Rare Book Monthly

Articles - November - 2006 Issue

The Seattle Antiquarian Book Fair

A lively affair for a thousand collectors


By Bruce McKinney

Over the weekend of October 14th and 15th, the Seattle Antiquarian Book Fair was held on the grounds of the 1962 World's Fair. It was the perfect setting for the well-attended affair. The fair was organized, as it has been for the past 9 years, by Louis Collins of Louis Collins Books and David Gregor of Gregor Rare Books. Ninety-one exhibitors, primarily from the Northwest, brought on average about 300 items to sell. On Saturday morning, promptly at 10:00 am, the doors opened to an energetic crowd that passed 400 by noon and reached 1000 late in the day according to the show promoters. On Sunday another 600 visited. By all accounts and standards the attendance was very good. In an exit survey conducted by AE, buyers were ebullient, mostly pleased or very pleased with what they found and bought. They did not however spend exceptional amounts of money.

Dealers who brought what they wanted to sell did less well than those who brought what the crowd wanted to buy. By this I simply mean that roughly a thousand motivated people spent 2 to 3 hours of their weekend looking for what they wanted to buy and nothing changed their predetermined course. Ninety percent wanted to buy inexpensive books and did so. Larry Ewing of Bainbridge Island who sells 20th century military material summed it up this way. "It was a great fair. I sold 65 books for almost $3,000." The audience was interested and determined, knew what it would spend and spent it.

Michael Elmer of Michael's Books had a similar experience. He brought 500 books, a mixture of collectible and inexpensive material, sold more 10% of his titles and has already signed up for the 2007 show.

For Mark Wessel of Wessel & Lieberman "it was a good fair for many, a good fair for us" but he also said "the jury is still out on the future of fairs. Their place in bookselling is changing and it's a challenge to make them work."

For Jerry Shepard of San Francisco it was a learning experience. "This is my third show and they are a necessary part of bookselling." He too has already signed up for 2007.

For Thomas Goldwasser of San Francisco, "It's always a pleasure to exhibit in Seattle. I came with three goals: to meet new collectors, buy inventory and sell books and I went home 2 for 3."

Rare Book Monthly

  • Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Winston Churchill. The Second World War. Set of First-Edition Volumes. 6,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: A.A. Milne, Ernest H. Shepard. A Collection of The Pooh Books. Set of First-Editions. 18,600 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Salvador Dalí, Lewis Carroll. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Finely Bound and Signed Limited Edition. 15,000 USD
    Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ian Fleming. Live and Let Die. First Edition. 9,500 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter Series. Finely Bound First Printing Set of Complete Series. 5,650 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ernest Hemingway. A Farewell to Arms. First Edition, First Printing. 4,200 USD
  • Gonnelli:
    Auction 50
    Books, Autographs & Manuscripts
    March 6th-7th 2024
    Gonnelli: Cramer, [Picasso, Chagall , Miró], Trente ans d'activité. Starting price 4800€
    Gonnelli: Futurism
    Gonnelli: Avienus, Opera. 1488. Starting price 1200€
    Gonnelli: Vimont, Relation de ce qui s'est passé en la Nouvelle France, en l'année 1642. Starting price 5000€
    Gonnelli: Goedart, Metamorphosis et historia naturalis insectorum. 1662.
    Gonnelli: Il Petrarcha con la spositione di M. Giovanni Andrea Gesualdo.
    Gonnelli: Poblacion, De usu astrolabi compendium.
  • Il Ponte, Feb. 27-28: KUPKA, Frantisek (1871-1957) - Quatre histoires de blanc et noir. Paris: Marcel Baque, 1926. €5.000-€8.000
    Il Ponte, Feb. 27-28: VASI, Giuseppe Agostino (1710-1782) - Raccolta delle più belle vedute antiche, e moderne di Roma disegnate ed incise secondo lo stato presente. Rome: A. Vasi, 1786. €4.000-€6.000
    Il Ponte, Feb. 27-28: SALAMANCA, Antonio (1478-1562) - [First map depicting the bay of Naples]. [Rome: 1538]. €3.000-€5.000
  • Bonhams, Ending Feb. 21: A JAMES MADISON THANKSGIVING PROCLAMATION. $12,000 - $18,000
    Bonhams, Ending Feb. 21: A JAMES MONROE PRESIDENTIAL SERVICE SOUP BOWL. $6,000 - $9,000
    Bonhams, Ending Feb. 21: A FRANKLIN PIERCE BRUSHED SILK TOP HAT. $10,000 - $15,000
    Bonhams, Ending Feb. 21: LINCOLN ENDORSEMENT: "I AM ALWAYS FOR THE MAN WHO WISHES TO WORK." $15,000 - $20,000
    Bonhams, Ending Feb. 21: A RUTHERFORD B. HAYES CIVIL WAR-ERA TRAVEL DESK. $4,000 - $6,000
    Bonhams, Ending Feb. 21: FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT'S FINAL PRESIDENTIAL AUTOMOBILE FLAG. $20,000 - $30,000
    Bonhams, Ending Feb. 21: GARFIELD LS AS PRESIDENT ALLUDING TO THE "STAR-ROUTE" SCANDAL: "REGRETTING THE EMBARRASSMENTS WHICH THE EVENT HAS CAUSED US BOTH." $25,000 - $35,000
    Bonhams, Ending Feb. 21: AN 18K GOLD AND ENAMEL WILLIAM MCKINLEY INAGURATION POCKETWATCH. $15,000 - $20,000
    Bonhams, Ending Feb. 21: A JOHN F. KENNEDY PRESIDENTIAL MOTORCADE FLAG. $80,000 - $120,000
    Bonhams, Ending Feb. 21: PRESIDENT KENNEDY'S LAST DAY: OFFICIAL SCHEDULE ANNOTATED BY SPECIAL ASSISTANT DAVE POWERS WITH A MINUTE-BY-MINUTE DETAIL OF THE DAY'S ACTIONS. $40,000 - $60,000

Article Search

Archived Articles

Ask Questions