dr. Seuss.” Fine in an excellent dust jacket with light wear. All issue points present: price of 200/200 on the dust jacket, no mention of the “Beginner Books” series on the rear panel, and has four paragraphs of educator’s reviews on rear panel. Book contains a single signature and 61 pages with a message on final page before end paper contained in an outline of the cat’s hat & head. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. A very nice example.
“A person’s a person, no matter how small,” Theodor Seuss Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss, would say. “Children want the same things we want. To laugh, to be challenged, to be entertained and delighted.” “The Cat in the Hat was so successful that Random House, publisher of all the Dr. Seuss books since 1937, created a special division, Beginner Books, with the Cat in the Hat as the logo and Dr. Seuss as president of the division” (Dr. Seuss from Then to Now, 45). “This extraordinary writer has done more to foster literacy in children than most because he manages to combine lunacy with sanity, fun with learning, and quality with exuberant readability” (Joseph Connolly).

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Music: Prelude in A-flat major Op. 28 No. 17

Signed First Edition of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Betty Smith

New York: Harper & Brothers, 1943. First edition of Smith’s classic first novel. Octavo, original green cloth. Signed by the author on the front free endpaper, “Sincerely, Betty Smith Brooklyn, N.Y.” Light rubbing and wear, an excellent example in a near fine first issue dust jacket with light rubbing and wear to the spine and extremities. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. A nice copy of a novel rarely encountered signed.

“Forty years before Holden Caulfield abandoned Pencey Prep to begin his ill-fated Manhattan odyssey, Francie Nolan struggled to obtain an education in the teeming tenement neighborhood of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Francie grows up nurtured by the loving gallantries of her father, a singing waiter who drinks too much, and the rigorous austerities practiced by her brave mother, a janitress who reads to her children each night from the complete plays of Shakespeare and the ‘Protestant Bible’. The book was an instant best-seller, with 300,000 copies purchased in the first six weeks. Writing in the Yale review, Orville Prescott praised A Tree Grows in Brooklyn as a ‘rich and rare example of regional local color writing, filled to the scuppers with Brooklynese, Brooklyn folk-ways and Brooklyn atmosphere” (New York Public Library Books of the Century, 207). It was the basis for the 1945 film directed by Elia Kazan, starring James Dunn, Dorothy McGuire, Joan Blondell, and Peggy Ann Garner, who won a Special Academy Award for Outstanding Child Actress of 1945. James Dunn won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in the film.
Music: Brahms Hungarian Dance no. 5 – Allegro in F sharp minor (orchestral arr.)

Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild things Are, Signed First Edition, 1963. Raptis Rare Books.

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“And now,” cried Max, “Let the wild rumpus start!”

Where the Wild Things Are.
Sendak, Maurice.

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New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1963. First edition in the first-issue dust jacket of one of the scarcest and most desirable books in modern children’s literature. Oblong quarto, original cloth backed pictorial paper boards. Inscribed by Maurice Sendak with a drawing of Mickey Mouse on the half-title page, “For David, Hi! Maurice Sendak May ’80.” It was Walt Disney’s 1940 feature film Fantasia, starring Mickey Mouse, that inspired 12-year old Maurice Sendak to become a cartoonist. Born the same year that the famous anthropomorphic cartoon character made his first appearance in the the 1928 short film Steamboat Willie, Sendak described Mickey Mouse as “the emblem of happiness and funniness [and] the little brother I always wanted” (Romano, 2012). One of the most avid collectors of Mickey Mouse memorabilia, Sendak has noted that early appearances of Mickey in both film and collectible figurines had teeth, which were later omitted as his character became more popular and his more cruel tendencies were transferred to other characters. Sendak’s characters, with plenty of teeth, came to embody not just the adorable and benevolent, but the frightening and dangerous; evoking feelings in the children who read his stories quite unlike those encouraged by the typical illustrated children’s tale. Fine in a near fine first-issue dust jacket. This is the correct first state of the dust jacket with no mention of the Caldecott award, and a $3.50 price at top of front flap. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. An exceptional example, rare and desirable in this condition and with a drawing of the character that inspired Sendak’s career, Mickey Mouse.

Hailed as “the Picasso of children’s books,” Maurice Sendak produced more than 85 books, of which Where the Wild Things Are is undeniably the most famous, being one of the ten best-selling children’s books of all time. “Wild Things!’ When Max’s sojourn among them unfolded in kinematic splendor in 1963, adults trembled and children reveled. Reaching back into his own Brooklyn childhood, Sendak created the enduring child-hero Max, who overcomes his fears and achieves catharsis in a colorful fantasy tableau. The book was awarded the 1964 Caldecott Medal by the American Library Association” (NYPL Books of the Century 212). Basis for the 2009 film directed by Spike Jonze starring Max Records and features the voices of James Gandolfini, Paul Dano, Lauren Ambrose, Forest Whitaker, Catherine O’Hara, and Chris Cooper.

Music: 44 Strauss II – Frühlingsstimmen, Op. 410

Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild things Are, Signed First Edition, 1963. Raptis Rare Books.

The Godfather Inscribed First Edition by Mario Puzo

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The Godfather
Mario Puzo

A searing novel of the Mafia underworld, The Godfather introduced readers to the first family of American crime fiction, the Corleones, and the powerful legacy of tradition, blood, and honor that was passed on from father to son. “A voyeur’s dream, a skillful fantasy of violent personal power” (New York Times). It was made into the 1972 film directed by Francis Ford Coppola and produced by Albert S. Ruddy, starring Marlon Brando and Al Pacino. It was the highest-grossing film of 1972 and was for a time the highest-grossing film ever made. It won the Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actor (Brando) and Best Adapted Screenplay (for Puzo and Coppola). Its seven other Oscar nominations included Pacino, James Caan, and Robert Duvall for Best Supporting Actor and Coppola for Best Director. It is widely regarded as one of the greatest films in world cinema and one of the most influential, especially in the gangster genre. It was selected for preservation in the U.S. National Film Registry of the Library of Congress in 1990, being deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and is ranked the second-greatest film in American cinema (behind Citizen Kane) by the American Film Institute. It was followed by sequels The Godfather Part II (1974) and The Godfather Part III (1990).

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Music: Vivaldi – Autumn

Albert Einstein, The Evolution of Physics, Signed First Edition, 1938. Raptis Rare Books.

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The Evolution of Physics: The Growth of Ideas from Early Concepts to Relativity and Quanta.
Einstein, Albert & Infeld, Leopold.

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Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1938. First edition of this classic work, which traces the development of ideas in physics. Octavo, original blue cloth. Presentation copy, inscribed by Albert Einstein on the front free endpaper in the year of publication. The recipient, Heinz Norden was the editor of Albert Einstein’s book Einstein on Peace. He served as a publisher and “among the authors he translated and brought to publication were Goethe, Thomas Mann and Albert Einstein” (The New York Times). Fine in a very good price-clipped dust jacket with a few small closed tears. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. Trade editions signed by Einstein are uncommon, examples with such significant association are rare.

Upon publication The Saturday Review of Literature praised Evolution of Physics as “masterly Einstein and Infeld’s book should do much to spread an understanding and appreciation one of the great dramas in the evolution of human thought.”

Music: Bach Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 in G Major, BWV 1049

Albert Einstein, The Evolution of Physics, Signed First Edition, 1938. Raptis Rare Books.

William Goldman, The Princess Bride, Signed First Edition, 1973. Raptis Rare Books.

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The Princess Bride.
Goldman, William.

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New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1973. First edition of Goldman’s classic novel. Octavo, original gray cloth. Boldly signed by William Goldman on the title page. Fine in a near fine dust jacket with a touch of rubbing. Jacket design by Wendell Minor.

Ross MacDonald praised The Princess Bride as “[a] comic adventure romance which moves all over the world and dances through history…carried off with fantastic inventive energy and lightness, everything converted into pure story…The Princess Bride is a joyous and releasing book.” “[Goldman’s] swashbuckling fable is nutball funny…a ‘classic’ medieval melodrama that sounds like all the Saturday serials you ever saw feverishly reworked by the Marx Brothers,” said Newsweek. Basis for the 1987 film directed and co-produced by Rob Reiner, and starring Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin, Chris Sarandon, Wallace Shawn, André the Giant and Christopher Guest.

Music: Once Upon a Time…Storybook Love by Mark Knopfler

William Goldman, The Princess Bride, Signed First Edition, 1973. Raptis Rare Books.

J.D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye, First Edition in the Rare Dust Jacket, 1951. Raptis Rare Books.

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The Catcher In The Rye.
Salinger, J.D.

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Boston: Little Brown, 1951. First edition of the author’s first book. Octavo, original black cloth. Fine in a bright fine dust jacket without the usual tanning to the spine and without any chips or tears. The dust jacket is the correct first issue with the cropping of Salinger’s head on the rear panel and the price on the front flap. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. An exceptional example.

Since his debut in 1951 as The Catcher In the Rye, Holden Caulfield has been synonymous with “cynical adolescent.” Holden narrates the story of a couple of days in his sixteen-year-old life, just after he’s been expelled from prep school, in a slang that sounds edgy even today and keeps this novel on banned book lists. It begins, “If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. In the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second place, my parents would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them.”

Music: Bach – Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G Major BWV 1048

Frank Herbert, Dune, Inscribed First Edition, 1965. Raptis Rare Books.

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“The mystery of life isn’t a problem to solve, but a reality to experience.”

Herbert, Frank.

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New York/ Philadelphia: Chilton Books, 1965. First edition of the author’s masterpiece. Octavo, original cloth. Presentation copy, inscribed by the author on the dedication page, “To Bill Barnes- appreciation for kind words- Frank Herbert.” An excellent near fine example in a near fine dust jacket with some light rubbing and wear to the extremities. Jacket art by John Schoenherr. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box.

Dune was awarded the first Nebula award for best science fiction novel, shared the Hugo award, and “became one of the most famous of all science fiction novels” (The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction). Set on the desert planet Arrakis, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, who would become the mysterious man known as Muad’Dib. He would avenge the traitorous plot against his noble family–and would bring to fruition humankind’s most ancient and unattainable dream. A stunning blend of adventure and mysticism, environmentalism and politics and formed the basis of what is undoubtedly the grandest epic in science fiction.

Music: Dune (1984) Soundtrack – Toto & Brian Eno

Frank Herbert, Dune, Inscribed First Edition, 1965. Raptis Rare Books.

How to Care for Rare Books

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Rare books deserve and require exceptional care. If cared for appropriately, rare books can provide their owners with a prominent collection that will continue to grow over time. Fortunately for new rare book collectors and experienced collectors, preserving and caring for rare and antique books, does not require obscure resources, extensive upkeep, or a large investment; instead, it requires time, patience, and a bit of accustomed elbow grease.

Here at Raptis Rare Books, Matthew Raptis provides informative and beneficial guidelines to ensure your library of rare books will last through the years.

For some additional information – Visit our blog on how to Create the Ultimate Library here:

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Music: Antonio Vivaldi – Concerto in D Minor for viola d’amore, lute and orchestra