Book Fairs | May 28, 2013

London International Antiquarian Book Fair Highlights

A First Edition of F Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and E.M. Forster’s personal copy of The Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T.E. Lawrence (otherwise known as Lawrence of Arabia) are among the gems that will be on sale at the 56th London International Antiquarian Book Fair.

The Fair, which will again be held in the National Hall at Olympia (London W14) from Thursday, 13th June to Saturday, 15th June, 2013 has more than 180 exhibitors, who are travelling from all corners of the globe to take part in the longest running Antiquarian Book Fair in the UK.

Described by Winston Churchill as one of the "greatest books written in the English language", this copy of the 1926 edition of The Seven Pillars of Wisdom, inscribed by Lawrence to Forster, is one of 32 so-called 'incomplete' copies for presentation. It is touchingly initialled on the front endpaper, “E.M.F from T.E.S. Not good enough, but as good, apparently, as I can do. 1.xii.26.” Lawrence (then also known as Shaw) first met Forster in February 1921 and over the following years their friendship prospered. When in 1922 Lawrence had eight copies of his latest draft of The Seven Pillars printed by the Oxford Times, for the purpose of lending them to his literary friends to gauge their reaction, Forster was among the select group of recipients. The book also contains a later inscription by Forster to his last lover, the policeman, Bob Buckingham, “R.J. Buckingham from E.M. Forster 20-1-68”. It is also annotated by Forster in pencil throughout (Jonkers Rare Books, £225,000).

A First Edition of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, dating from 1925 in an excellent example of the famous dust jacket designed by Francis Cugat, of which was stated by Charles Scribner III: “that not only is the jacket recognised as the most eloquent in American literary history, but that Cugat's artwork demonstrably had an effect on Fitzgerald's evolution of his literary masterpiece.” will be offered by Peter Harrington (£120,000).

Works by other major writers of the 19th and 20th centuries include several works by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle such as the First Edition of the first Sherlock Holmes novel A Study in Scarlet, in original wrappers, dating from 1888. The book was written during 1886: after it was turned down by several publishers, Ward Lock agreed to publish it, but not for a year as they said ‘the market is flooded at present with cheap fiction’. Therefore, for the modest sum of £25, Ward Lock bought the priceless copyright to what would soon be a famous story, (Jonkers, £75,000). In addition, Biblioctopus from Los Angeles will be offering an astounding run of all the Holmes and Watson stories in the Strand Magazines, 1891 - 1927. The 75 volumes include 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories and are priced at £60,000.

Of Irish and international interest: Paul Foster will be bringing along a rare large paper First Edition of James Joyce’s Ulysses, dating from 1922. This beautiful copy is one of just 150 produced. Set on one day in June (June 16th - the day after the fair ends!), this is considered by many to be one of the greatest and most important works of 20th century literature (£30,000).

The fair takes place just a few days after the centenary of the death of Emily Davison, the militant activist, who died when she stepped out in front of King George V’s horse at the Derby, fighting for women's suffrage in Britain. A rare copy of E. Sylvia Pankhurst’s The Suffragette (The history of the Women's Militant Suffrage Movement 1905-1910), dating from 1911 and signed by Sylvia, her sister Christabel and her mother Emmeline, founders of the movement, carries a price of £6,000 (Paul Foster). To complement this, Jarndyce will be bringing along a circular tin badge stating Votes for Women, Women's Suffrage, dating from 1905 and likely to have been issued by the Women’s Society and Political Union, which had been established in October 1903 by, among others, Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst (£150).

Not only is literature of the 20th century covered at the Fair, but also Film and Music, and Austrian exhibitor Dr. Paul Kainbacher will be bringing two important film items to the Fair, from Fritz Lang’s iconic science fiction film from 1927 — Metropolis — handcoloured, original stills, produced using a technique that was being used for the first time. The stills, which have an asking price of £30,000, were used for advertising purposes and are extremely rare. In addition, a copy of Bob Thomas’s Walt Disney, The Art of Animation, signed by Walt Disney, dating from 1958, includes 17 original drawings, mainly production drawings from Mary Poppins (1964), but also a particularly beautiful drawing from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and has a price tag of £10,000. And Lucius Books will be offering an original pen and ink drawing by John Lennon from his first book In His Own Write (£25,000).

Mindful of anniversaries taking place in 2013 and also looking forward to 2014 — and the centenary of the start of World War One — Clive Farahar will be bringing along a highly unusual collection of World War One propaganda comprising 722 items (£25,000), while an inscribed libretto for Benjamin Britten's most famous work Peter Grimes, will be offered in 2013 — his centenary year. Inscribed ‘with best wishes Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears’ on the title-page (the role of Grimes was written for Pears), the item is offered by York Modern Books at £1,000).

Maps also play an important part in the Fair and Daniel Crouch Rare Books will be offering "the map that changed the world" - the first large scale, detailed scientific geological map of any country. This map by William Smith, dating from 1815, details the delineation of “The Strata of England and Wales, with Part of Scotland; exhibiting the Colleries and Mines, the Marshes and Fen Lands originally overflowed by the Sea, and the Varieties of Soil according to the Variations in the Substrata” (£85,000). Jonathan Potter Limited will be offering an detailed Ordnance Survey map of West Kensington that includes major landmarks such as Olympia exhibition hall, where the fair is taking place. Dating from 1921 and representing some of the most detailed mapping of London available from this period, it has an asking price of £280.

Important religious books include one of the earliest books at the Fair, St Augustine's De Civitate Dei, dating from 1477 (Forest Books, £14,750). Dating from 1865, With a Blessing of Saint Damien Of Molokai by Edward Clifford (1844-1907) is the English version of the Polyglot Bible containing the Old and New Testaments, which includes 92 Watercolour Sketches, of California, New Mexico, Kansas, Great Britain, Ireland and Europe, including 17 of Hawaii and Molokai. Clifford visited India and Kashmir to learn about methods of controlling leprosy. He returned to England and then travelled to Honolulu and visited the leper colony in Kalaupapa, Hawaii in 1888, where he first met Father Damien. During this time there was a widespread fear that leprosy might reach Great Britain. Clifford was Damien’s first biographer, and today several clinics and centres nationwide catering to HIV/AIDS patients bear Damien’s name. There is a chapel named after him, and dedicated to people with HIV/AIDS, in St. Thomas the Apostle Hollywood, an Episcopal parish (Clive Farahar, £10,000).

Ken Spelman Booksellers will be offering Devils & Demons — a very rare Jesuit pocket devotional, with prayers against devils, issued by the Inquisition in Turin in the late 16th century. This prayer-sheet was assembled in the early 18th century, either by a priest or a European traveller, to protect against demons and other dangers (£4,800). York Modern Books will be bringing Twelve Woodcuts by Paul Nash illustrating the First Chapter of Genesis, dating from 1924 (£1,500).

Remembering that there is a Royal baby on the way, the Fair will have a vast selection of Children’s books and artwork that could make perfect christening gifts. A complete set of first editions of the Winnie-the- Pooh books by A. A. Milne & E. H. Shepard, comprising When We Were Very Young, Winnie-the-Pooh, Now We Are Six and The House At Pooh Corner, dating from 1924-1928 (Lucius Books, £17,500); a rare first edition of Tijs and his toys by Dick Bruna, the author of Miffy, dating from 1957 (Antiquariaat Dik Ramkema, Netherlands, £230), while a first edition of Beatrix Potter’s The Roly-Poly Pudding from 1908 has an asking price of £325 (also from Ramkema). A set of First Editions of C.S Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe; Prince Caspian; The Voyage of the Dawn Treader; The Silver Chair; The Horse and his Boy; The Magician's Nephew and The Last Battle (Geoffrey Bles and The Bodley Head), dating from 1950 to 1956, is offered by Steve Liddle (£4,000).

Details of all the highlights can be viewed beforehand on the website:

Full details of opening hours, location, and travel to Olympia can be found on