Rare Book Monthly

Articles - October - 2008 Issue

Fifteenth Annual Central Valley Antiquarian Book Fair

The Wright Books' booth.


The next acquaintance to come down the aisle was Ed Glaser (Edwin V. Glaser Rare Books in Napa), the gentleman after whom the scholarship was named that I won for the Colorado Seminar. (There's a mouthful.) It was good to see him again and to meet his very nice wife, Lorraine.

The Sacramento Fair is run by Jim Kay. He corralled sixty booksellers this year, twelve more than last year. He managed to pack us all quite neatly into the Scottish Rite Building on 61st in Sacramento. I don't think anyone felt squished in or crowded, there seemed to be plenty of space. In fact, I could probably have brought two or three more boxes of books. There were, however, sellers in the front hall and the back meeting room...sellers, sellers everywhere! I like the building a lot because it is clean, has beautifully maintained wood floors, is nicely lighted, has lots of sunlight and windows, and for once, it wasn't too hot in Sacramento to leave the doors open. We could actually breathe some fresh air. We asked Jim later how successful he felt the fair had been.

"In my judgment, it was an acceptable event. The attendance was down about 20% from last year but the crowd was reasonably large, considering the post-internet book fair micro climate in which we sell. The attendees were buying, as evidenced by the high percentage of people leaving with bags."

Jim is considering doing two fairs a year from now on, one in winter or very early spring, and the annual September fair. He says he is never fully happy with his fair promotions and so, he tells us, "I will continue to grow this book fair, with new marketing and fresh ideas. The last two years have shown me it is possible to have a successful book fair even with the ever looming internet marketplace. I believe that Sacramento is a good town for books and will support two fairs per year." Jim swears that "There will be no increase in booth rents next year."

Friday night before I was even set up, the book dealer next door dropped in for a visit. He bought two hardcover, sci-fi pulp novels with dust jackets which made a peachy start before the GP even arrived on Saturday. From my point of view as a bookseller, I thought there were a lot of wonderful books for sale. I'm always astonished at the variety of books that are out there in the world. It did seem to me that many of the books were very high priced and that a lot of sales could have been made with just a bit trimmed off. My philosophy of bookselling is - I'm a seller, not a collector, so I want to sell them. They look really pretty on the shelves, but they look even better going out the door in bags while I deposit the money in my bank. In this rather grim market and with the Internet biting our butts for every sale, it makes perfect sense to me to sell for a bit less than my optimum price and make up the difference in quantity of sales, because if we don't, the buyer will just go home and order it from ABE or Amazon. Of course, I'm not talking about a $50,000 book, but about the books that are under, say, $100.

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
  • Potter & Potter Auctions
    How History Unfolds on Paper:
    Choice Selections from the Eric C. Caren Collection
    Part IX
    Starting 10AM CST
    April 18, 2024
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: [RUTH, George Herman “Babe” (1895-1948)]. Signed photograph. Circa 1930s. 191 x 248 mm. $1,500 to $2,500.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: HARRISON, Benjamin. Document signed (“Benj Harrison”) as governor of Virginia, certifying the service of Daniel Cumbo, a Black Revolutionary soldier. $6,000 to $9,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: ONE OF THE FIRST PRINTED ANNOUNCEMENTS OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE. $4,000 to $6,000.
    Potter & Potter Auctions
    How History Unfolds on Paper:
    Choice Selections from the Eric C. Caren Collection
    Part IX
    Starting 10AM CST
    April 18, 2024
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: FIRST PRINTING OF LINCOLN’S IMMORTAL GETTYSBURG ADDRESS. $4,000 to $6,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: HIGHLY IMPORTANT MORMON ARCHIVE. ALLEY, George. Archive of 23 Autograph Letters Signed by Mormon Convert George Alley to His Brother Joseph Alley. $10,000 to $20,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: [AVIATION]. [ARMSTRONG, Neil A.] Aviation Hall of Fame Gold Medal MS64 NGC, Awarded to Neil Armstrong in 1979. $2,000 to $3,000.
    Potter & Potter Auctions
    How History Unfolds on Paper:
    Choice Selections from the Eric C. Caren Collection
    Part IX
    Starting 10AM CST
    April 18, 2024
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: NEWLY DISCOVERED FIRST PRINTING OF "WITH MALICE TOWARDS NONE... " FROM THE ONLY NEWSPAPER ACTUALLY ALLOWED TO PARTICIPATE IN LINCOLN’S SECOND INAUGURAL PROCESSION. $4,000 to $8,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: THE MOST IMPORTANT GEORGE WASHINGTON DOCUMENT IN PRIVATE HANDS; GEORGE WASHINGTON’S COMMISSION AS COMMANDER IN CHIEF, 1775, ONE OF ONLY TWO ORIGINALS. $150,000 to $250,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: A VERY RARE ACCOUNT OF BLACKBEARD’S DEATH AND ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT PIRATE ITEMS EXTANT. $3,000 to $5,000.
    Potter & Potter Auctions
    How History Unfolds on Paper:
    Choice Selections from the Eric C. Caren Collection
    Part IX
    Starting 10AM CST
    April 18, 2024
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: EDISON, Thomas. Patent for Edison’s Improvements on the Electric-Light, No. 219,628. [Washington, D.C.: U.S. Patent Office], 16 September 1879. $2,000 to $3,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: [VIETNAM WAR]. The original pen used by Secretary of State William P. Rogers to sign the Vietnam Peace Agreement, Paris, 27 January 1973. $10,000 to $15,000.
    Potter & Potter, Apr. 18: SONS OF LIBERTY FOUNDER COLONEL BARRÉ ANNOTATED TITLE-PAGE, “WHICH OUGHT TO ROUSE UP BRITISH ATTENTION”. $4,000 to $6,000.

Article Search

Archived Articles

Ask Questions