NY Antiquarian Book Fair 2020 Highlights

Credit: Jarndyce Antiquarian Booksellers

A locket associated with Charles Dickens is one of the intriguing objects that will be on offer at the New York International Antiquarian Book Fair beginning March 5.

As Rare Book Week draws near, I find myself scrolling through booksellers’ preview catalogues and lists for the New York International Antiquarian Book Fair, which opens on Thursday, March 5, and runs through Sunday, March 8. From the looks of it, an amazing selection awaits collectors.

So far, my favorite item heading to the fair is the one pictured above. London’s Jarndyce Antiquarian Booksellers will cross the pond with this endearing oval memorial locket inscribed “Papa d. June 9 1870.” That Papa was Charles Dickens; the decorative metal locket was once owned by his daughter-in-law Elizabeth “Bessie” Matilda Evans. Price: $2,000

Credit: Inlibris Gilhofer Nfg

Another fun find comes from Inlibris Gilhofer Nfg., an Austrian rare book and manuscript dealer that plans to display Beethoven’s manuscript shopping list. Written in the maestro’s hand circa 1817, the list includes a mousetrap and a metronome. Price: €95,000 (approx. $103,000)

Tom Goldwasser Rare Books of San Francisco plans to show some of the Willa Cather collection he has just announced, the bulk of which belonged to Cather scholar and former president of Skidmore College David H. Porter. The collection ranges from the author’s own signed copy of The Borzoi, a history of Knopf published in 1920 for $500, to a 1913 first edition of Cather’s O Pioneers! in its extremely rare (virtually extinct) dust jacket, priced at $50,000.

Further highlights can be found in our spring issue’s Rare Book Week printed supplement, including:

Credit: Peter Harrington

London’s Peter Harrington will showcase a first edition of Graham Greene’s 1938 thriller, Brighton Rock, in its lurid pink “exceedingly rare dust jacket,” which might just be enough to peel your eyes away from their Third Folio. Price for the Greene: £87,500 (approx. $115,000); Shakespeare: £500,000 ($655,000)

Triolet Rare Books of Ohio, which specializes in “idiosyncratic and uncommon literary revenants,” puts the spotlight on this understated gem: Jean Cocteau’s L’Ode à Picasso (Paris, 1919) in the original printed wrappers and inscribed by the author. Price: $7,500