Book Fairs | October 29, 2018

ABA Chelsea Rare Book Fair Opens November 2

London—Welcome to Chelsea. Not a boot, bun or soccer match but the friendliest book fair. The ABA Chelsea Rare Book Fair returns to the beautiful and historic Old Town Hall for its 28th edition.

Over eighty exhibitors - from seven European countries and the USA - who specialise in vintage and rare books, first editions, maps, prints, manuscripts and all kinds of ephemera will gather in Chelsea Old Town Hall on 2 & 3 November for the 2018 edition of The ABA Chelsea Rare Book Fair.

With prices starting at just a few pounds, visitors can add something wonderful to an existing collection, find that extra special Christmas gift, or even start a new collection. 

On display will be classics like Dickens' A Christmas Carol, George Eliot's rarest book Scenes of Clerical Life, Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, Austen's Northanger Abbey and Persuasion,  Shelley's Frankenstein and Enid Blyton's children's magazine; photography and art books including photos of the royal family, the first edition of Philippe Halsman's Jump Book, David Hockney's early illustrations from his time at Bradford Grammar School, Edward Burne-Jones The Flower Book containing 38 watercolour designs; maps of London and way beyond;  expedition adventures such as the first printed record of Cook's first voyage with 'Endeavour'; beautifully bound editions including an example of Scottish 'wheel' binding; poetry from Heaney and Coleridge, and a scarce collection of poems written by Sylvia Pankhurst during one of her numerous terms in prison, Writ on Cold Slate;  and much, much more.

The ABA will also be commemorating the centenary of the end of the First World War. Exhibitors will be displaying related works including a scarce photogravure on india of 'Jutland Jack' - at 16 years old one of the first recipients of the Victoria Cross, editions of poetry by Siegfried Sassoon  and Rupert Brooke, a handwritten letter on the first day of the Somme, a woman's manuscript of working for the War Victims' Relief Committee of the Society of Friends, an edition of Peace in Our Time with dust jacket designed by E McKnight Kauffer, a rare volume of poetry by Vera Brittain, Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks and novels by Pat Barker.

Have a wander round and seek out your favourites, join a free Guided Tour led by expert dealers on topics such as 'Eating Books', 'Modern Firsts and Children's Firsts', 'From Aldous to Zadie: Writers of the Modern Era', bookbinding and an introduction to collecting rare books.  Come to the Book Signing, enjoy tea and cake in the café.

Opening Times
Friday 2 November         2pm - 7pm
Saturday 3 November   11am - 5pm

Entry is free if visitors pre-register at 


5:30pm: Introduction to Rare Books
Andrea Mazzocchi, a specialist in Medical, Gastronomy and Travel books from Bernard Quaritch, will be providing an introduction to the world of rare book collecting.

6pm: From Aldous to Zadie: Writers of the Modern Era
Anke Timmermann from Type & Forme will share the stories behind rare editions and beautiful dustwrappers, modern classics and forgotten bestsellers of the 20th and 21st centuries.

1pm: A Whistle Stop Introduction to the History of Bookbinding
Antiquates' bookseller Tom Lintern-Mole will take you through how books were bound from their earliest appearance right through to the 20th century.

1:30pm: Introduction to Rare Books
By Sophie Schnedierman, a specialist in private press and illustrated books for over 28 years. For novice collectors or those with a keen interest in book collecting.

2pm: Highlights of Modern Firsts and Modern Children's
Dr Les Ashton of Ashton Rare Books will be discussing a wide and varied range of Modern Firsts and Modern Children's titles to reveal what makes them so special.

2:30pm: Beautiful Bindings
Andrew McGeachin of Heywood Hill Books will be taking us through the history of the decorated book, from the illuminated manuscript to the modern day.

3pm: Eating Books
First time exhibitor at Chelsea, Ben Kinmont from the USA, will be giving a delicious talk about collecting books on Gastronomy.


Friday 2 Nov 4.30pm

Rare dealer David Batterham will sign copies of Dear Howard, a hugely enjoyable collection of letters to the painter Howard Hodgkin, with an Introduction by Barry Humphries and described by Alan Bennett as portraying 'a gallery of eccentrics with Batterham himself the most notable, drunk, often penniless...'.