Rocky Mountain Antiquarian Book Fair, August 2-3, 2002
By Sue Gallagher (with Notes From G’Jim (Arner) and Julie Fauble)
The 18th Annual Rocky Mountain Antiquarian Book Fair (RMABF) went off as smooth as polished calf under the professional direction of Lois Harvey, IOBA member. At 11:30 a.m., one could see only carts and shelving and boxes and lots of flotsam and jetsam clogging the aisles. At noon the 4 foot Blimpies arrived. Everyone took a quick break to eat a chef salad on a bun. At 1:30 p.m. the massage group arrived to knead away the dealers’ aching muscles. We’re not kidding. By 5:00 p.m. Friday, the lobby was full and the doors opened to a room transformed into neatly appointed booths with well-organized shelves of books and lighted cases with the finest of selections. The dealers were ready to sell.
In eleven hours over the two days, the more than 1200 visitors to the fair roamed the aisles, bought books and had an opportunity to eat the same old not haute cuisine. Marginal food didn’t matter; books were the point of the exercise.
Available for the serious collector were such prizes as The Big Rock Candy Mountain, signed by Stegner; a very nearly fine/fine Grapes of Wrath, a signed Rackham Cinderella and as usual the Denver fair featured large selections of Western Americana. One niche collector found a Don Quixote in Danish. Also on display was a sampling of some of the most beautiful slipcases and clamshell boxes made by local artisan, Bob Wang, Book Finders West and East.
Friday night brought the serious collectors and the non-showing dealers out in force. Familiar faces included Michael Ginsberg and Ed Glaser, in town scouting before heading to Colorado Springs for the Out-of-Print & Antiquarian Book Market Seminar. Mike and Ed had Dick Weatherford, this year’s keynote speaker at the Seminar, in tow. For those who are curious, he was a serious buyer and a charming fellow. It wouldn’t be a Denver book fair without Denver’s own John Dunning scouring the shelves and chatting with anyone who felt the urge. No Brad Pitt, John Laroquette, Ricky Jay, or Regards, Jeff, but we did just fine, thank you.
Saturday’s special guests, Larry and Nancy Goldstone, authors of Used and Rare, Slightly Chipped, and Warmly Inscribed, gave a pair of well-attended afternoon talks and were joined by Jennifer Larson of Jeffrey Marks Books for a discussion of fakes and forgeries.
IOBA members showing at the fair included: Jim Arner, Julie Fauble, Don Gallagher, Beverly Garst, Mike Greenbaum, Carol Grossman, Lois Harvey, and Ken Sanders.
Special thanks go to the RMABF Committee Members: Helen Dunning, Joanne Weiss, Linda Lebsack, Ginny Brown and Paul Mahoney for providing the dealers an opportunity buy, sell and show off. Also a hand to Carol Grossman, President of the Rocky Mountain Antiquarian Booksellers Association, the Fair sponsor. And finally, a salute to Lois Harvey, Fair Manager, for an efficient, extraordinarily well organized, and amazingly secure show.
Looking forward to next year. For those of you who missed this one, catch it next year as a dealer or visitor – Friday and Saturday, August 1 & 2, 2003.
There were approximately 85-90 booksellers exhibiting at the Fair, and we estimated that there must have been somewhere around 35,000 to 40,000 books there.
Quite a few people were lined up on Friday evening, to get in when the doors first opened. When the Fair closed, Lois Harvey had to do several announcements to get finally everyone to leave.
(Editor’s Note: G’Jim says he didn’t partake of a massage, except his ‘Cowboy Massage’—you’ll have to ask him about that one but I’ll give you a hint—comes in a flask.)