What to See & Do at the Brooklyn Antiquarian Book Fair

Courtesy of Augur Down Books

The Brooklyn Antiquarian Book Fair, which makes its sixth annual return to the Brooklyn Expo Center this weekend, has become a vibrant kick-off to the fall book fair schedule. Featuring 110 dealers and a slate of engaging events, it should not be missed. Some booksellers circulated lists of their fair highlights earlier this week. Here are a few that particularly caught my eye:

The Vermont-based Augur Down Books is bringing several items of NYC interest, including three watercolors on board, dating from c. 1937-1940, depicting automobile intersections in Queens. The bookseller aptly describes them as “interesting relics from the Robert Moses era, which shaped the infrastructure landscape of New York City.” Pictured above is an undated watercolor, "Linden Boulevard Overpass at Southern Parkway.” The price is $1,200.

Courtesy of Carpe Librum

The original art for the dust jacket of H.P. Lovecraft’s The Outsider and Others will be on offer at the Brooklyn Antiquarian Book Fair.

Because of where I reside, it was a 17-century Catskills land patent that initially caught my attention while perusing Carpe Librum’s list, but then another unique item popped into view: the original art for the dust jacket of H.P. Lovecraft’s The Outsider and Others (Arkham House, 1939). Executed by Virgil Finlay, the artwork consists of a montage of drawings Finlay had formerly published in Weird Tales mounted on a black board. Says the bookseller: “Without equal as the most important graphic representation of Lovecraft’s profoundly influential work.” The price is $25,000.

Courtesy of Captain Ahab's Rare Books

A copy of H.G. Wells’ The First Men in the Moon signed by astronaut Neil Armstrong, offered by Captain Ahab's Rare Books.

In the broad, impressive selection that spans children’s first editions to Beat poetry offered by Captain Ahab’s Rare Books, it was this 1902 Tauchnitz Edition of H.G. Wells’ The First Men in the Moon that was impossible to pass by. Not only was it owned by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author William Safire, it is signed by astronaut Neil Armstrong (“Neil Armstrong / Apollo 11”). It too is priced at $25,000.

But wait, there’s more! One of the best things about the Brooklyn fair is the programming. To wit: Book artist and publisher Richard Minsky will host a book launch, read-in, and signing of Barbara Slate’s Mueller Report Graphic Novel: Volume 2.

There are also several seminars and exhibitions. Considering the book excerpt of Cabinets of Curiosities featured in our current issue, a presentation on said collections by antiquarian bookseller, librarian, and former dime museum attendant Will Baker sounds particularly appealing!