Fairs | March 2018 | Rebecca Rego Barry

Favorites from the NY Book Fairs, 2018

It's not an easy job, but someone has to do it: I spent Friday and Saturday in New York City browsing the antiquarian book fairs. This was my ninth year at the fairs, and they have never failed to amaze.

IMG_0135 copy.jpgIt's simple enough to name my personal favorite from Friday at the New York Antiquarian Book Fair: the impossible-to-miss Jules Galet's El Cuerpo del Hombre...1843-1846, illustrated with 193 striking lithographs, priced at $4,000 in the booth of Deborah Coltham Rare Books. There it was, face out, so to speak, and absolutely stunning.  

Atwood.jpgAnother favorite was a pristine, signed first US edition of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, in Fred Marcellino's iconic dust jacket, brought by Caliban Book Shop. It was $500, and it looks like it was sold before fair's end.

Brass copy.jpgUnder the glass at David Brass Rare Books, the gorgeous blue morocco Tina Miura binding of Bernard C. Middleton's A Catalog of the Thirty-Three Miniature Designer Bindings of You Can Judge a Book By Its Cover (1998), with varicolored onlaid morocco "books," prompted me to stop and take a closer look. The asking price was $8,500.

Two more that tempted: a copy of famous book hunter and author Vincent Starrett's Brillig (1949) with a neat bookplate, seen in Jeff Bergman's booth, and the advance reading copy of the first British edition of Nicholson Baker's novel, A Box of Matches (2002), complete with a promotional book of matches, admired in Ken Lopez's booth.

IMG_5172 copy.jpgOn Saturday, the NYC Book and Ephemera Fair at its new Times Square location was hopping (pictured above). Great offerings all around, and dealers seemed happy with the new space. It was biblio-déjà vu for me and my collector husband, who turned up a publisher's dummy of John Muir's My First Summer in the Sierra--one of his favorite books--at Colebrook Book Barn's booth. (At this fair two years ago, we unearthed another very cool dummy.) We also picked up a few treasures with Adrienne Horowitz Kitts at Austin Abbey Rare Books, one of which is a relatively inexpensive, little illustrated book titled Gutenberg and the Art of Printing (1871), in a beautiful decorated publishers' binding. The author is one Emily C. Pearson, perhaps a research topic for another day. Prints Charming Soho, Inc. took a novel approach, exhibiting piles of vintage paper suited for framing.

IMG_5173 copy.jpgImages: (Top) courtesy of Rebecca Rego Barry; (Middle, upper) courtesy of Caliban Book Shop; (Middle, lower) courtesy of David Brass Rare Books; (Both at bottom) courtesy of Brett Barry.