Rare Book Monthly

Articles - April - 2018 Issue

The New York Antiquarian Book Fair: It’s a question of timing

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There’s probably nothing to be done about it but the timing of the New York ABAA Fair in March, a concession to business and financial realities, is simply not as good as almost any April dates.  And the reason:  weather.  March in New York is quixotic and many of the field’s principal collectors older.  The effect from year to year is small but the impact over time significant.  Warmer temperatures and good footing matter.

 

For this year’s fair a nor’easter, one of four in March no less, played dodge-em with the city.  In my case, Delta contacted me the Thursday night before my 6:00 am flight from San Francisco to New York to say I should reschedule to avoid weather delays.  I then called my hotel and my son for their views.  Both felt the risk was overstated and I caught the morning flight, arriving to an unusually empty JFK and proceeding quickly into the city.  And for the next four days the clear weather held.  I then drove upstate to get snowed in on Monday into Tuesday.

 

Certainly the New York Book Fairs are stellar, the main fair and the two shadow fairs well worth the trip.  They are the great confluence of the many threads of book collecting and will continue to dominate the field in the years to come.  But convenience and safety matter and it’s going to be more difficult to travel in March as I get older.  Whether, for anyone else it’s an issue only time will tell.

 

Certainly, the Armory is the exceptional venue for this important annual event, being large, familiar and historic.  But how to reconcile its attributes with a difficult calendar, I leave to the show savants. 


Posted On: 2018-04-01 11:57
User Name: periodyssey

Bruce, You failed to mention that the New York fairs now come right on the heals of the California fairs and one week before the Ephemera Society fair in Greenwich, CT. It is simply not good for dealers or collectors to have six important shows within a month of one another. Something's got to give! Rich West/Periodyssey


Posted On: 2018-04-01 16:55
User Name: reeseco

Bruce,
The change in dates for the New York Fair was dictated by the available times at the Armory on Park Ave. The Armory is now owned by a public charity, who uses the majority of time there for theatrical productions and the like. Most fairs which used to be there have been forced to leave; the only other Fairs now remaining are the super-high-end shows like the Winter Antique show and the TEFAF show.
I have exhibited at every New York ABAA Fair since 1975, plus some of the ILAB shows and many smaller ones in other venues. I can testify from this long experience that nothing comes close to the Armory as a venue. Our last large fair outside of it was in the Javits Center, a terrible show for everyone. But if we leave the Armory, this is the kind of places that can accommodate the Fair- the venues over on the Hudson piers, etc. If you think you were inconvenienced in getting to New York, try catching a cab over there, far from any public transport, on a rainy day.
Its not a matter of being familiar and historic (it is a matter of being large). The NY Fair, as it is, is quite simply the best and greatest rare book fair in the world. Move it to any of the available options, and I predict it will quickly be a shadow of what it is now. With all due respect to the California shows or the Ephemera show, they are a drop in the bucket to NY. My California sales have averaged about 10% of my NY sales, and my ephemera show sales about .5%, over many years.
So, if a time frame should be shifted- and I agree that the Fairs are too close now- why don't these fairs change their times? All fairs are not equal. Let's not kill the goose with the golden egg.
One final note- the effect of weather can go both ways. When the old NY Fair time was a month later, it often coincided with the first really nice weekend of spring. When that happened, people stayed away in droves. Poor weather more often brings people indoors; rich New Yorkers go to their country homes when the weather is nice. Bill Reese William Reese Company


Posted On: 2018-04-09 12:53
User Name: brucemarshallrarebooks

Thank you for your discussion over the New York Antiquarian Bookfair in the Armory.
Many of us are flying in from different parts of the world. In my case the UK and I realise that the weather can be an issue but personally, I totally agree with Bill Reese and I think this is the most important bookfair in America. I, like Bill did notice that the weekends in April, when the good weather arrived, had a serious effect on business.
Although perhaps colder in March, I also think there are more serious buyers appearing as it is just before the holiday time. I don't think we should do anything that could threaten the use of this excellent venue. Bruce Marshall, Bruce Marshall Rare Books


Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann, wallpaper sample book, circa 1919. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Archive from a late office of the Breuer & Smith architectural team, New York, 1960-70s. $3,500 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> William Morris, <i>The Story of the Glittering Plain or the Land of Living Men,</i> illustrated by Walter Crane, Kelmscott Press, Hammersmith, 1894. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustave Doré, <i>La Sainte Bible selon la Vulgate,</i> Tours, 1866. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustav Klimt & Max Eisler, <i>Eine Nachlese,</i> complete set, Vienna, 1931. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>Eric Allatini & Gerda Wegener, <i>Sur Talons Rouges,</i> with original watercolor by Wegener, Paris, 1929. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>C.P. Cavafy, <i>Fourteen Poems,</i> illustrated & signed by David Hockney, London, 1966. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jean Midolle, <i>Spécimen des Écritures Modernes...</i>, Strasbourg, 1834-35. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>E.A. Seguy, <i>Floréal: Dessins & Coloris Nouveaux,</i> Paris, 1925. $3,000 to $4,000.
  • <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> BEETHOVEN, LUDWIG VAN. Autograph Manuscript sketch-leaf part of the score of the Scottish Songs, "Sunset" Op. 108 no 2. [Vienna, February 1818]. Inscribed by Alexander Wheelock Thayer. SOLD for $131,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. SOLD for $516,500
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> EINSTEIN, ALBERT. Autograph Letter Signed ("Papa") to his son Hans Albert, discussing his involvement with the atomic bomb, September 2, 1945. SOLD for $106,250
    <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> HAMILTON, ALEXANDER. Autograph Letter Signed, to Baron von Steuben, with extensive notes of Von Steuben's aide Benjamin Walker, June 12, 1780. SOLD for $16,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. SOLD for $275,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. SOLD for $118,750
  • <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> E.H. SHEPARD, Original drawing for A.A. Milne’s The House at Pooh Corner.<br>$40,000-60,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> BERNARD RATZER, Plan of the City of New York in North America, surveyed in the years 1766 & 1767. $80,000-100,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> THOMAS JEFFERSON, Autograph letter signed comparing Logan, Tecumseh, and Little Turtle to the Spartans. Monticello: 15 February 1821. $14,000-18,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN C. FREMONT, Narrative of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains, in the Year 1842.. Abridged edition, the only one containing the folding map From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $3,000-5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ZANE GREY, Album containing 94 large format photographs of Grey and party at Catalina Island, Arizona, and fishing in the Pacific. From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $5,000-$8,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> WILLIAM COMBE, A History of Madeira ... illustrative of the Costumes, Manners, and Occupations of the Inhabitants. produced by Ackermann in 1821; From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ERIC TAVERNER, Salmon Fishing... One of 275 copies signed by Taverner, published in 1931,From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN WHITEHEAD, Exploration of Mount Kina Balu, North Borneo. Whitehead reached the high point of Kinabalu in 1888. Part of a major group of travel books from the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN LONG, Voyages and Travels of an Indian Interpreter and Trader, describing the Manners and Customs of the North American Indians... The first edition of 1791. $3,000-$5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> SAMUEL BECKETT, Stirrings Still. This, Beckett’s last work of fiction with original lithographs by Le Brocquy, limited to 200 copies signed by the author and the artist. From the Estate of Howard Kaminsky.. $1,500-$2,500
  • <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>

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