Ars Antiqua was
begun in 1978 by Dave Canfield, having just completed his work on a DM in
composition from Indiana University. Not expecting that this would be a
livlihood for him (much less that it would become the world's largest business
in collector's vinyl records), he at the same time took a job as a music library
supervisor at Indiana University. By 1981, it was clear that there was a living
to be made in used and out-of-print records and Dave went into the record
business full time, even opening up a retail store in Bloomington, Indiana.
After a few years, he realized that most of his income was coming in through his
mail order catalog and thereupon sold his store and concentrated exclusively on
mail order catalog sales.
Ars Antiqua was the
first fully-computerized business of its kind, the first to accept credit cards,
and the first to accept orders by fax. The business gradually expanded with its
daughter businesses, which include Jazz Antiqua (no longer in business), Rarissma,
and Recherche, marketing various items to collectors of many genres of music.
It maintains its leadership in the vinyl world with its staff of 9 people, dedicated
to providing the finest recordings and other items at reasonable prices with efficient
and courteous service.