Rare Book Monthly

Articles - August - 2012 Issue

The Newtown Book Fair has come and gone

Books-newtown

An affair of the heart: the C. H. Booth Book Fair

To put together a library organized book fair is a cooperative affair that requires countless donors and dozens of volunteers striving for the benefit of their institution.  It requires intelligence, planning and always some luck.  When it succeeds it means more than money, it suggests inclusion and confirmation of community values.  For many years the Friends of the C. H. Booth Library in Newtown, Connecticut that I wrote about last month, has been holding a fair and learning to succeed in new ways.  This year has been no exception.  As the report that follows from Toni Earnshaw details, their fair again succeeded.  Their success is well earned for books are broadly seen as cash equivalents whose exchange rates, vis a vis the dollar, are declining.  But books have also always been something more, a medium of exchange for ideas that many people care deeply about.  That is certainly part of the reason so many people come out to help the Newtown Library succeed.  And succeed they did.

Bruce,

Now that we have had a few days to tally up some of the results of the book sale, it looks as if we had a good year. The boxes used to save a place in the ticket line started to appear an entire week before the sale…. a record according to long time volunteers.  337 tickets were sold by 9 a.m. on Saturday. That's about 40 more than usual.  Our sales have continued to increase over the last 4 years and this year is no exception.  We made about a bit more than we made last year which is especially good considering two dealers we have counted on in the past did not come to this year's sale.  It appears that the dwindling number of book dealers is being offset by the number of individuals purchasing. 1,299 adults bought tickets the first day of the sale (children get in free). Could it be that the reports of the death of books has been greatly exaggerated? Well, at least for this year at this sale.  When you consider the cost of buying e-readers for a family and the cost of e-books, a book sale's bargains can't be beat.  Another success story was John Renjillian's Select List of Specials offered in our Rare and Collectibles Room.  According to John we sold 70+% of his list, which he suspects "is a record".  CD, DVD and record sales were also a bright spot. 3,616 CD's and 1,645 DVD's sold out with over half of them selling at full price. 
 

It's always fun to see where customers come from.  We see cars with license plates from Massachusetts, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Florida.  More than one customer saw our road signs while touring New England and stopped in.  But it appears that most of our customers come from Connecticut, New York and New Jersey.  As I mentioned on the phone the Big Apple was represented when a cabbie drove his little yellow cab all the way from Brooklyn to buy books for a children's church reading program. It's buyers like that and the many teachers who come to buy books for the classroom  and the children who's faces light up at the seeming endless rows of books just for them that makes the future feel bright for books and readers and book fairs....at least for now.  And it gives the tired volunteers the impetus to do it all over again next year.

Thank you, as always, for your continued interest and support.

Toni Earnshaw

helenantonia@yahoo.com


Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Caius Julius Hyginus, <i>Poeticon Astronomicon,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1482. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Giovanni Botero, <i>Le Relationi Universali... divise in Sette Parti</i>, Venice, 1618. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> <i>L'Escole des Filles</i>, likely third edition of the first work of pornographic fiction in French, 1676. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Illuminated Book of Hours in Latin on vellum, Flanders, early 16th century. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes Regiomontanus, <i>Calendarium,</i> Venice, 1485. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Pedro de Medina, <i>Libro d[e] gra[n]dezas y cosas memorables de España,</i> Alcalá de Henares, 1566. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b><br>Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> Salamanca, circa 1496-97. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Andrés Serrano, <i>Los Siete Principes de los Ángeles, válidos de Rey del Cielo,</i> Spain, 1707. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes de Sacrobosco, <i>Sphaera mundi,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1478. $15,000 to $20,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> A Rare 3-rotor German Enigma I Enciphering Machine. $70,000 to $90,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Important collection of correspondence between Werner Heisenberg and Bruno Rossi. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Walt Whitman Autograph manuscript containing his thoughts on death. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> David Roberts. <i>Holy Land</i>. Six volumes. 1842-1849. First edition. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Extensive collection of Ray Bradbury's primary works, most signed or inscribed. $15,000 to $20,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Peter Force. Declaration of Independence. $12,000 to $18,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Steinbeck. <i>Grapes of Wrath</i>. A fine copy of the first edition. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Lewis & Clark. <i>Travels to the Source of the Missouri River</i>... First English edition, extra-illustrated. 1814. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Manuscript document signed by Nuno de Guzman relating to Hernan Cortes, 1528. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> “Nos los inquisidores..." The first book in English printed West of the Mississippi. [1787]. $5,000 to $8,000.

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