November 13, 2012

2012 Chelsea Fair Up By 12%

With 81 exhibitors from five countries, a waiting list, and increased attendance, most exhibitors felt that the 22nd Antiquarian Book Fair, held at Chelsea Town Hall, London on Friday & Saturday, November 2 & 3, 2012 had been very enjoyable and extremely successful.

Results show indeed that the median sale figure this year was £3,325, which was up 12% on 2011 - showing that the majority of exhibitors may have done better this year than before. In addition Friday sales were up 8% and attendance was up nearly 30%. Overall attendance was up 14% at 1,480.*
There was also an increase in attendance on Saturday, but sales appeared down that day by 30% compared to 2011 and despite the good median results, the figures would indicate that less was sold at the top of the market than last year. Overall sales were actually down 4.5% at £360,000 with mean sales down 10% at £4,438.

Chairman of the Fair, Leo Cadogan said: “This year’s sales proved that the top end of the market is more volatile at small to medium book fairs, and big sales do not always conclude on the fair day, however we understand that a major sale might be closed later in the month. It was gratifying that the mid-end of the market, seen to be under the greatest stress at the moment, did so well.”

Chelsea Book Fair was the final ABA Fair of the year, and President Laurence Worms noted that: “2012 has been a very successful year for the Antiquarian Book Fairs, organised by the ABA, notably with sales at The International Antiquarian Book Fair at London Olympia in May being up by 22%.”

Comments from Chelsea exhibitors were overwhelmingly favourable, praising the smooth
organisation and welcoming the introduction of tours of the fair: “A very enjoyable Chelsea! We sold better than usual, bought some good quality and one bargain and met at least one new customer, who promises to be a regular in the future.”

Summing it up was: “Brilliant fair - if Carlsberg ran a fair it would be like this”.

*Attendance is calculated on the number of individuals attending the fair and does not add those who come in to the fair on both days or more than once on one day.

London International Antiquarian Book Fair, Olympia - June 13-15, 2013
Antiquarian Book Fair, Chelsea - November 1- 2, 2013

For more details on the fair, please visit or follow on twitter @ChelseaBookFair