From Gutenberg to Zuckerberg – Highlights of the First International Antiquarian Bookfair in Budapest
From Gutenberg to Zuckerberg is the motto of the first ever ILAB International Antiquarian Exhibition and Fair in Budapest, which is held on 24 and 25 September, following the 42nd Congress of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB) from 19 to 23 September. Over a hundred booksellers from across the world will be welcomed to the bi-annual congress, exhibitors from Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Russia, Japan and of course, Hungary are expected to display most rare and most beautiful books and manuscripts at the succeeding International Antiquarian Book Fair. The items on display at the Vigadó target collectors with different interests and economic possibilities, and guarantee the active participation of international collectors.
Budapest — a metropolis of books
The Hungarian capital has always been one of the most fascinating book capitals of Europe. In Budapest there are countless small and large bookshops, which are to be found both in the hidden and narrow alleyways and in large shopping-centers. Already the Renaissance king, Matthias Corvinus was a passionate collector. His library – the Bibliotheca Corviniana - was a gem, and he personally discussed his expansion plans regarding new books and manuscripts with his scholars. For certain items, he was prepared to conduct diplomatic negotiations for years. In Buda, he even founded a workshop where books were copied and bound for the king and the Church.
Significant ecclesiastical and academic libraries were established, such as the Reformed College of Sárospatak or the Abbey of Zirc. Before World War II, both the publishing houses and bookshops were privately owned; many of them with a lending system to convey the fun and worth of reading to those who did not have the necessary means to purchase books.
Budapest – the first ever international antiquarian book fair
The ILAB International Antiquarian Book Fair will be open on both days from 10 am to 6 pm at the Pest Redoute (Vigadó), which is situated on the Pest side of the Danube, on the promenade right opposite Buda Castle. Franz Liszt , Johannes Brahms, Camille Saint-Saëns, Claude Debussy , Arthur Rubinstein, Vladimir Horowitz and Herbert von Karajan performed in its halls. Admission for visitors is free and during the show, the Vigadó building can be visited free of charge.
Antiquariaat Brinkman, Amsterdam – Herman H. J. Lynge & Søn, Copenhagen – Antiquariat Turszynski, Munich – Matthaeus Truppe Bucchandlung & Antiquariat, Graz – Rotes Antiquariat & Galerie C. Bartsch, Berlin/Vienna – Libreria Antiquaria Alberto Govi, Modena – Antiquariat Dasa Pahor GbR., Munich – Sims Reed Ltd., London – Graham York Rare Books, Honiton, Devon – Harrison-Hiett Rare Books, Dorset – Antiquariat Bachmann & Rybicki UG, Dresden – Bibliophatos Srl, Milan – Librairie Alain Brieux, Paris – Benjamin Spademan, London – Kagerou Bunko, Tokyo – Biblionne, Moscow – Antiquariat Nikolaus Struck, Berlin – Librairie Walden, Orléans – Librairie Henri Vignes, Paris – August Laube, Zurich – Antiquariat Donhofer, Vienna – Abaúj Antikvárium, Kistokaj – Borda Antikvárium, Zebegény – Központi Antikvárium, Budapest – Múzeum Antikvárium, Budapest – Kárpáti és Fia Antikvárium, Budapest – Atticus Antikvárium, Budapest – Földvári Antikvárium, Budapest – Dávidházy Antikvárium, Budapest – Studio Antikvárium, Budapest – Hungarian ArtistBook Association, Budapest – Collectorism Ltd., Budapest – Bibliofile / Tamás Ádám, Budapest
Herman H. J. Lynge & Søn from Copenhagen provides us with a unique and highly curious item: a previously unpublished, handwritten letter written by Albert Einstein on 10 December 1928, addressed to his former assistant, Herman Müntz. The letter helps us to understand Einstein's path to the unified field theory better, as it reflects on one of its last steps. With this completely new approach, Einstein intended to unify gravity and electromagnetism. An envelope also belongs to the letter, addressed and commented on the back in Einstein’s handwriting. The rarity is offered at the price of €115. 000.
The most precious item that Központi Antikvárium (Central Antiquariat) puts on display is the historical work written by János Thuróczi, the Chronica Hungarorum. This very richly ornamented book, a most remarkable artefact of early Hungarian bookart, was published in Augsburg, 3 June, 1488. The text of the chronicle is decorated with miniature portraits of 41 Hungarian chieftains and kings, which are not authentic likenesses, yet they depict the most characteristic features of the rulers.
It is quite a curiosity, that thanks to the Austrian dealer Norbert Donhofer and Matthäus Truppe, the German-language edition and the very first edition, published in Brno on 20 March, 1488, will also be on display.
Matthäus Truppe will mainly bring travel literature and maps to Budapest, among them the first German edition of The Unknown New World by Arnold Montanus. It presents the cityscapes and landscapes of the most important cities and ports of America, such as Acapulco, Bahia, Havanna, Új-Mexikó, Lima as well as maps, traditional costumes and the local fauna. This volume costs €20.000.
A rather unique piece will be shown to the public by the Hungarian Földvári Antikvárium: Miklós Horthy’s letter to Adolf Hitler from 1938. In his letter, the Hungarian regent informed Hitler that the special apple sorts have been sent to Germany, just as promised.
Borda Antikvárium will present the first edition of Peter Canisius’ Catechism (Vienna, 1555), a fundamental work of the Counter Reformation. The Dutch priest and Doctor of the Church founded numerous Jesuit colleges, which provided education free of charge. As the leading figure of the Counter Reformation, he brought back masses to the Roman Catholic Church. Even the University of Fribourg owes its earliest origin to the foundation of the Jesuit College St. Michel on Belze Hill by Peter Canisius in 1580.
Borda Antikvárium will also exhibit the first, 1847 edition of the Complete Works of Sándor Petőfi. The publication date makes the work particularly valuable, as at that time the poet was still alive. The volume is in beautiful condition. Its price is 300.000 HUF/€1,000.
Rotes Antiquariat & Galerie C. Bartsch from Berlin and Vienna will display a collection of selected publications of the 20th century Eastern European avant-garde. The jewel of this collection is the extremely rare edition of the International Journal Blok & Kurjer bloku.
The journal was published by the Polish Blok Group of cubists, constructivists and supremacists. The group included artists who had a significant role in the radical avant-garde movement in Poland. The journal contains texts and illustrations by Kassák, Moholy-Nagy, Malevich and El Lissitzky. It is available for €6,000.
Múzeum Antikvárium shows something very topical: the autographed first edition (1926) of The Book of Purity, written by the leading figure of the Hungarian avant-garde, Lajos Kassák. The Book of Purity incorporates Kassák's notions on art and literature.
As the literature expert, Györgyi Földes put it: „The Book of Purity may be regarded as ... an all-arts experiment that manifests the actual essence of a book: the book as a composition of texts ..., as visual arts object and a tool to use.” The book cover and the typography were both designed by Kassák himself.
Antiquariaat Brinkman from Amsterdam will present an original edition of the Constitutio Criminalis Theresiana, the penal code adopted by the Empress Maria Theresa in 1769. It established a common criminal and procedural law in Austria and Bohemia, while in Hungary the code did not apply. The book contains 30 engravings of torture instruments and their technical details. Secret instructions for judges are also included. The price of the item is €1.750.
Atticus Antikvárium will let visitors see the first signed edition of Dezső Kosztolányi’s short story collection Káin as well as the first and signed edition of Sándor Márai’s Confessions of a Bourgeois. They will display, among other items, the famous chef and restaurant owner, János Gundel's autographed letter from 1896 written on the dedicated letter-paper of the István Főherceg Hotel (Duke Stephen's Hotel). János Gundel was the chef who created the palóc soup in honour of the renowned Hungarian writer, Kálmán Mikszáth.
Some beautiful items will be shown by Graham York Rare Books from Devon, among them a beautiful Victorian Photo Album with 85 photographs of animals from around 1880 by Gambier Bolton, Ottomar Anschutz and Henry Dixon. The album costs €9.500.
Finally, Harrison-Hiett Rare Books from Wimborne Dorset brings an original tourist poster of Budapest from the 1930s. The item designed by Ernö Jeges shows the parade of people in shiny colourful national costumes passing by the Matthias Church. The poster was issued by the National Council of Hungarian Tourist Acency to attract visitors to Budapest. Its price is €1.200.
The Hungarian rare book dealers look forward to welcoming dealers and collectors from across the world in Budapest!
42nd ILAB Congress
26th International Antiquarian Book Fair
21 – 25 September 2016
For more information please visit the official website.