Fairs | May 2018 | A. N. Devers

The ABA Rare Book Fair London: Part One

In just over two weeks the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association will host its 61st annual London fair, and for the first time will move to central London's Battersea Park. The three-day event will feature 170 leading UK and international dealers, and is the centerpiece of over two months of activities relating to Rare Books London


Here's a very small sample of what's for sale at Battersea, with much more to come next week. 


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Justin Croft Antiquarian Books has sent us a sublime edition of Le Livre des mortes [The Book of the Dead], published in Paris by G. Leblanc in 1948. Held in a black chemise and slipcase, it is a folio with text and plates etched and engraved throughout and in its original wrappers. Illustrated by Anton Prinner, an important transgender artist who "habitually was addressed by his friend Picasso as 'Monsieur Madame.' The book is profound in its large format and drawn from the translation by Pierret after the Turin papyrus. Prinner was likely born Anna Prinner but lived as a man throughout his life, studied painting at the Budapest school of fine arts in 1920 and went to Paris in 1928. He also studied occult sciences, esoteric doctrines, and mystical philosophies. Price £8,000


10851a.jpgJohn Atkinson Fine & Rare Books has a first UK edition of recently deceased and much heralded theoretical physicist Stephen W. Hawking's bestselling and famous book, A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes, uncommon with inserted postcard sent from Hawking's address at the University of Cambridge. Price £1,750


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And coinciding nicely with the exhibition on Captain Cook's voyages that just opened at the British Library, to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the departure of the Endeavour on his first voyage, Maggs Bros. Ltd. Rare Books & Manuscripts has shared a first edition of James Cook and John Hawkesworth's stunner, An Account of the Voyages Undertaken by the Order of his Present Majesty for Making Discoveries in the Southern Hemisphere and successively performed by Commodore Byron, Captain Wallis, Captain Carteret and Captain Cook, in the Dolphin, the Swallow and the Endeavour...


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This Account is in full tree calf binding, contemporary to publication, that has come from the library of the Earls of Macclesfield. This set is offered to the market for the first time, having been held back by the family from the series of Sotheby's sales in the 2000s. Price: £15,000


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Finally for today, Weird Stories, a wonderfully witchy and scarce volumue from Jonathan Kearns Rare Books and Curiosities. Published by Chatto & Windus in 1884, it is, says Kearns, "one of the scarcest collections of Victorian weird tales from a widely acclaimed master in the field," with stories including "The Old House in Vauxhall Walk" and the legendary "Old Mrs. Jones." Price: £2,500


Images courtesy of the booksellers