By Angelika Elstner
Over 160 antiquarian booksellers as well as private presses, bookbinders and other affiliated trade exhibited last week from the 9th to the 11th June 2011 at the world’s oldest antiquarian book fair, the London International Antiquarian Book Fair at Olympia.
Over 3,000 book collectors and bibliophiles, book dealers and enthusiasts attended the fair, which is organised by the Antiquarian Booksellers Association (ABA) and supported by the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB).
The ABA is pleased to report that visitor numbers this year were up each day compared to 2010, the total number of visitors was up by 23%. On all 3 days of the fair, exhibitors reported a lot of selling and buying activity on the floor. Particularly Thursday and Friday saw a lot of business with higher takes than in previous years; Friday sales were up by 32% compared to 2010, not taking follow on business into account. Significant sales were also achieved through the Olympia website weeks before the fair.
Robert Frew, Chairman of the fair: “We are very happy with the results of the 2011 fair with good sales across the range. During the fair I have spoken to a lot of exhibitors. Dealers feel confident about the future, book collecting in general as well as well organised book fairs.”
Antiquariat Karajahn from Berlin sold an 1842 Meier’s Handatlas for €8,000.
Peter Harrington sold a very rare 1637 copy of Rene Descartes: “Discours de la methode pour bien conduire sa raison, et chercher la verité dans les sciences “ for £87,500.
Henrietta Talbot from Grosvenor Prints reported a very good fair, better than 2010 with regular, as well as a number of new clients. Grosvenor Prints sold an extremely rare “Engraved plate of naval standards, printed on silk” from 1820 showing the ship’s flags from the navies of the world for the price of £1,950 on opening day.
H.M. Fletcher sold a limited edition of Hans Christian Andersen Tales with an original drawing by Arthur Rackham, London 1932, signed by the artist for the price of £20,000 to a private collector. Keith Fletcher from H.M. Fletcher: “Generally it’s been a very good fair and I have sold more than I expected.”
Bow Windows Bookshop sold a bespoke collection of seven folding, dissected and linen backed maps of southern counties by William Faden for the price of £950.
Antiquariat Norbert Donhofer, Vienna sold a very fine portfolio of 89 lithographed plates of Turkish Costumes by Tatikian for €35,000.
Adam Bosze from Budapest (Musikantiquariat Adam Bosze), exhibiting for the first time in London or at an ILAB affiliated fair: “We are very satisfied with the number of new clients we have met and the trade visitors who have been at our stand. We expect good follow on business and would like to thank the ABA for such a well organised fair. We will exhibit again next year; we have to be in London.”
Bookseller Paul Foster: “I have met new customers this year and I hope for good follow on business after the fair, which is a very encouraging sign.”
Sale in aid of The Ethiopian Heritage Fund: George Bayntun sold an exceptional collection of boards, produced by 35 Fellows of Designer Bookbinders, who have each designed and made a 255x180mm board based on the theme of Africa, housed in a specially made Tulip and Oak wooden presentation container for the price of £40,000, in aid of The Ethiopian Heritage Fund. The Fund supports the conservation of works of art and provides advice and education on their maintenance.
The events programme, aimed at first time buyers and new collectors, proved very popular and will be continued in 2012. Dates for the 2012 London International Antiquarian Book Fair at Olympia will be released shortly.