Rare Book Monthly

Articles - December - 2009 Issue

Affairs of the Heart

Leigh3

Leigh Stein: a campaigner


By Bruce McKinney

Comets will not be diverted from their paths. Neither will those in the embrace of books be turned back from their natural course. Recently economic uncertainty and bad weather paled to insignificance for the perhaps one thousand stalwart dealers, collectors and institutions who gathered in Boston for an antiquarian weekend of discussion, pursuit and purchase, just as they have each November for more than three decades. Here, over a fall weekend that can by turns be balmy or frigid, sunny or stormy, sometimes all in a single weekend as is the case for this the 32nd second running of the ABAA fair. Come early Friday morning the ponies are in the starting gate, completing their set-ups ahead of the 5:00 pm launch. In past years dealers have been avid buyers in the pre-opening hours. This year there is less interest because sales have been soft. The show, the first of two this weekend in Boston, will open on the wings of anxiety.

Down the street at the Radisson Boston, the shadow fair organized by Bornstein Shows, is being set up. It will open at 9:00 am Saturday and run to 5:00 pm, a one day high pressure event sandwiched into the ABAA's three day run: Friday 5:00 to 9:00 pm, Saturday noon to 7:00 pm, Sunday noon to 5:00 pm. The shadow fair, on Saturday, opens 3 hours before the ABAA fair and attracts both audiences for a red hot morning that goes flat in the afternoon.

Although these shows are staged near each other they are worlds apart. The ABAA fair is at the tony Hynes Auditorium, the Boston, Book, Print & Ephemera Show occupying a warren of congested rooms. The ABAA fair is floated in a large space it can not fill this year, the shadow fair sited in a giant sardine can, every crack and crevice of its barely sufficient space filled to overflowing. Between the two shows about 200 exhibitors are participating, a handful at both fairs. Both fairs, based on estimates provided by those who attended last year and this, suggest a somewhat smaller attendance but those attending seem committed. Both shows attract the true believers. In tough years that is the way it is.

The shadow fair, as it is called, costs exhibitors only a fifth for comparable space. Only ABAA members and associated organizations can exhibit at the Hynes. The shadow fair is open to all exhibitors with a convincing story and a checkbook.

At both fairs, as the hours and days progress there will be many reports of sales, some substantial, and by many accounts, better than last year. Such fairs, while portrayed as retail events, also play a critical role in providing a window for regional dealers to offer material to visiting national dealers. These shows are all about critical mass.

I have come to Boston to see two exhibiting dealers: The Hanrahans of Wells, Maine who occupy booth 219 at the Hynes and Leigh Stein of Eveleigh Books & Stamps of Dover, Massachusetts in booth 1 at the shadow fair. I have visited both at their home offices during preparations and now come to the fairs to see how they are doing.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Announcing a new Books for Sale platform hosted by Biblio</b>
    <b>List your books simultaneously on Rare Book Hub and Biblio</b>
  • <b>19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Exodus 10:10 to 16:15. Complete Biblical scroll sheet in Hebrew, a Torah scroll panel. Middle East, ca. 10th or 11th century.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Copernicus Refuted. (Astronomy.). Scientific manuscript of a course of studies at Collège de la Trinité, Lyon. 1660s.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Israel’s War of Independence and the Early Days of the IDF. 58 photographs presented to Israel Ber, IDF officer and later convicted spy.
    <b>19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Early Unpublished Darwin letter on the races of man. Autograph Letter Signed [to Henry Denny]. Down, Kent, June 1, [1844].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Classic Image of American Slavery. Kimball, M. H. <i>Emancipated Slaves</i>. New York: George Hanks, 1863.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> (Underground Railroad.) Scaggs, Isaac. Important Runaway Slave Poster: $500 Reward Ran away, or decoyed from the subscriber…
  • <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Newton. <i>Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica</i>. London, 1687.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Josephus. <i>De antiquitate Judaica.</i> Lubeck, 1475-76.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Carlerius. <i>Sporta fragmentorum, Sportula fragmentorum</i>. Brussels, 1478-79.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Fridolin. <i>Der Schatzbehalter</i>. Nuremberg, 1491.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Pinder. <i>Der beschlossen gart des rosenkrantz marie</i>. Nuremberg, 1505.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Isidorus Hispalensis. <i>Synonyma de Homine</i>. Nuremberg, 1470-71.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Durer. Sammelband including <i>Underweysung der messing</i>. Nuremberg, 1525-29.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 19: 19th & 20th Century Prints & Drawings</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 28: Printed & Manuscript Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 5: African-American Fine Art</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 17: Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 19:<br>Art & Storytelling: Photographs & Photobooks</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 26: Rare & Important Travel Posters</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 2:<br>Old Master Through Modern Prints</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 7: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 14: 19th & 20th Century Literature</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 16: Contemporary Art</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 5:<br>Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 14: Illustration Art</b>

Article Search

Archived Articles

Ask Questions