Rare Book Monthly

Articles - December - 2009 Issue

A Fair Duet - Sacramento and Seattle Book Fairs 2009

Chrisloker seattle

Chris Loker of Children's Book Gallery.


Naturally, book fairs are really great for collectors to find things they cannot find anywhere else, but for a tiny bookstore such as mine, the prices on most of the books were prohibitive. Even with a 20-25% discount, which most dealers give, it is difficult to make any sort of profit selling books that one buys at a book fair. For the high end dealers, that is not so much of a problem, but I have to admit, I didn't spend a lot of money in Seattle. However, in Sacramento I found some really good, affordable Western Americana marked at 40-50% off including an 1884 Atlas of the Comstock Mines, the Comstock being where we have our store. This discount made the books profitable for resale. However, the same dealers were also at the Seattle Fair with some of the same inventory, but these were not discounted, so I didn't buy any more.

Needless to say, that didn't stop me from (not literally) drooling over many of the fabulous books, and some really nice prints and ephemera that I found at both fairs. It is impossible in the space allotted to mention all the wonderful booksellers, so don't be offended, you were all wonderful. I carry some nice natural history and agriculture books, so I was quite fascinated by one book that had the first printed pictures of insects, published in the mid-1600s and another dealer who had a great collection of antiquarian bee books with terrific plates.

Possibly, the most fun at any book fair is seeing and talking to old friends and acquaintances. It was a great pleasure to see Rob Roulon-Miller who came all the way from St. Paul. He is one of the instructors/booksellers/mentors that I met last year when I took the Colorado Antiquarian Bookseller training seminar. He said that he does the Seattle Fair often because he does well there. It was good to see Steve Blackmer, a long-time acquaintance, from Chanticleer Books in Sonoma. He has been at almost every fair I've been to. He was at both Sacramento and Seattle and said he was doing quite well. Bud Plant and Anne Hutchison from the Nevada City, California, area were there and Bud tried to tempt me with some very nice collectible gun books. I'll be calling him in the near future. I chatted with Lori Hughes, the Cookbook Lady from El Sobrante, who was at both fairs and did well at both fairs. She told me that, in general, she had one of her best years ever. I have to say I was surprised to hear that as most of the other dealers I have spoken to had a tough year.

We also met some new folks. My husband always heads for the maritime books. He's an old salt and he found some great stuff at Greg Gibson's Ten Pound Island Books from Gloucester, Massachusetts, Ocean Book Berth in Seattle, and Pringle Creek Books in Salem, Oregon. I was interested to see several book publishers who publish not only their own works, but other folks as well. Also, my grandparents were world travelers - mostly in the Orient - and I have some Japanese books that Carolyn Staley was anxious to see. She had a lovely display of Asian art and books.

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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