Rare Book Monthly

Articles - May - 2010 Issue

Sacramento's Spring Book Fair, Eugene's Spring Book Sale... and a Word About Pricing

Jimkaybookbomb

Sacramento Fair promoter Jim Kay.


By Karen Wright

This year's first annual Sacramento Spring Book Fair was quite a success, according to Jim Kay, the show's promoter.

I asked Jim how the show went. "Pretty well, we actually had more people than we did at the September Fair. It was sort of a surprise since this was the first time that we've done the spring show and it was in a month that people were not used to coming to it. I did give out thousands of free passes to get customers in."

I asked him if he planned to continue doing the show twice a year and he said that he will and encouraged all booksellers to participate as it is less expensive than many, has a great venue, and is very friendly.

We arrived early Friday afternoon and set up. One of the hardest things about fairs is to know what to bring. If I bring lots of Western Americana -- my specialty -- then that's what everyone else brings and there's a glut of it. If I bring cookbooks and garden books, there will be a wealth of them about. Last fall, I didn't bring any orchid books, and, of course, several people asked for them, so, this time I brought lots of orchid books because the Sacramento Orchid Society is very active, and I emailed them twice to notify them that I had more than 20 excellent orchid books that they could see at the book fair. I got one orchid book collector and he's not even in the society. I think it has something to do with Murphy's Law. My new rule of thumb is to bring the nicest, most eclectic books I have and hope for the best.

There were not quite as many sellers as the Fall Fair brings in, so we had a bit more space to move around and do some displays, which was nice. I think the more books that are face-front tend to sell. Once we were set up, we walked the grid to see what everyone else had brought. There was lots of great stuff. In particular I found a whole lot of Mark Twain in several different booths. Discovery Bay Books in Walnut Creek had some very fine looking British firsts of some of Twain's work. We live in Mark Twain country, so I'm always interested in what is out there. I only bought a couple though because they were priced too high, even with a dealer discount, to make any profit on resale. More about that later.

There was a new gal, Liz Pollock, from Santa Cruz this year. She's been in business since 2007 and this was her first show. Her store is called The Cook's Bookcase. She has unique and out-of-print books on cooking and wine, with a large section on French cooking. She also has books on food technology, agriculture and crops, letterheads and bills of ladings, and the like. She had a nice collection of reasonably priced cookbooks and she told me that she did pretty well. We discussed the "condition" of books and she told me that as long as the books were in moderately good condition, she would buy and sell them as she really enjoyed "putting the cookbooks in the hands of people who would use them." She has a webpage, www.cooksbookcase.com, but it isn't in working order as yet.

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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