January 2013 | Rebecca Rego Barry

The Booksellers' "Collective" Returns to California 

For many collectors and dealers, February is a high point in the year -- it offers the chance to browse, buy, and sell at several major book fairs in California, including the Codex International Book Fair, the Santa Monica Show, and the California International Antiquarian Book Fair, held this year in San Francisco. Over the next couple of weeks, we'll see preparations in the form of final book fair schedules, booth numbers, and catalogues.

Collective.pngOne group of enterprising booksellers has banded together for the second year to issue a "collective" catalogue. Each of the six ABAA/ILAB booksellers--three from California, one from Utah, one from Maine, and one from New York--offers herein two or three highlights to show "the flavor of their taste and discrimination." (Last year's debut effort was every bit as enticing.) So what kind of gold can you expect to find in California this year?

-Tavistock Books celebrates its California origins with an unique Death Valley photograph album of original black-and-white prints by Floyd B. Evans, taken during the late 1950s ($7,500).

-The Book Shop (also of California) likewise offers a California treasure: a first edition of Mary Austin's nature classic, The Land of Little Rain, in the scarce dust jacket ($1,500).

-B&B Rare Books of New York highlights its modern firsts, including the first edition of Raymond Chandler's The High Window in "superb unrestored dust jacket" ($14,000).

-Ken Sanders Rare Books, a full-service shop in Salt Lake City, has a neat-looking fine press book on the history of irrigation and water in the Salt Lake Valley that he is selling alongside the original hand-cut lino-blocks that were used in the printing of the book ($1,000).

-Book Hunter's Holiday, known for its specialization in the works of Dante Alighieri, features some spectacular paper and stick puppets used in the production of a film adaptation of Dante's Inferno (small puppet, $500; larger, $750; entire set, $5,000).

-Lux Mentis of Portland Maine, next in the line in the catalogue, has a fantastic follow-up: a limited edition portfolio of forty-one etchings from Dante's Inferno by Michael Mazur ($12,500).

All but one of the booksellers will exhibit at both the Santa Monica show (Feb. 9-10) and the San Francisco fair the following weekend (Feb. 15-17). It's a busy and exciting time of year in the book trade -- if you can, join in the fun! If you'd like a copy of the collective's catalogue, contact any of the above-mentioned booksellers directly.

This year's collegial catalogue is dedicated to the memory of passionate bookseller and collector Roger Gozdecki of Anthology Rare Books, who participated in the "collective" last year. He died in April of 2012.