News | September 18, 2023

Rare Book Donations Sought For Auction to Help Ukraine Booksellers

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Helping Ukrainian Books and Booksellers (HUBB) is preparing an international rare book sale to support colleagues under fire. 

The online auction is scheduled for the middle of November and its organizers are actively seeking donations of rare and collectible books, manuscripts, artwork, and ephemera. Those interested in contributing to the sale are invited to send pictures of potential items for donation to

"This is an immediate opportunity for booksellers, dealers, and collectors to directly aid the victims of Russian aggression in Ukraine," said participating bookseller Arthur Fournier. "HUBB is accepting materials today and the call for submissions is open through October 10."

Together with Avi Kovacevich, founder of Catalog Sale auctions in New York, Fournier is helping HUBB organize the sale. Kovacevich and Fournier hope to gather an eclectic and compelling selection of materials that will generate strong interest among online buyers. Ideal donations will be in excellent physical condition with no missing pages, or significant condition issues.

"We're seeking first edition and signed works of literature, poetry, history, and science," explained Kovacevich. "We also hope to see items with interesting graphic design, strong social justice resonance, and historical interest." 

HUBB has been active for more than a year. It was founded by Mitchell Kaplan, Jane Unrue of Scholars at Risk, Carolyn Forche, Christopher Merrill, and Askold Melnyczuk shortly after the start of the conflict. The group has connected with Oleksandr Afonin, president of the Ukrainian Publishers and Booksellers Association (UBPA) to offer assistance.

Since then, they've raised more than $30,000. HUBB recently distributed $10,000 among some 60 publishers and booksellers across Ukraine. Afonin says that these modest grants have made a big impact for individuals whose lives have been disrupted by the war. In the second round, Ukrainian libraries were invited to apply for grants to fund new books. Melnyczuk reports that HUBB has been able to fund 30 out of the nearly 1,000 applications.