Book Fairs | January 14, 2015

54th Stuttgart Antiquarian Book Fair



“It has become trendy to declare the book obsolete in this brave new world of digitalized data rubbish”, book historian Reinhard Wittmann declares in the new “Handbook 2015/2016” published by the German Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association (VDA). “It may have lost its general function and its social prestige, but it will survive as a historical and artistic object, far beyond its actual content, as a time machine for the aura of times long gone.”

The German Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association would like to invite you on a bibliophilic time voyage on the occasion of the 54th Stuttgart Antiquarian Book Fair from 23rd to 25th January 2015. About 80 leading antiquarian booksellers from Germany, Italy, Great Britain, the USA, Switzerland and the Netherlands will present rare and precious manuscripts, books, autographs and prints from five centuries of book printing and book art. 

Beautifully illustrated manuscripts, scientific milestones, avant-garde book art, autographs and manuscripts of important scientists and artists, rare first editions of world literature, children’s books, artists’ books, maps, views, decorative prints and book objects: The fair fascinates by its diversity, from unique little objects to books worth millions, from the Middle Ages to the 21st century.

The Stuttgart Antiquarian Book Fair, organised by the German Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association under the auspices of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers, is one of the most prestigious of its kind worldwide. It starts off the bibliophile’s year, which will take book lovers from Stuttgart to California, Milan, Paris, New York, London, and as far afield as Australia. It is the second oldest rare book fair in the world, and the oldest and largest one in Germany. Together with the 29th Antiquaria / Ludwigsburg, which is held at the same time, over 160 art and book dealers and thousands of bibliophiles can be found in the region at the end of January.

So, there are many reasons for coming to Stuttgart from 23rd to 25th January. The best being, of course, the exciting items presented in the fair catalogue, which contains the highlights that are being offered on the stands - an amazing five million Euros worth of merchandise. It is tempting, but futile, to speculate on the sum of the worth of all objects at the fair!

First time exhibitors are four young German dealers: Daniela Kromp, who specialises in unique copies and the history of books, Kotobuki & Ruetz, who deal in Far Eastern Art, the Antiquariat am Moritzberg specialising in early printed books, and the Heinrich Heine Antiquariat, which will be bringing a brilliant Elzevier collection: all Elzevier’s “Republics” as well as most other prints from that press, collected in his lifetime by Fritz W. Weddigen. This collection will be sold as a lot for 145,000 ??.

Heribert Tenschert’s Bibermühle - famous for his unique high class offers - will be presenting masterworks of medieval book illumination from the Parisian workshop of the artist Jean Pichore: a sublime breviary of the poet Octovien de Saint-Gelais, created in Paris in 1494 (760,000 ??). He will also exhibit a Book of Hours for Paris from about 1520 with more than 100 miniatures (340,000 ??).

Highlights of 20th century book art will be showcased by the Galerie Valentien offering a superb selection of works by Oskar Schlemmer, amongst them a study for his mural “Family” (48,000 ??). For anyone interested in this artist: There is a highly important exhibition of his works at the same time in the Stuttgarter Staatsgalerie, right around the corner. The Berlin dealer Günter Linke shows masterpieces of the avant-garde: Tristan Tzara’s “Circuit total par la lune et par la couleur”, with a signed woodcut by Marcel Janco (50,000 ??).

Amongst many other bibliophilic highlights, three exceptional collections will be presented at this year’s Stuttgart Antiquarian Book Fair: autographs from the collection Steinhausen-Paquet- Klingmüller, offered by Thomas Hatry from Heidelberg. Amongst them are a handwritten poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (25,000 ??) and a manuscript by Friedrich Schiller (24,000 ??).

The Austrian bookseller Norbert Donhofer will be exhibiting the most beautiful items from the former library of Max Morgenstern: an extraordinary collection from the grand times of the Viennese “Belle Epoque”. The books in this collection - comprising the best of the early 20th century private presses - were bound by the Wiener Werkstätte especially for Max Morgenstern. Outstanding: “Acht Fabeln” from the Ernst Ludwig Presse (18,000 ??), Goethe’s “Tagebuch” (6,500 ??), Milton’s “Paradise Lost” from the Doves Press, bound in the original vellum of the Doves Bindery (5,800 ??), and Shakespeare’s “Sonnets” bound by Paul Kersten (5,800 ??).

George Louis Borges imagined paradise as a library. So, this year the Garden of Eden can be found in Stuttgart, next to the central station at the Württembergischer Kunstverein. Come and see, and if you are tempted, just commit that sin. You will certainly not be expelled from this paradise!

Book fair catalogue

The Stuttgart Book Fair Catalogue is available in the internet and as a printed catalogue. Please visit the official website

Lectures - exhibitions - guided tours

Why visit one book fair, if you can have two? Only 10 minutes away from the Stuttgart Fair the Antiquaria / Ludwigsburg will open its doors to visitors from 22th to 24th January 2015. Tickets are valid for both fairs so that bibliophiles have the chance to browse the exceptional offers nearly 160 rare booksellers at the same weekend.
This is unique in Germany. The organizers of both fairs invite all colleagues and collectors to celebrate the beginning of the book fair week with a lecture about:

Books that were never printed - Introduced by Annette Pehnt and Jo Lendle

Annette Pehnt wrote a book about “books” that were never printed, art students of the University of Freiburg designed real covers for these imaginary books.

Literaturhaus / Stuttgart at 8 pm on 19th January 2015

The Private Presses of the Kleukens Brothers - Highlights from the Barbara Achilles Collection

Exhibition: Württembergischer Kunstverein / Stuttgart from 23th to 25th January 2015

Vernissage: Württembergischer Kunstverein / Stuttgart at 6.30 pm on 24th January. With a lecture by John Dieter Brinks, music by Harry Krisch (vibraphone)

Have you really read all these books?

Dieter Lehnhardt and Klaus Walther talk with collectors about their passions and collections.

Book presentation, Saturday 4 pm, Württembergischer Kunstverein / Stuttgart

Appraisal day

The Stuttgart Antiquarian Book Fair invites visitors to bring their books, autographs, prints and manuscripts for free appraisal.

Saturday from 2 to 4 pm, Württembergischer Kunstverein / Stuttgart

Guided tours

The perfect entry to the bibliophile world for beginners: Inge Utzt will show the most valuable, the most exciting and the most amazing collectors‘ items on her daily guided tours for book fair visitors.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 3 pm, Württembergischer Kunstverein / Stuttgart

The German bibliophile societies

Special guests at the Stuttgart Antiquarian Book Fair 2015: Come and meet the German bibliophile societies and learn more about their work and publications.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday during the fair hours, Württembergischer Kunstverein / Stuttgart

For more information, the book fair catalogue, highlights and a calendar of all book-related events during the book fair week visit the official website