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Saturday, April 15, 2017
Does The ABAA Preserve Book History?
recently attending the Antiquarian Book Fair in New York City in March, I
realized that the show is one of the rare glimpses the public gets of old, rare
or valuable books. Some museums may have
a handful of volumes on display at any given time, but the show allows a
hands-on chance to feel or come within inches of books that are worth a lot of
money. Though the show’s goal is to sell
millions of dollars’ worth of inventory, it also serves an important role in
promoting a piece of our cultural history.
show was sponsored, in part by the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of
America, which is headquartered in New York City. The ABAA is a trade association that now
boasts of over 450 members. Founded in
1949, it performs an important function, as its members acquire and sell the
highest quality fine and rare books, maps, documents, autographs, ephemera and
prints at varying price points.
ABAA helps set the market pricing for the treasure trove of books that are
collected. Its members use professional
appraisers to properly assign a value for the wares it sells. It hosts three fairs each year – New York,
Boston, and alternately SF/LA. Several
of its members have published bibliographies, novels, articles, and literature
about rare books and printed matter. It
also offers a digital newsletter available at www.abaa.org.
else can one be so close to some of the rarist, oldest, or most valuable books?
York Public Library
Free Library of Philadelphia Boston Public Library L.A. Public Library
collections at major schools (Princeton, Cornell, Harvard, Yale)
of visiting the above-mentioned places or attending an auction, attending the
Antiquarian Book Fair is a great way to get acquainted with books that are
eight centuries old, first editions of works from iconic authors, and
linguists, publishers, editors, writers, cover designers, printers and
historians are in Heaven when amidst historical, valuable, and important
books, such as the ones displayed and sold at the fair.
love books but don’t really collect them.
To objectify or worship them like gold or a commodity is not my
style. I like to own books that I can
read and touch. It’s in my house because
of its contents, not its collector value.
But I understand that some people collect these treasures and in the
end, they help preserve our beautiful culture and history.
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