Book Fairs

Several years ago my teenaged son and I were lunching with the late Burton Weiss at a popular Berkeley bistro, Le Rendezvous. Burton was a tall, thin mordant guy, prone to squawking when he got worked up, really quite a brilliant bookseller (he would sometimes say things in passing that belonged in the Bartlett's Book of Antiquarian Quotations, such as: “Reading is bad for books” and “Never judge a book by its contents”). Burton was lamenting growing old, and my son politely asked him when he was going to retire. Burton looked at my son like he was crazy. “Booksellers aren't ALLOWED to RETIRE!” he shouted. “They just DIE!” Everyone in Le Rendezvous paused to look at the madman dining with us. But was he mad? When Greg Gibson reported on the death of Cheryl Needle and how she was selling material to him and his colleagues even as they paid their last respects to her, that struck many of us as the perfect way to go. So, when Ed Glaser announced he was going to retire from the book business and assume emeritus status in the ABAA, it caught many of us by surprise. Ed opened his first shop in 1964 and joined the ABAA in 1969. Since 1979 he has been in Northern California, first in Sausalito and then in Napa since 2001. He specialized in science and medicine (but one could also find good books in the humanities in his stock), was one of the founders of the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar which has taught thousands of people how to become successful in this profess... [more]

More than 120 dealers from around the world rendevous every fall at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston's Back Bay to display their latest acquisitions to collectors. 2016 will see the 40th annual book fair in Boston, taking place over the weekend of October 28-30. Here are some selected highlights of the items ABAA members will be taking to the Boston Book Fair this year. A full-page document (see attached) signed by Thomas Cushing, submitted to the Senate and House of Representatives of the state of Massachusetts, dated Oct. 2, 1783, stating that when the British troops were in possession of Boston in the year 1775, he suffered the loss of “the greatest and most valuable part of his household furniture while he was attending his duty at Congress and his family were (sic) drove out of the Town of Boston, destitute of any furniture.” This letter was submitted to Congress as a request for compensation regarding losses incurred during the British occupation of Boston. (Offered by Old Editions Book Shop) Moore, Clement C., The Night Before Christmas or A Visit of St. Nicholas. New York: McLoughlin Brothers, 1888. First Edition. Near fine in heavy paper, printed wraps over a sewn binding. A quarto measuring 12 by 10 inches with minor rubbing to the fore corners of the front cover. Without a dust jacket. Unpaginated, but containing 18 pages counting the interior sides of the covers. Illustrated throughout with color chromolithographs by an unknown artist. An extremely clean ... [more]

Yes, Boston is a great city with many great book shops, but is its book fair a must-see event? Well, the short answer is "Hell, Yes!" But you'll need more convincing than mere enthusiasm, so here are ten powerful reasons to attend the 2016 Boston Book Fair, ten ways in which it will probably make you a better-informed collector. 1. Meet 100s of Rare Book Experts Sure, there wll be more than 120 rare book dealers from the US and abroad exhibiting at this year's book fair, but they are not the only rare book experts in the room. Each dealer brings 2-3 staff, all experts in their particular areas, so that means at least 300 bona fide rare book experts on the dealer side of the tables alone. But many of the attendees are also extremely knowledgable as well. They have lifetimes of experience working in rare book libraries and archives, researching historical biography through primary sources, or developing collections in obscure but fascinating areas. The people you share an elevator with probably have years of experience and knowledge, have probably viewed, handled, or owned a great many rare books, and are likely only too happy to discuss rare books and collecting with both seasoned collectors and enthusiastic beginners. Rare Book Fairs are about far more than acquiring certain books or ephemera; they are about building relationships with dealers, getting to know other collectors, and gaining knowledge and perspective that will enrich and inform your collecting for years to come... [more]

ABAA members are participating in UNESCO's World Book and Copyright Day (April 23, 2016) by organizing several "Pop-Up" Book Fairs around the country. The Pop-Up Books Fairs are organized by the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers, the parent organization of the ABAA. From the ILAB: What do a film star, the children in South Sudan, and 1,800 booksellers on 5 continents have in common? They are some of the essential components of a worldwide series of events to create a more literate world. On 23 April 2016, the members of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB) will celebrate UNESCO's World Book and Copyright Day with a series of spectacular and extraordinary bookish events -- for 24 hours, one after another around the world. Last year and for the very first time, ILAB booksellers decided to think global and act local on 23 April 2015 by holding ILAB Pop Up Fairs -- book presentations, lectures, exhibitions, performances, appraisals -- within their local communities and coordinating their efforts under ILAB's roof. The worldwide celebrations held at most busy and sometimes really unexpected places like Giant Ferris wheels, cabarets and clubs made a global impact. The ILAB booksellers raised well over 10,000 Euros, which bought 1,930 books and 500 pens and paper for the South Sudanese children – delivered by UNESCO's Forest Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative. In 2016 the ILAB booksellers will do this again… and they will do even more! ... [more]

The 56th Annual New York Antiquarian Book Fair returned to the Park Avenue Armory from April 7-April 10, 2016. From April 7-10, 2016 book lovers will find a fascinating treasure trove at the Park Avenue Armory. Over 200 American and international dealers will exhibit at The ABAA New York Antiquarian Book Fair, bringing a vast selection of rare books, maps, manuscripts, illuminated manuscripts and ephemera. The diversity of specialties includes art, medicine, literature, photography, autographs, first editions, Americana, and much more. This book fair is officially sanctioned by the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America and the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers. This means that the consumer can rely upon the experience and professionalism of participating dealers and the authenticity of the items available for purchase. Simply stated, all books, manuscripts and related material have been carefully examined for completeness and bibliographic accuracy. Preview: Thurs, April 7, 5pm-9pm Fri, Apr 8, noon-8pm Sat, Apr 9, noon-7pm Sun, Apr 10, noon-5pm Tickets are available for purchase in advance or at the door. (Preview Ticket: $50, Run-of-Show: $40, Daily: $25) Discovery Day Sunday, April 10, 1pm-3pm Featured Items A few of the items ABAA members will be exhibiting at the 2016 New York Antiquarian Book Fair: Drawings, Jean-Michel Basquiat NY/Zurich: Edition Bischofberger and Boone, 1985. #757 of 1000cc Signed by Basquiat on the verso of the title page. Ver... [more]

John Schulman shares his history with the Discovery Day program at the annual New York Antiquarian Book Fair. In 1996, after being asked to appraise books and manuscripts for PBS's first season of Antiques Roadshow, I discovered that I had a knack for quick and competent evaluations, and while I am not the most photogenic or well-spoken guy, the producers at WGBH in Boston liked me enough to invite me back year after year. For the first several years, the book tables at the Roadshow featured a healthy mix of auction house specialists and independent dealers, all of whom were ABAA members. Now in its 19th season, there are fewer indie dealer-appraisers at the book table, but they are still all ABAA members: me, Ken Gloss from Brattle Books, and Ken Sanders. All three of us are generalists (Sanders is also a specialist in Mormon and LDS material) who have about a hundred combined years in the trade and have handled tons of books. Literally. You can trust Ken Sanders to appraise your Palmyra 1830 Book of Mormon Since 2000, building on my experiences on the Roadshow, I've coordinated the Discovery Days at both the New York Antiquarian Book Fair and the Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair (held every November). Every year, we've had great ABAA dealers willing to freely evaluate books, autographs, manuscripts and ephemera, and every year we see wonderful items and give knowledgeable advice and estimates. Plate from an 18th Century German book on midwifery seen at a past Disc... [more]

Many ABAA members will be exhibiting at the 56th annual New York Antiquarian Book Fair at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City from April 7 through 10, 2016. We'll list their fair catalogs below as they are published. Check them out -- it's the next-best thing to actually attending the fair! You can also view some selected highlights from the items members are bringing to the fair. Come back often, as more catalogs will be published in the coming week... Antiquariat Botanicum (Booth A25) Athena Rare Books... (Booth D2) F.A. Bernett Books... (Booth B10) Eclectibles (Booth E27) Golden Legend... (Booth A15) Gosen Rare Books (Booth A44) Kaaterskill Books... (Booth D12) Michael Laird Rare Books... (Booth D23) The Lawbook Exchange... (Booth C9) (Part 1; Part 2; Part 3) David M. Lesser, Fine Antiquarian Books (Booth E43) Liber Antiquus, Early Books & Manuscripts (Booth A3) Manhattan Rare Book Company (Booth A34) Jeffrey D. Mancevice, Inc. (Booth E26) Priscilla Juvelis, Inc.... (Booth A1) B & L Rootenberg Rare Books... (Booth E20) Sanctuary Rare Books... (Booth D5) Seth Kaller, Inc. showcase a few of the items they will be exhibiting... (Booth D8) Triolet Rare Books will be exhibiting at the NYABF for the first time this year. View their catalog here... (Booth D6) John Windle Antiquarian Bookseller (Booth C30) For more details about the 2016 New York Antiquarian Book Fair, visit this page... [more]

ABAA members will be bringing their best items to the 56th annual New York Antiquarian Book Fair during the second week of April, 2016. Below, we have a few highlights from our members (in no particular order): exceedingly rare books, unique records, and one-of-a-kind ephemera to give a brief flavor of the treasures that await discovery in New York. Members submitted so many featured items that we've had to split the list into two parts. This is part two, click here to view the first batch of featured items... William Blake, “The Ancient of Days” (Europe, pl. 1). Relief and white-line etching, 1794, printed in blue ink, probably in 1794 by Blake, image and platemark 23.4 x 16.8 cm. on a leaf of wove paper 24.4 x 17.7 cm. Mounted in a window cut into a backing leaf, pen and ink framing lines on the mount which is also inscribed in pencil by an unknown hand, “From Europe, Frontispiece.” Designated as copy D of “The Ancient of Days” in BB pp. 109, 339 (no. 100), 340 (no. F1). Provenance: Possibly inherited from Blake by his wife Catherine in 1827; possibly acquired by Frederick Tatham upon Catherine Blake's death in 1831; acquired “about 1853” (BB p. 337) by George A. Smith and mounted and bound by him with other works by Blake, including the “Order” of the Songs of Innocence and of Experience; the vol. sold by Smith, Christie's, 1 April 1880, #168 (66 to the dealer Bernard Quaritch); possibly sold, or more probably lent, by Quaritch to the facsimilists Will... [more]

More than 200 rare book dealers, including many ABAA members, from around the world are preparing to exhibit at the California International Antiquarian Book Fair in Pasadena, CA over the weekend of February 12-14, 2016. Below, we present -- in no particular order -- a selection of featured items that ABAA members are bringing to California. Carroll, Lewis (Dodgson, Charles). Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. London: William Heinemann & New York: Doubleday, Page & Co., 1907. Illustrated by Arthur Rackham. First trade edition. Signed by Rackham with an original pen and ink drawing of a winged Gryphon and dated 23.3.08 on the half-title page. Original publisher's cloth, housed in a gilt-decorated custom brown half-morocco fleece-lined folding box. The deluxe limited issue of Rackham's "Alice" was not signed by Rackham because he was traveling at the time of the book's publication. (Offered by B. & B. Rare Books, Ltd.) Bain, R. Nisbet (Guild of Women Binders) RUSSIAN FAIRY TALES London, 1893, Lawrence and Bullen. Bound by the Guild of Women Binders. An exceptional example of the Guild's embossed bindings. (Offered by Green Gate Farm Antiquarian Books) Morris, William. The Tale of King Florus and the Fair Jehane Hammersmith: Pr. by William Morris at the Kelmscott Press, 1893. 12mo (15 cm, 5.9"). , 96, pp. Lovely example of a Kelmscott small-format press production: the first of a series of four medieval French romances both translated and printed by Morris, this one about the lov... [more]

There are many rare book fairs of varying size taking place around the country in January and February. Whether you are a beginning collector of an old hand, book fairs are a great opportunity to inspect the offerings of a great many dealers, hunt for elusive books and ephemera, and meet like-minded bibliophiles. Papermania Plus Antique Paper Show When: Saturday January 9, 10am-5pm and Sunday January 10, 10am-4pm Where: Hartford, CT Info: Note: Free Appraisal Day (Sunday, 11am-2pm) “Bring in an item related to the context of the show and we will be glad to have one of our many exhibitors assist you with finding out about your 'treasure'!” Greater Los Angeles Postcard and Paper Show When: Saturday January 9, 10am-5pm and Sunday January 10, 10am-4pm Where: Glendale, CA Info: Austin Book, Paper and Photo Show When: Friday, January 15, 6pm-9pm and Saturday, January 16, 10am-5pm Where: Austin, TX Info: Paper Town: The January Vintage Paper, Book & Advertising Collectibles Show When: January 23, 9am-3pm Where: Boxborough, MA Info: Note: “Antiques Appraisals 12-2pm by John Bruno, Star of Market Warriors” San Francisco Book, Print and Paper Fair When: Friday February 5, 11am-7pm and Saturday February 6, 10am-5pm... [more]