Rare Book Monthly

Articles - December - 2009 Issue

A Fair Duet - Sacramento and Seattle Book Fairs 2009

Seattle overall

The Seattle Book Fair.


By Karen Wright

We had the great good fortune to be able to attend both the Sacramento and Seattle Book Fairs this year. Though we did not have booths this time, we are probably going to do both in 2010. Both shows were overflowing with thousands of wonderful, mostly collectible books.

Though you might expect the two fairs to be very much the same as they are both west coast and had many of the same participants, the fairs were very different from one another. There are more readers and collectors in the Pacific Northwest than there are in Central California and I’m sure the weather has a lot to do with it.

Let's face it; the weather in Seattle is much more conducive to reading than the weather in Sacramento. In Seattle, the gray skies and damp, chilly weather make one want to sit by a nice warm fire, drink tea or wine, and read a good book; in my case, probably a new British mystery. The Seattle fair seemed to attract more serious high end collectors whereas the Sacramento fair attracted more of a medium range collector and more affordable books to the general reading public. After all, in Sacramento most of the year it's warm and sunny and one wants to be outside working in the garden and going for bike rides along the river; or maybe fishing.

We pulled into Seattle after a very long, two-day drive from the wilds of Nevada. We had reserved a room at La Quinta Hotel just about 6 blocks from the Seattle Exhibition Hall where the book fair was being held. It was surprisingly reasonable (I didn't say cheap!) and very, very clean and nice; quite luxurious, actually, when you take into account that we usually stay at Motel 6. We were on the seventh floor which was a new experience for our dog, Sassi, who got to ride in her first elevator. There is a really nice dog park directly across the street from the hotel, so she had a great time. And for other dog owners/booksellers who come to future Seattle fairs, there is a terrific doggie day care called the Dog Lounge Downtown just about 5 blocks from the hotel where they pamper your pooch. It is open 7 days a week, free for the first day, and quite reasonable every day after that. Call first because they have lots of requirements to bring a dog there - immunizations and the like.

A surprising number of the United States were represented in 88 booths in Seattle with booksellers from Minnesota, Massachusetts, New York, Chicago, Texas, Tennessee, South Carolina, Illinois, Florida, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, Connecticut, Utah, Alabama, lots of Oregon, California and Washington State. The prize for most distance, however, goes to Adrian Harrington Rare Books who came all the way from London!

Sacramento was more of a local a-Fair with most sellers being from California, Arizona, Oregon, and Nevada. Jim Kay, from Bookbomb in Sacramento, is the organizer of the Sacramento fair. He said the general consensus was that most of the dealers at the Sacramento Fair did well. "If the books were reasonably priced," he added. The really high end books did not do as well. This year, he had 400 people, with 50 plus dealers, some sharing booths.

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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