Book Fairs | October 24, 2023

Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair Returns October 27-29

Peter Harrington

On display from Peter Harrington will be a unique questionnaire, sent to Elizabeth Bishop by her publishers and filled out by her in advance of the publication of The Diary of “Helena Morley”, her first prose work, a translation of Alice Brant’s Minha vida de menina.

The Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair (BIABF) returns to the Hynes Convention Center in Downtown Boston, October 27-29, 2023. Celebrating its 45th year, this three-day event features fine and rare printed materials from around the globe, including illuminated manuscripts, modern first editions, children’s books, ephemera, photographs, maps, and autographs, as well as antiquarian books on a vast array of topics.

More than 100 rare book dealers from Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, Serbia, the UK, and the US will be exhibiting for seasoned bibliomaniacs and first-time attendees. Prices range from the millions to the eminently affordable. A complete list of exhibitors can be found here.

In recent years, the BIABF has increasingly captured the attention of novice and young collectors seeking one-of-a-kind offerings at more accessible price points. For those wanting to start a collection without breaking the bank, there will be dealers offering 'Discovery' items priced at $100 or less. 

“This is one of the most important annual events in the country for rare book enthusiasts,” says Julie Roper CEO of Capricorn Event Management, LLC, who has managed the Boston Book Fair since 2015. “After the height of the pandemic, we are seeing resurgent demand for in-person fairs, where a global community of the top dealers offer the most sought-after collections of books, maps, illustrations, and ephemera on the market.”

Highlights from this year's fair include:

  • a rare example of the Ars Minor of Aelius Donatus (a 15th century Latin primer) possibly printed before the Gutenberg Bible
  • a first edition of Sylvia Plath's poem A Winter Ship
  • a 1563 edition of Lucretius' influential On the Nature of Things
  • a contemporary art book by Franco-Mexican artist Lorena Velazquez
  • a lavishly illustrated 1533 French Book of Hours
  • the first ‘indestructible’ German children's book printed on fabric in 1840
  • first editions of John Steinbeck's East of Eden, Fyodor Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment, and Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian

The Boston Book Fair is sanctioned by the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America (ABAA) and the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB).