Book Fairs | January 16, 2019

CA Antiquarian Book Fair to Feature Rare and Eclectic Items, Feb. 8-10

Hillerman.jpegOakland, CA - The 52nd California International Antiquarian Book Fair, one of the world's largest and most prestigious exhibitions of antiquarian books, returns to Northern California, Friday, February 8 through Sunday, February 10, 2019 at the Oakland Marriott City Center. The Book Fair is known for its vast collection of rare books, treasures and curiosities that tell fascinating stories. Notable items this year include a $40,000 crayon drawing by Picasso, a first edition of Ansel Adams’ first book, an 1835 caricature of women’s fashion, a 130 year-old German pop-up book, the 1515 first use of Greek typography in Rome, and more.

Sponsored by the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America (ABAA) and the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB) and featuring the collections and rare treasures of nearly 200 booksellers from over 20 countries around the world, the three-day Book Fair offers a rich selection of manuscripts, early American and European literature, modern first editions, children’s books, maps and autographs, as well as antiquarian books on history, science, law, architecture, cooking, wine and a wide range of other topics. 

From the wonderful to the weird, the 2019 Book Fair will feature thousands of interesting items, including these notables: 

A Postcard from Picasso - Greetings from Cannes! An original six-color crayon drawing of a grinning face on a postcard that Picasso sent from Cannes to his friend’s son, Pablo, a six year-old boy named after the artist. Picasso wrote a note to the boy: “Para mi amigo Pablito, Picasso, 5.11.58.” Perhaps inspired by the treasured postcard, Pablo Frasconi would grow up to become an acclaimed documentary filmmaker. (Offered by Ralph Sipper Books at booth #304 for $40,000)

First Edition of Ansel Adams’ Taos Pueblo - Ansel Adams published his first book of photographs, Taos Pueblo, in 1930, when he was 28 years of age. This is the first edition of his first book, copy 46 of only 108 and signed by both Adams and Mary Austin, the book’s author. The book features 12 original photographs, including several formal portraits, intimate landscapes and architectural studies. The first edition sold out over a two-year period at .75 each. (Offered by Argonaut Booksellers at booth #903 for $45,000)

The Original ‘Math for Dummies’ - A teaching tool that pre-dated the popular “…For Dummies” series by 150 years, The First Six Books Of The Elements Of Euclid In Which Coloured Diagrams And Symbols Are Used Instead of Letters For The Greater Ease of Learners was created by Oliver Byrne to help students better understand the abstract theories of Euclid. Byrne was convinced that by using color and diagrams, students could learn the elements of Euclid in 1/3 of the time. Not surprisingly, this wasn’t a best seller: only 250 copies were sold. (Offered by Roy Young Bookseller Inc. at booth #311 for $6,400)

Edward Abbey's National Park Services Hat and Shirt - These two items were unique personal items belonging to Edward Abbey during the time he worked as a fire lookout in the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, beginning in 1971. This period in Abbey's life stands out because this was when he wrote his novel "Black Sun," a romantic story of a solitary man in nature, set in the North Rim. (Offered by Ken Sanders Rare Books at booth #1002 for $7,500)

Dying for Fashion - The things we do to look good! The horrors of fashion are depicted in “The Cholic,” an original hand-colored print by caricaturist George Cruikshank of London. The scene is a lean, elderly woman sitting on a setee shrieking in pain while little demons cinch her waist with rope and attack her with sharp objects while a heavy woman, bottle in hand, watches on laughing. The scene depicts the agonies of being fashionable and the abuse of women. (Offered by Dark Parks Books & Collectibles at booth #704 for $300)

Chinese Feminist Martyr - Qiu yu qiu feng [Memorial booklet for the executed feminist revolutionary Qiu Jin] is an original booklet published shortly after Qiu Jin’s execution in 1907 containing a collection of Qiu’s writings and musings from supporters. Qiu Jin was raised in a wealthy family in Shaoxing who left her arranged marriage and two children to join a group of expat revolutionaries in Japan. She advocated equal rights for women, including marriage by choice and the abolition of foot binding. After returning to China, she was eventually captured, tortured and beheaded for her “revolutionary” activities. She has since been hailed as a martyr. (Offered by Bolarium Books at booth #216 for $200)

Original Tony Hillerman Novels - Tony Hillerman brought the Southwest’s Four Corners area to life with his Navajo Tribal Police series of nonfiction murder mysteries. The popular series was illustrated by Navajo artist Ernest Franklin. Offered are several signed first editions of this series with original art by Franklin. (Offered by James M. Dourgarian Bookman at booth #206, $300 to $15,000) 

A Collection of Sonnets by Elizabeth Barrett Browning - A first edition from 1897 with an exquisite white pigskin binding by Charles Ricketts - a celebrated binder of his time. (Offered by Nudelman Rare Books at booth #105 for $6,250)

Japanese Triptych from 1830 - When the Japanese government banned the use of extravagant colors in the mid-1800s, artists rebelled against these “Sumptuary” laws and got creative by using indigo coloring as alternatives. Tosei Fuzokukuo is a Triptych created in 1830 by Kuniyoshi. The use of indigo became very popular with the public.  (Offered by Ohya-Shobo Co., Ltd. at booth # 612, for $6,800)

The true first printing of Beatrix Potter’s first and most famous book - This copy of The Tale of Peter Rabbit includes the author’s signed presentation inscription “For Miss [Caroline] Hutton with love from Beatrix Potter Christmas 1901”. Potter was 27 and living at home when she wrote The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Five publishers rejected her illustrated manuscript but Potter arranged for it to be privately printed and its immediate success launched her career. (Offered by John Windle Antiquarian Bookseller #618 for $125,000.

Original Pop-Up Book - They don’t make ‘em like they used to. International Circus by Lothar Meggendorfer from 1887 is a first edition pop-up book that is considered a masterpiece of the genre. The book showcases a circus in incredible detail with pop-up artwork. (Offered by Roy Young Booksellers at booth #311 for $4,750) 

First use of Greek typography in Rome - An important early printed edition of Pindar's Odes, produced at Rome by Zacharias Kallierges in 1515, which includes the first use of Greek typography in Rome, as well as the first extensive classical and medieval scholia of this ancient Greek lyric poet.  (Offered by Hackenberg Booksellers at booth #707 for $7,500)


The Book Fair will also highlight Matthew Wills, the winner of the first-ever California Young Book Collector’s Prize from the Northern California Chapter of the Antiquarian Bookseller’s Association of America (ABAA). The competition was open to California collectors aged 35 and under, and their works. Wills’ collection “Anti-Confucian Propaganda in Mao’s China” will be on display in the exhibits area.

This year’s Book Fair will also include a special exhibit by the Book Club of California, an active association of over 800 major California collectors with interests in rare books and manuscripts of all types. Founded in 1912, the Club’s library is dedicated to collecting and sharing works of California fine printers; resources on book making, book design, and book history; and books of historical significance. One side of this bi-faceted exhibit will display a selection of materials by California women printers and book artists, with a spotlight on Jane Grabhorn’s test prints for the illustrations of the Grabhorn Press’ Shakespeare plays. 

Joel Harris, a local member of the International Wizard of Oz Club, will be loaning a portion of his collection for a curated exhibit of first edition books by L. Frank Baum and the subsequent authors of the “Wizard of Oz” series. The theme of a Saturday lecture jointly sponsored by the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America and the Bibliographical Society of America will be Cyclone on the Prairies: The Magic of the Land of Oz.

Designed with the budding collector in mind, "Book Fair Finds" is a program in which dealers spotlight items priced at $100 or less. Visitors can look for the Book Fair Finds sign in participating booths. 

Other highlights of the Book Fair include an interactive and entertaining exhibition that showcases local artists and organizations specializing in book arts. Calligraphers, bookbinders and a small press operator will once again be creating unique souvenirs for attendees to take home. 

The Book Fair is BARTable! The event’s venue in downtown Oakland is an added convenience for bibliophiles. The Oakland Marriott City Center is just steps away from the 12th Street BART Station, making it easily accessible to attendees from San Francisco and all over the East Bay. Out-of-town visitors can stay onsite at the Marriott, plus fair visitors arriving at both Oakland and San Francisco airports can take BART directly to the venue. 

Media sponsors for the Book Fair include: KQED, ABC7, The San Francisco Chronicle/Datebook and BART. 

Tickets and Information

The 52nd California International Antiquarian Book Fair will be held at the Oakland Marriott City Center at 1001 Broadway in downtown Oakland from 3 p.m. - 8 p.m. on Friday, February 8; 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. on Saturday, February 9; and 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Sunday, February 10.

Friday Opening Day admission tickets are $25; Saturday and Sunday tickets are $15. Tickets allow return admission for the remainder of the fair. For more information about tickets or exhibiting, visit Free admission for all students with a current valid student ID.

For more information about the 52ndCalifornia International Antiquarian Book Fair, please visit the website at or contact Fair Managers Doucet Productions at, (415) 919-9220.