The good news is that you have now an entire year to save up for this endeavor since the 47th installment of the above mentioned fair just happened last weekend at the Pasadena Convention Center.
Yours truly attended, knowing quite well I’d come out empty handed, but thrilled to stand in front of a first edition copy of Faulkner’s Light in August (one of the books I based my master’s thesis on). I told my daughter it’d be a nice present if I make it to my 80th birthday. That gives her decades of time to save up. Is it still too much to ask?
There was a copy of Saul Bellow’s Herzog for $9,500, and a letter of appreciation to Fidel Castro and his revolucion, signed by several supporters and possibly smuggled out of the Isle of Pines Prison in 1953, on sale for $20,000 (www.UniversityArchives.com). A company from England, Peter Harrington, had a first edition of James Joyce’s Ulysses, one of only 100 that are signed and in original wrappers!
There was a special exhibit centered around the 450th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth. A bust of The Bard that normally sits on top of a bookcase at the Huntington Library was on display, as were hundreds of years old versions of his books. A seminar on Saturday entertained attendees with a conversation about the food and drink that Shakespeare enjoyed, and another one on Sunday allowed them to bring in three books to be evaluated by experts for age and value.
In this day and age when books seem to be losing the battle to Nooks and other tablets, I expect that first editions of classics will become even more valuable. You probably should keep your books in good shape… 500 years from now your descendants may be able to make a pretty penny with them!
The International Antiquarian Book Fair is moving on to New York this April and to Boston in November, but they will be back here next year. If it sounds like something you’d like to see, add it to your to-do list and keep in touch with the organization at www.cabookfair.com
Dena Burroughs photos