Rare Book Monthly

Articles - March - 2013 Issue

The ABAA Fair In San Francisco - a success


A busy show at Barry Ruderman Antique Maps

Jeffrey Mancevice of Worcester, Massachusetts, also a long time ABAA member had this to add, “This was one of my best fairs as defined by sales to libraries and the trade.  I had no retail sales but it was a very good fair nevertheless.  California used to be one of the best for retail customers but many have died or become inactive.”

Marc Selvaggio [Books and Ephemera]called it a decent fair, consistent in sales, but changing in their nature and origin.  “As with Pasadena last year, my sales to private people (eg., non-dealers/non-libraries) were 7%.  Sales to dealers amounted to 65% of my gross while institutions accounted for 28% (almost all I would have sold to them directly whether at the fair or not).   A LOT of people were in my booth during the fair (as they always are), spending A LOT of time pawing the ephemera bins-- I call these folks, "The Touchers"-- but very few actual sales to civilians.  It will be interesting to see if the Ephemera Society show (at which I am exhibiting next month) is any different.

Barry Ruderman, the La Jolla antique map dealer summed up his show this way, “It was our best San Francisco Fair, both from a buying and selling perspective.  The most exciting acquisitions were the second known example of a Baja California Fillibuster map and a fantastic set of RS Williamson 1849 Gold Rush letters, both coming from Ken Harrison, who never ceases to amaze.  The amount of unique and/or "never before seen on the market" items in the fair was up dramatically over prior years.  Prices have fallen to a point where the market feels invigorated again and we saw more new collectors with serious interests."

Many people mentioned the Nick Wilding talk on forgeries as something they enjoyed.  A few attendees are thought to have used photocopied tickets.

The ABAA has hit upon a formula that works, exceptional dealers, and exceptional material and, over the weekend of February 15th to 17th, that rarest element in San Francisco, great weather.

In other years the organizing committee could announce that the fair would return in two years.  This year it is not so easy.  The Concourse Pavilion, the current venue, is not taking early reservations as development plans for the site, now under new ownership, have yet to be determined.  This may mean no change in venue or it might mean a shift to Fort Mason in San Francisco, to the arena in Oakland or even to San Jose.

What we can say is that the Eagle will land.  Too many people enjoy the event.

In the meantime Nancy Johnson of Nancy Johnson Events Management has announced that the next San Francisco Antiquarian Book, Print & Paper Fair, this fair’s alter ego, will be held at the Fort Mason Center February 1st-2nd, 2014. 

Link to the upcoming New York ABAA fair site:  www.sanfordsmith.com/default.aspx?pageId=13

Link to  2014 San Francisco Print & Paper Fair:  www.sfbookandpaperfair.com

Rare Book Monthly

Article Search

Archived Articles

Ask Questions