Beautiful, rare and unusual books are in steady demand in an economically unsteady world. After three busy days the Stuttgart Book Fair closed with excellent results. Almost all the 80 exhibitors from Europe and the USA reported five or even six-digit sales.
At the opening on Friday, 27th January, the stands were crowded. The high quality of the items in the Book Fair Catalogue had attracted dealers and collectors from Europe and overseas as well as museums, libraries and archives. So it is not surprising that many catalogue highlights changed hands within the first few minutes. Among them were Napoleon’s personal copy of “Ossian” (Fons Blavus 150,000 €) or De Bry’s “Collectiones Peregrinatium (Patzer & Trenkle 90,000 €). Heribert Tenschert, who exhibited a stunning collection of early manuscripts and books all written and printed on vellum, was very satisfied with the attention which this collection commanded from dealers and collectors.
If more than one person is interested in a book from the catalogue, the winner is established by lottery. The lot had to be cast for the first edition of Remarque’s “Im Westen nichts Neues” (Ahnert 1200 €), Kieser’s “Todten Danz” (Braecklein 12,000 €) and Leibnitz’ “Theodicee” (Schlicht 11,500 €). Eberhard Köstler’s guestbook of the Russian avant-garde was also sold immediately after the opening (12,000 €). Antiquariat Loecker’s collection of magic books and scrolls disappeared as by magic, as did Guazzo’s “Compendium maleficarum (6,000 €).
There is a strong group of book and art collectors in Stuttgart who buy Avantgarde, Surrealism and Modern Art Books, says Günter Linke. He sold the art magazine RAY (9,800 €) to a private collector. Beckmann and Pechstein (12,500 €) were bestsellers at the stand of Christian Bartsch (Rotes Antiquariat). For Schmidt & Günther the fair was “fantastic”, since they sold most of the masterworks which they had advertised in the fair catalogue.
The same goes for illustrated travel books. Brockhaus/Antiquarium had brought a collection on Polar travel, of which almost everything was sold. Ralf Eigl sold Cresswell’s illustrated narrative of the crossing of the North-West Passage (39,000 €) and Langsdorff’s very rare account of his circumnavigation (11,800 €), both to the international trade. Reiss & Sohn sold Amati’s rare description of his voyage to Japan, printed in 1615 (12,000 €).
Adam Bosze (Budapest), Meda Riquier (London) and Fabrizi Govi (Modena) who exhibited in Stuttgart for the first time, were very pleased with the fair and the sales, having sold several rare and precious autographs, early printings and atlases to dealers and institutions.
„A record fair“, said Eberhard Köstler, now Past President of the German Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association (VDA). The new VDA President Christian Hesse added: “Once again, the Stuttgart Fair proved to be the leading antiquarian book fair in Germany. We look forward to the 52nd edition of the fair, which will be held from 25th to 27th January 2013. See you there!”