February 2014 | Rebecca Rego Barry

Highlights of this Weekend's California Book Fair

Those of us on the East Coast are wishing we were on our way to California right now, and not just because of the dreadful weather here. The California International Antiquarian Book Fair opens on Friday, promising a lovely bookish weekend for those in the Los Angeles area. In addition to more than 200 exhibitors from 33 countries bringing some of their very best rare books, manuscripts, and ephemera, our own Nick Basbanes will be signing his latest book, On Paper, on Saturday at 11:00. There are also tours, panels, and an exhibit related to Shakespeare's 450th birthday, a focus for this year's fair.

But let's see some highlights, shall we?

secondfolio2.jpgFollowing the Shakespearen theme, Peter Harrington of London will show this second folio of the Bard's Comedies, Histories and Tragedies. Price: $625,000.

Screen Shot 2014-02-03 at 12.08.11 PM.pngThe UK-based Simon Beattie will also have Shakespeariana on hand, as well as some fine dance/performing arts material, but in perusing his book fair list, I was taken by this collection of books in sheets (never bound), ranging in date from 1674 to 1878. Price $42,000. Surely some institution ought to snap it up for teaching ... Rare Book School?

IMG_2079.jpgIf your interests are more contemporary, Nudelman Rare Books in Seattle will offer this fine binding of Samuel Rogers' Italy, A Poem and Poems. Lavishly bound by The Hampstead Bindery, circa 1900 (signed in gilt on front doublure) in full green goatskin with wavy stems heavily ornated with leaves. Price: $6,500.

Dylan-Little1.jpgThough the Beatles manuscript that California's Bibliooctopus will have on hand will certainly garner interest, I'm partial to the Bob Dylan manuscript. These are early handwritten lyrics from the music legend, signed Bobby Zimmerman at the end. Price: $25,000.

What else? How about a manuscript bibliographical catalogue, in French c. 1778, showing some 800 book titles, from the UK-based bookseller Justin Croft. The first book to be printed and bound in Los Angeles? The Book Shop of Covina, CA, has it: Reminiscences of a Ranger by Horace Bell. Bromer Booksellers of Boston will please Arion Press lovers with its copy of The Apocalypse: the Revelation of Saint John the Divine...signed by artist Jim Dine and printer Andrew Hoyem. Mark Helprin collectors, take note: Blackwell's Rare Books of Oxford, England, will have one of 300 numbered copies of A Kingdom Far and Clear. The Complete Swan Lake Trilogy from Calla Editions, signed by Helprin and the illustrator, Chris Van Allsburg. Looking for historic documents? Philadelphia Rare Books & Manuscripts Company of Philadelphia, PA, will offer Commodore John D. Sloat's, Historic Proclamation, addressed "To the Inhabitants of California" claiming the California for the U.S. and promising U.S. citizenship. Ian Kahn of Maine's Lux Mentis promises the debut of a collection of 450 pop-up books. LA's John Howell will have an early typescript of Woody Guthrie's autobiography, Study Butte. And, it is Hollywood, after all, so B & L Rootenberg Rare Books & Manuscripts of Sherman Oaks, CA, will show a selection of original signed sketches of Academy Award-winning MGM Studios costumes.