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>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Francis Scott Key, <i>Star Spangled Banner,</i> first printing, c. 1814-16. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> William Sydney Porter, a.k.a. “O. Henry,” archive of drawings made to illustrate a lost mining memoir, c. 1883-84. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> [Bay Psalm Book], printed for Hezekiah Usher of Boston, Cambridge, c. 1648-65. $50,000 to $75,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Book of Mormon, first edition, Palmyra, 1830. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>Noticia estraordinario,</i> probable first announcement in Mexico City of the fall of the Alamo, 1836. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Patrick Gass, first edition of earliest first-hand account of the Lewis and Clarke expedition, Pittsburgh, 1807. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Diploma from the Princeton Class of 1783, commencement attended by Washington & Continental Congress. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>Sprague Light Cavalry!</i> color-printed broadside, NY, 1863. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>The Lincoln & Johnson Union Campaign Songster,</i> Philadelphia, 1864. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Lucy Parsons, labor organizer, albumen cabinet card, New York, 1886. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Daniel L.F. Swift, journal as third mate on a Pacific Whaling voyage, 1848-1850. $3,000 to $4,0000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Two photos of Thomas Moran, Grand Canyon, silver prints, 1901. $1,500 to $2,500.
  • <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Helvelius. Two Autograph Letters Signed to Francis Aston, Royal Society Secretary, noting his feud with Robert Hooke, 5 pp total, 1685. $70,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Newton, Isaac. Autograph manuscript on God, 4 pp, c.1710, "In the beginning was the Word...."?$100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. First edition, first issue. Untrimmed copy in contemporary boards. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Lincoln, Abraham. Signed photograph, beardless portrait with Civil War provenance. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> IMPEACHMENT. Original engrossed copy of the first Andrew Johnson impeachment resolution vote. $120,000 to $180,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Mucha, Alphonse. 11 original pencil drawings for?<i>Andelicek z Baroku,</i> "Litte Baroque Angel," Prague, 1929. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Einstein, Albert. Annotated Galley Proofs for <i>The Meaning of Relativity.</i> 1921. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Silverstein, Shel. Original maquette for <i>The Giving Tree,</i> 34 original drawings. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Roth, Philip. Typed Manuscript with substantial autograph corrections for an unpublished sequel to <i>The Breast.</i> $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Taupin, Bernie. Autograph Manuscript, the original draft of lyrics for Elton John's "Candle in the Wind," 2 pp, 1973. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> HARVEY, WILLIAM. <i>De Motu Cordis et Sanguinis in Animalibus Anatomica Exercitatio.</i> Padua: 1643. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> CESALPINO, ANDREA. <i>Peripateticarum Quaestionum Libri Quinque.</i> Venice: 1571. $30,000 to $40,000.

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