Preview the Toronto Antiquarian Book Fair

As if you needed a good reason to travel to Toronto, its International Antiquarian Book Fair is coming up this weekend. From Friday Oct. 28 through Sunday Oct. 30, nearly fifty booksellers will fill the Metro Toronto Convention Centre with an amazing selection of collectible books, manuscripts, maps, and ephemera. Here are a few items to look out for.

Nansen.jpgThanks to one of our freelancers, Erica Olsen, who wrote about the 100th anniversary of Sydpolen in our current issue, I know that 2011 is "Nansen-Amundsen Year" in Norway, and, as she put it, "polarlitteratur is hot." The Wayfarer's Bookshop of North Vancouver has this original signed Nansen letter in English from 1899, together with a studio cabinet photograph of Fridtjof Nansen. Price: $2,750.

Flemish.pngDonald Heald has this stunning Flemish flower manuscript. Described as "a bound collection of vellum sheets illuminated with original bodycolour paintings on 28 panels" from 1630. It was originally produced for the De La Broye family. Price: $85,000. Go here to download Heald's two Toronto catalogues--one of Canadiana & Polar, the other on Fine Books. 

Drawings.jpgMaggs Bros. has a group of nine pen-and-ink drawings made in British Columbia by Harry Bullock-Webster, a Hudson Bay official. One is illustrated above. So states the catalogue, "Although not an especially talented draughtsman, his work does have an immediacy and charm that brings to life the lonely existence the HBC's frontiersmen. Even more fortunate is the fact that the artist has left a brief account of his life in a scarce work published when an old man, 'From the Hudson's bay Company to New Zealand' published in Ludlow in 1938, a copy of which is included with these drawings." Price: £3500. 

You can browse the Exhibitors' Gallery (a great idea by the fair's promoters, to be sure), check out an alphabetical list of exhibitors, or view photos from last year's fair at the fair's website.