Book Fairs | October 13, 2023

Empire State Rare Book and Print Fair Report

Credit: Adobe Stock

Thousands of collectors, fans, and aficionados flocked to The Empire State Rare Book and Print Fair at the St. Bartholomew’s Church (St. Bart’s) in New York City. The debut fair featured more than 50 exhibitors from across the country and showcased thousands of beautiful and rare books, prints, works on paper, and ephemera from around the globe.  

Some of the most exciting sales over the weekend (October 5-7) included  a signed first edition of Ulysses by James Joyce (one of 750 copies) in the original wrappers through James Cummins Bookseller for $72,500 and a first edition copy in cloth of Little Women sold by B&B Rare Books for $27,500. 

During the Preview Party Guster lead singer Ryan Miller performed his hit Empire State live accompanied by New York Philharmonic harpsichordist Paolo Bourdigon. Royal expert and author Hugo Vickers, who had flown in from London for the event,  and Sir Michael Lindsay-Hogg, author, artist and director, were among the speakers and regaled guests with stories about both British royalty and rock icons like The Rolling Stones.

"We were thrilled with the fair’s launch in New York, an epicenter of culture and collectors,” said Eve Lemon, who co-founded Fine Books Fairs with husband Edward in 2022. “Our goal when we started was to introduce books to a new generation that rely on the internet and may not have discovered the pleasure, and the beauty and history, that come with actual books. Over the three days, we saw that guests not only returned, but they brought people with them…. It was much more than a place to buy books, it was a weekend filled with entertainment and discoveries in what is a truly historic and impressive setting, St. Barts.”

Fine Book Fairs next book fair will take place in Philadelphia December 7-9 at Trinity Center for Urban Life on 22nd and Spruce Street. A portion of the proceeds from ticket sales went to the Antiquarian Booksellers' Benevolent Fund, which is dedicated to providing timely financial assistance to those in the book trade who find themselves in a time of need.