We round out this week’s review of choice items available at the Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair with peek at a very special edition of L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz with illustrations by Barry Moser. Boomerang Booksellers of Northampton, Massachusetts is presenting a first edition, first printing of the Pennyroyal Press edition of the book, which includes sixty-two wood engravings of, among others, political figures from the Reagan administration. Published in 1985, various political personalities from that era pepper the book, most notably with First Lady Nancy Reagan as the Wicked Witch of the West and her husband providing inspiration for the Wizard. Moser’s own daughters modeled for Glinda the Good Witch. (One wonders which political figures would appear if the book were illustrated in the midst of our current election cycle.)

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Oz fans may recall the 2006 exhibition celebrating what would have been the 150th birthday of L. Frank Baum at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts. The installation explored the various representations of one of literature’s most beloved stories and its inhabitants, as well as the multitude of artistic shapes the book has taken since its initial publication in 1900. Moser’s illustrations for this book were a central part of that discussion.

A first edition, first printing of the Pennyroyal Press publication of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, with illustrations by Barry Moser, will be available at Booth 303 for the bewitching price of $57.50.

Our preview week for this weekend’s Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair continues today with several Japanese items from Boston Book Company:


1) Shinpan Ehon Don Kihoute, illustrated and signed artist Keisuke Serizawa. This large color stencil printed “ehon” of Don Quixote was published in 1976 and is today considered a masterpiece of Japanese livre d’artiste book production. Thirty-one full-page illustrations. 1 of only 185 copies. $4500.

2) A turned wooden pagoda shaped container with a printed Dharani Buddhist charm inside.  The charm, part of the Hyakumantô [One Million Pagodas] devotional project, is considered one of the first examples of printing that can be accurately dated. Japanese Empress Shôtoku called for the Hyakumantô to commence in 764 AD, with the entire project completed six years later. $22,500.


3) Kamisaka Sekka’s Momoyogusa, printed in 1909-10, with 60 double-page color-printed woodblocks printed and overprinted using opaque and metallic inks to create a particular surface. The work is considered one of the finest Japanese design books of all time and this copy is an early impression with wood grain showing in many of the prints.  $38,500.

If you’ve been following along on the blog this week, we’ve been previewing items on offer in Boston this weekend. Today we focus on the Boston Book, Print & Ephemera Show, which will take place on Saturday from 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. at the Back Bay Events Center (within walking distance of the ABAA fair at Hynes Auditorium). Presenting a diverse cache of antiquarian books and ephemera, a “satellite show” can be a picker’s paradise. Here are three interesting finds proffered this year:  

8590-2 Three Cross Country Auto Trips.jpgA photograph album documenting three cross-county automobile trips through the United States and Canada, 1930-[1933]. Comprising more than 275 mounted photographs, this album highlights a vast expanse, from big cities to national parks and all the tourist sites in between, plus early cars, roads, and campsites. Offered by Read ‘Em Again Books of Montclair, Virginia, for $2,000.

1.JPGThe C programming language booklet, 1975. The C programming language was first published internally at Bell Labs. “It is the most significant programming language today, that directly or indirectly contributes to most all computer software products that we use today, such as your iPhone, your Windows operational system, the list goes on and on,” said bookseller Hai Nguyen. Offered by Cultural Heritage Books of Waltham, Massachusetts, for $9,000.

Melville 1.JPGHere we have Herman Melville’s first two books, Typee and Omoo, in the rare first British editions, beautifully bound by Sangorski & Sutcliffe in matching early leather bindings and slipcases. “A very attractive set.” Offered by Different Drummer Books of Niantic, Connecticut, for $3,750.      

Today’s highlight is a souvenir program and scorecard from the 1915 World Series played between the Boston Red Sox and the Philadelphia Phillies. This copy was printed for the Boston games, played at Braves Field (home today of Nickerson Field on the campus of Boston College). The scorecard preserves the completed score for Game 3, won with a final score of 2-1 by the Red Sox. The Sox would go on to win the series in five games. Several future Hall of Famers played in the series, including Babe Ruth in his first World Series appearance, as well as Tris Speaker, Harry Hooper, and Grover Cleveland Alexander.

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Brattle Book Shop, of Boston, will be offering the program and scorecard for $5,000 at the Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair.

All this week on the blog we’ll be highlighting items on offer at the upcoming Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair, which runs Friday-Sunday, or at the Boston Book, Print & Ephemera Fair, a Saturday-only show.                                                                                                                                                 Today, Harry Potter is in the spotlight. At the Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair, California bookseller John Windle will offer this original watercolor illustration of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry by artist Cliff Wright, made for the British edition of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (1998). The price is $50,000.
40BIABF_Hogwarts illustration from British Edition of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets_.jpgWhile in Boston this week, don’t forget to check out Beyond Words, a major, multi-venue exhibition celebrating manuscript culture.

On Wednesday, September 28 the Austin Book Arts Center (ABAC) celebrated its first year of operation with printing demonstrations, music, champagne, cupcakes, and a silent auction which raised roughly $4,000 which will enable workshops and outreach programs to inspire a new generation of book artisans.

Founded in 2015, the ABAC picked up the mantle of the Austin Book Workers group, an organization created in 1986 that met itinerantly at school auditoriums, libraries and even private homes to make books. The Austin Book Workers merged with the ABAC in 2013, and spent the next two years raising funds and securing a permanent home for the city’s book arts program. Steering the ABAC are Amanda Stevenson, formerly of New York City’s Center for Book Arts, and Mary Baughman, a book conservator at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin.

Now located at 2832 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, the ABAC has been able to install larger pieces of equipment like letterpresses and other bookmaking materials to further the group’s vision of “advancing the book as a vital contemporary art form, [to] preserve the traditional and robust crafts related to making books, and [to] engage the community in creative, interpretative, and educational experiences, including the improvement of literacy for people of all ages.”

Workshops include creating letterpress business cards, an introduction to do-it-yourself publishing, mixing methyl cellulose to create colorful endpapers, and even hosts a happy hour bookbinding class to help k-12 teachers set up their own bookbinding classroom projects. Costs range from $45 to $270 per workshop, and ABAC members enjoy a 10% discount off tuition. (Annual memberships start at $40 for students, $50 per individual, and include access to the studio during open hours.) Class sizes are kept small to ensure individual attention and instruction.

Happy Birthday, ABAC; you’ve joined a small but robust group of nonprofits throughout the country dedicated to providing hands-on programs that foster creativity and encourage self-expression through the creation of books. Here’s to many more years illuminating the way. 

ICON-01-1-150x150.pngIf you’re anywhere near London this weekend, you won’t want to miss a new fair bringing together rare books and art in the heart of the city.  INK LDN, held at 2 Temple Place in a grandiose Gothic mansion on London’s Embankment, starts with a champagne reception on October 20 at 5:00 p.m, with general opening times on October 21 (11:00 - 7:00) and October 22 (11:00 - 5:00). Twenty-six European and American dealers will be exhibiting.

Ines Bellin, creator of the Fair, took a few minutes away from her last-minute preparations to answer a few questions we had over e-mail:

Please introduce us to INK LDN:

I strongly believe that fairs will be a vital part in the future of the antiquarian book market as well as the art market. It is something dealers prepare for with secret, fresh material, collectors put money aside and institutions plan their budgets for. There is a sense of hunt in these events, and also celebration. The size of a fair can determine our perception and receptiveness for new information. Keeping INK LDN small and accessible, with the right mix of exhibitors allows new visitors a true insight into the art market and nurture current relationships.

INK LDN is very much a combination of friends we admire and respect highly, a stunning location in central London and lots of hard work. We believe that if you come to our fair and buy a £500 or £20.000 or £1.4 million book you should do that in stunning surroundings with a glass of Champagne.

Despite all the changes in the relationship between the UK and the world, especially Europe, London will remain the most important hub for collectors and sellers alike. 

I’m trying to make the dealers more accessible and personable. We do lose that sometimes when companies, profiles and price tags grow. Very often you will find that behind an amazingly rare and expensive book is a dealer that is still as fascinated and excited as any bibliophile and would love to talk about his or her material. 

INK LDN isn’t a new idea by the way. During my initial talks with London based book dealers I learned that there had been talks about an autumn fair for several decades. Autumn has always been a slightly emptier calendar for most dealers.

The concept, which will evolve over the years, is to bring together books and other related forms of art, together. 

How many exhibitors will be participating?

We have 26 dealers from 7 countries this year, we could have had a few more but we limited ourselves to the last remaining topics we really wanted to have. It was a selective process and we are very happy with the type and range of objects now. Special thanks goes to Iris Antique Globes & Maps as they added their stunning globes to our range.

All exhibitors of our debut fair have first rights to participate again before we allow anyone else in. This is a “thank you” from us to those who have agreed, signed and paid to participate while INK LDN was no more than a crazy idea in my head. 

What are some exhibitor highlights?

Once more, Iris Globes brings a pair of library globes by Blaeu! A dedication copy of Hubble’s Law first print by Sophia Rare Books, an Aldus Hypnerotomachia Poliphili shown by Fabrizio Govi and a couple of Book of Hours from Forum Auctions. Also, I’m very much looking forward to Laura Massey’s (Alembic Rare Books) instruments and compasses. 

Tell us about the Fresh Faces section of the Fair:

Originally INK LDN was discussed among young and new book dealers, during a time many posts in larger antiquarian book houses where being filled with young bright minds and even more young dealers set up on their own. There is so much fresh talent out there that will BE the antiquarian and art market in the next couple of years I just wanted to give them a boost. 

It takes time, material and catalogues to be eligible to join ILAB LILA as well as annual fees. Our current Fresh Faces pay a very low price for a stand and we offer them 10 free hours of our Concierge service. Allowing them to have lunch, a break or even go out with a customer while our concierges take care of their booths. This includes even a packing service if they have to leave early.

On the other hand, visitors can get to know new dealers they might not have heard of (yet!).

Tell us about the venue for INK LDN:

Ah, all praise goes to Nicholas McBurney from Heywood Hill. He mentioned it to me as a potential venue and set up an initial meeting. The Bulldog Trust, who manages 2 Temple, has been amazing. The Gothic and Victorian inspired architecture has more history than one would suspect. The library alone, with its secret door and hidden little spaces. It’s truly one of London secret venues you rarely get a chance to see. 

Where can our readers learn more?

Our site, which is constantly tweaked and updated www.inkfair.london, we are also strong believers in social media and all links and handles can be found on our site.

It would be difficult to contrive a more felicitous title for the Fine Books readership than N. John Hall’s recently published Bibliophilia: An Epistolary Novel of One Man’s Obsession with Book Collecting (David R. Godine, softcover with flaps, $18.95). The novel follows the daily exploits of New Yorker Larry Dickerson, who takes up book collecting late in life. Readers of Hall’s 2011 novel, Correspondence, will recall Larry as the retired bank clerk who bumbled into the world of rare books and manuscripts after inheriting a trove of letters from his ancestor to various important Victorian authors. In Bibliophilia, the same likable if unpolished character again faces a steep learning curve.

Bibliophilia.pngWe jump right into the action on the very first page when Larry emails a friend at Christie’s auction house to announce, “I am going to become a rare book collector.” He begins by making all the rookie mistakes, like buying American first editions of Trollope instead of English first editions, all of which will tickle readers who have even a little collecting experience. As another Christie’s contact warns Larry, “...just because a book is old doesn’t mean it’s worth anything.”  

Larry puzzles over bibliographies and inscribed editions, keeping meticulous track of purchases made and prices paid and conveying the information via email to a coterie of correspondents, all fellow bibliophiles--some fictional, some real-life book folk, including NYPL curator Isaac Gewirtz and collector Mark Samuels Lasner. Larry sets out to collect Victorians and then dabbles in authors associated with the New Yorker magazine. Being a newbie, some of his missteps will come back to haunt him.  

Bibliophilia is zippy, a consequence of its epistolary form, and amusing. It’s clear that the author is among the ‘gently mad’ himself, as his prose clearly demonstrates his knowledge of the subject. (And, on that note, we’ll be profiling Hall in an upcoming issue’s “How I Got Started.”) 

                                                                                                                                                                                        Image via David R. Godine, Publisher.


A Kickstarter campaign launched today for a new facsimile edition of the first modern-day artist’s book.

Italian artist Fortunato Depero’s 1927 monograph, Depero Futurista (“Depero the Futurist”), regarded as a landmark in the field, was first published in Milan by Dinamo-Azari. Depero intended the book to showcase his work-to-date in 1927. The book includes paintings, sculptures, textile and architectural designs, theater and advertising work, wordplays, manifestoes, and reviews of Depero’s works in multiple languages. Depero Futurista was bound together by two large industrial aluminum bolts, allowing the pages to be removed for display, or rearranged as the reader preferred.  The bolts led to the nickname, “The Bolted Book.”

“The Bolted Book” was supposedly issued in an edition of 1,000, however the actual number of copies produced in 1927 is not certain. The copy used for this facsimile edition is No. 843, signed by Depero on page two.

The new facsimile edition will be accompanied by a special Reader’s Guide companion volume, inclusive of scholarly essays and other unpublished material from the Depero archive at the Mart. 

The Center for Italian Modern Art in New York, the Mart, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Trento and Rovereto, Italy, and Designers & Books are all collaborating to publish the new edition.

If you pledge $119 to the Kickstarter campaign during its first two days (October 18th and October 19th), you will receive the facsimile edition plus the Reader’s Companion at 20% off the regular price.

Kentucky by Design copy.jpgThe Furthermore organization announced this year’s winner of the Alice Award, Kentucky by Design: The Decorative Arts and American Culture, published for the Frazier History Museum by the University Press of Kentucky. The volume--and the current exhibition it is associated with--celebrates the 80th anniversary of the Federal Art Project’s Index of American Design, a WPA program in which hundreds of artists documented nineteenth-century American material culture in watercolor renderings.   

The Alice Award is an annual $25,000 prize for illustrated books, particularly volumes that present scholarly research and vivid imagery in a way that celebrates the art of the book. Candidates are selected from a pool of previous Furthermore grant recipients. Shortlisted this year: African Art in the Barnes Foundation: The Triumph of L’Art nègre and the Harlem Renaissance (Barnes Foundation); Apparitions: Frottages and Rubbings from 1860 to Now (Hammer Museum and Menil Collection); Making it Modern: The Folk Art Collection of Elie and Viola Nadelman (New-York Historical Society); and A Portrait of Fashion: Six Centuries of Dress at the National Portrait Gallery (NPG, London).

To read more about Furthermore grants in publishing, a program of the J. M. Kaplan Fund, and the Alice Award, revisit our profile of Furthermore’s founder and president Joan K. Davidson or check out our post about last year’s winner.

Auction Guide