Member Blogs > Read'Em Again BooksIn the Middle of a Run of Book Fairs - 10 March 2014

  • Mon, 10 Mar 2014 02:00:18    Permalink

    We are almost always busy doing shows in March and April, and this year is no exception.  We just finished the Washington Antiquarian Book Fair at the Holiday Inn in Rosslyn, Virginia, and although it wasn’t gangbusters, we were satisfied with the result. 

    This is the first year we’ve done this fair as we usually set up at a big antiques and collectibles show near Dulles airport instead.  But, since we’ve cut down on that side of our business, we thought we’d give this one a try.   

    Greg Gibson was right on the money in his blog about the opening crowd; it was small, very small.  Luckily, the first customer that walked into the booth on Friday evening bought our entire stock of over twenty Confederate newspapers including some quite scarce editions of the Southern Illustrated News that featured Major John Mosby and Major General George Pickett.  That was enough to make it a decent show for us.
      Pre-show sales to dealers were good too; we sold a large, attractive, hand-colored memorial lithograph of General Robert E. Lee and a small album of presidential cdvs.   
    Saturday was busy, but the crowd was mostly just lookers.  We didn’t have even a nibble on any of our nicest things, but we did make a number of fifty to three hundred dollar sales, most of which were, surprisingly, for books instead of ephemera.   

    It also looks like we will complete a sale of some Marylandia (including a piece of sheet music from 1844 commemorating the opening of the world's first telegraph line which ran from Washington to Baltimore) to a special collection librarian we met at the charitable dinner for the Elisabeth Woodburn Educational Fund sponsored by the ABAA's Southeast Chapter on the night before the sale.
    The dinner, by the way, was held at an unassuming little restaurant, the Bar Pilar, in DC’s still gentrifying U Street Corridor.  Just as you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, you shouldn't judge the Bar Pilar by it's lack of curb appeal.  Not only was the food excellent, but it kept coming and coming and coming.  In all, there were five courses plus appetizers and dessert.  Nick Cooke, of Black Swan Books, deserves a medal for putting it together.

    We also bought an accumulation of two hundred or so books from nice lady who was getting a jump on her spring cleaning and wanted to clear out some clutter.  She had stuffed them into department store shopping bags and a few ratty boxes and then crammed them into her little Corolla before coming to the show.  We haven’t had time to go through them yet, but her asking price was right, and I’ve since noticed a number of interesting things.  No doubt that the buy will provide some fresh stock for the antique mall. 

    Now it’s on to the next show, one of our favorites.  We’ll be at the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair in St. Petersburg, which opens this coming Friday evening.  A relatively new bookseller from Texas, Adam Schachter of Langdon Manor Books, will be helping out in our booth, so please stop by to say hello.  We’ll have some new acquisitions with us including a first printing of The Cook’s Own Book, and group of materials related to Colonel Ellsworth and his Zouaves, and a turn-of-the-century men's fashion catalog with swatch samples.

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