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AbeBooks Invites You to PulpFest 2017: July 27-30

AbeBooks is excited to announce our renewed sponsorship of PulpFest, the “pop culture center of the universe.” The annual convention, renowned for its interesting and entertaining programming revolving around pulp fiction and pulp art, is taking place this year in Pittsburgh, PA, from July 27-30.

Planned as the summertime destination for fans and collectors of vintage popular fiction and related materials, PulpFest seeks to honor pulp fiction and pulp art by drawing attention to the many ways they have inspired writers, artists, film directors, software developers, game designers, and other creators over the decades.

This year, PulpFest will pay tribute to the hardboiled detective genre and female pulp characters. The convention is also celebrating the 100th anniversary of Robert Bloch, the author of the classic horror novel PSYCHO, who was a pulp writer in his early years. AbeBooks sellers to exhibit their products include Dark Star Books, Tim’s BooksJohn W. Knott, Jr. and Dearly Departed Books.

In addition to their exciting programming, PulpFest will host a large dealers’ room featuring tens of thousands of pulp magazines, vintage paperbacks, digests, men’s adventure and true crime magazines, original art, first edition hardcovers, series books, reference books, dime novels and story papers, Big Little Books, B-Movies, serials and related paper collectibles, old-time radio shows, and Golden and Silver Age comic books, as well as newspaper adventure strips. There will also be an auction held on Saturday night that promises to be one for the ages!

For more information about the convention and to register, visit www.pulpfest.com.

AbeBooks Sponsors Twin Cities Antiquarian & Rare Book Fair – June 30 & July 1

The 27th annual Twin Cities Antiquarian and Rare Book Fair is just around the corner! Are you going? The event, presented by the Midwest Antiquarian Booksellers Association, is taking place June 30 & July 1, 2017, in the Progress Center at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.

According to the fair’s website, over fifty dealers from across the United States will be offering antiquarian, fine and rare books in nearly every field, including first editions, fine bindings, children’s books, local history, vintage books & advertising, ephemera, maps and more. Not a collector (yet!)? The exhibitors will have lots of reading copies of great books at awesome prices.

In addition to browsing books and ephemera, visitors will have the opportunity to hear an exciting lineup of speakers from The Quatrefoil Library, The Minneapolis Athenaeum and Twin Cities Sisters in Crime. All day on Saturday, July 1, the Minnesota Center for Book Arts’ Artist’s Co-op will bring a Kelsey tabletop press and print free letterpress keepsake bookmarks for all attendees. And, visitors will have a chance to win a $25 gift certificate every hour on Saturday between 11am and 3pm.

Admission is only $7 for both days, $5 for Saturday only and free for children, high school and college students. AbeBooks is thrilled to sponsor this fair. Be sure to visit and learn all about book collecting, book arts and more!

For gold & glory – rare Pancho Villa ‘gringo’ recruitment poster goes on sale

Atencion Gringo – a rare Pancho Villa poster designed to recruit Americans

A scarce Pancho Villa recruitment poster – designed to attract Americans to fight in the Mexican Revolution – has been listed for sale on AbeBooks.com.

Villa (1878-1923) was a key figure in the revolution and has gone down in Mexican folklore as a heroic leader. The dramatic poster, which offers riches and glory to anyone who rides with Villa, reads:

Atención Gringo

For Gold & Glory

Come South of the Border and Ride With Pancho Villa

El Liberator of Mexico!

Weekly Payments in Gold To Dynamiters * Machine Gunners * Railroaders

Enlistments Taken In Juarez, Mexico

January 1915

Viva Villa! Viva Revolución!

The poster is priced at $2,390 and is offered by Anniroc Rare Books in Los Angeles. It is the only one available on AbeBooks. Few original posters from this era survive because most were pasted to walls or noticeboards.

At this time, posters were an important recruitment tool for the military. Two iconic posters were issued in World War I – Britain’s Lord Kitchener “Wants You” and America’s Uncle Sam “I Want You for the US Army.”

A wealthy landowner, Villa commanded the División del Norte (Division of the North) in the Constitutionalist Army and his victories contributed to the defeat of president Victoriano Huerta in 1914.

From 1915 onwards, the revolution became a civil war between competing factions looking to seize power in the vacuum left by Huerta’s defeat.

Any gringos who joined Villa’s army in January 1915 would probably not have found gold or glory. Villa’s forces were defeated at the Battle of Celaya in April 1915 by the army of fellow revolutionary Venustiano Carranza. Villa escaped with his life. A year later, he began to cross the border and attack US towns, which forced President Wilson to send an expedition of 5,000 soldiers to pursue Villa through Mexico.

Original 1916 reward posters issued by US authorities in Columbus. New Mexico, which Villa attacked, have sold for $800 and are more common than original posters issued by Villa himself. Incidentally, the gringos offered $5,000 for information leading to Villa’s capture.

Villa was assassinated in July 1923 when his car was attacked by multiple gunmen, who were probably acting on orders from Villa’s political rivals.

He remains an important figure in popular culture. There have been more than 30 films made about Villa’s life. Yul Brynner and Telly Savalas are among the actors to have played him. His depiction in history books varies from brutal murderer to gallant revolutionary who never received the due he deserved.

See the poster

Celebrate the Love of Books with Melbourne Rare Book Week: June 30 – July 9, 2017

If you love reading, book collecting and learning about all things literary, then you won’t want to miss Melbourne Rare Book Week. The event, taking place between June 30 and July 9 is organized and presented by the Australian and New Zealand Association of Antiquarian Booksellers (ANZAAB).

What began as a partnership between ANZAAB, the University of Melbourne and eight other literary institutions in 2012 has grown dramatically in size and reputation over the past five years: Melbourne Rare Book Week is now a major local, national and international attraction for book collectors, librarians and all who have a love of words, print on paper and literary heritage.

In 2017, over 60 free events will be held at libraries, literary and historical societies and bookshops throughout Melbourne. Lectures, tours, panel discussions and more will give visitors an in-depth look at popular writers, cultural figures and fascinating topics in literary history.

The events will culminate in the 45th annual Melbourne Rare Book Fair (also known as the Australian Antiquarian Book Fair), taking place July 7-9 in the Wilson Hall at the University of Melbourne. Leading rare book dealers from Australia, Japan, the UK and the USA will offer a rich and diverse array of rare and collectible books, maps, photographs and manuscript materials, at prices to suit all levels of collecting.

AbeBooks sellers to exhibit their products at Melbourne Rare Book Fair include Kay Craddock – Antiquarian BooksellerBooks on Dean, Asia BookroomBerkelouw Books, Astrolabe Booksellers, Jonathan A. Hill, Peter Harrington and  Kagerou Bunko. Plus, look for the AbeBooks ad in this year’s program!

All events at Melbourne Rare Book Week are free, but most require advance bookings. Visit the online schedule to view event descriptions and sign up for some incredible opportunities. Happy reading!

Seller Q&A: RJM Autographs and Antiques

RJM Autographs and Antiques is a seller with a love of history and a passion for sharing it. The shop, located in Boston, Massachusetts, is owned and operated by Bob Minnocci, who has been collecting and selling historic documents, autographs, books and antiques for more than 25 years. The focus of RJM Autographs and Antiques is to provide a broad range of material from many categories, including Revolutionary War, Civil War, abolitionist, slavery, political and Americana in general. It’s the perfect place to find a one-of-a-kind gift or the next treasure for your collection.

We asked Bob Minnocci to share his experience of working in the field. Here’s what he had to say.

AbeBooks: How did you become a professional seller of ephemera and collectibles?

Bob: Beginning in college, where I was a journalism major and a history minor, I had a keen interest in politics and American history. After college, I became an investigative newspaper reporter, a profession that demands a deep search for the truth. I have been collecting and selling ephemera and manuscripts since the 1980s. It’s a field that continues to enable me to exercise my passion for uncovering aspects of history.


AbeBooks: What do you love most about working in your field?

Bob: I love selling history, mostly American history as it relates to justice. The American experience for all its faults always seems to move toward justice. I often look for examples that best elucidate that justice when I’m searching for inventory. I enjoy the search for letters and documents containing content that describes or says something about a historical event. This might be something written by a political figure, a civil war soldier or someone from the Revolutionary War. It may contain only a morsel of related information or a trove. Each and every piece helps to solve the puzzle of how we got to where we are.

AbeBooks: What is the most prized item in your inventory? Why?

Bob: At the moment — Helen Keller’s photograph and autograph. Helen Keller was a great person, waiting to emerge and she did so in a brilliant way against odds that, during her time, would have left most people a complete invalid. To think that this was a woman who during part of her life struggled and achieved before women were given the right to vote is amazing to me.


AbeBooks: What’s the one collectible item you covet most? Why?

Bob: I have an autograph of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a real American hero, in my opinion, who reshaped the course of American history with respect to African Americans, ultimately broadening the scope of freedom and justice for everyone. It’s difficult to imagine that in the 1960s, nearly a hundred years after the Civil War, African Americans did not enjoy the universal right to vote in America and many lost their lives or suffered physical and verbal abuse as they tried to exercise those rights. Dr. King lost his, yet he left an enormous legacy.

AbeBooks: What’s the oddest collectible you’ve come across?

Bob: It was a letter written by Jon Jay when he was governor of New York in which he pardoned two prostitutes. Very odd and difficult to research.


AbeBooks: What has been your most memorable moment as a professional ephemera/collectibles seller?

Bob: I purchased a box of letters once from an auction that were poorly described. When I began reading them, I found they were an archive of gold rush letters, an incredible find.

AbeBooks: And of course, what is your favorite collectible item or piece of ephemera?

Bob: In general, my favorites always lean toward American history as it extends itself toward the arch of justice and liberty. I have a letter written by a Confederate to his slaves. This was in the middle of the war that would take hundreds of thousands of lives and only barely resolve the issue of slavery, yet it tells of how one man felt toward his slaves — an important expression, though certainly not laudable.

A new chapter for Maggs Bros in Bedford Square

The entrance to Maggs Bros’ new HQ

Maggs Bros, one of the world’s oldest antiquarian booksellers, has moved to new premises in London. The firm, which employs 20 staff, now has its headquarters in a Georgian townhouse in Bedford Square in Bloomsbury. They spent almost eight decades in Berkeley Square.

This is the latest chapter in the long life of a business that was established in 1853. Back then, Charles Dickens was the superstar of literature while George Hamilton-Gordon, a forgotten man of politics, was Britain’s prime minister, and the Crimean War was just getting started.

Titus Boeder of Maggs Bros

Titus Boeder, who is Maggs’ specialist in Japanese photography, design and travel, was kind enough to provide a guided tour.

“We started by selling to the people in London, and then we sold to Europe and then to the United States, and, today, we sell to the entire world and places like Australia and China are important to us,” said Titus.

Maggs was founded by Uriah Maggs  in 1853 and successive generations of the Maggs family have continued to run the business ever since. Today, Ed Maggs is managing director and his son Benjamin is part of the bookselling team.

After entering the building, there is framed picture after framed picture of the managing directors as you proceed up the stairway.

Downstairs, there is a bright and well-lit room dedicated to modern literature, and after that each room is dedicated to some specialism or other, with Maggs’ in-house experts seated close to the books they are offering for sale.

Maggs’ travel department and Titus’ office

The travel room on the second floor – which Titus shares with colleagues Hugh Bett, Mark Tewfik, Fuchsia Voremberg and Sam Cotterell is quite the office. There is also an exhibition space and Bloomsbury – yes, the Bloomsbury that publishes Harry Potter – is a tenant with space on the top floor.

Moving house is stressful for anyone but must have been mind-blowing for a business that has existed for more than 150 years. “We found books that we never knew we had,” smiled Titus. “It was quite the achievement for us.” Before Berkeley Square, Maggs operated out of the Strand and Conduit Street. Leaving Conduit Street in 1938 for Berkeley Square was a fine idea as their old building was flattened in the Blitz.

Shelves upon shelves of rare books at the Maggs office

Over the years, Maggs had handled the world’s most famous books and worked with governments, aristocrats, institutions and royalty. It’s interesting to learn that Maggs’ 1,300+ catalogues have become valuable reference tools in themselves due to the high level of scholarly research put into them.

Bedford Square is a grand place, designed as a venue to meet the important clientele that sustains their high-end book business. The building is linked by a corridor to a mews at the rear and contains a photography studio, an office dedicated to handling online orders and numerous mini-reference libraries.

Interestingly, Maggs has also opened a shop in Curzon Street in Mayfair to ensure booklovers, perhaps people just starting to collect, have a place where they can just walk in and browse Maggs’ beautiful books.

“We serve established clients around the world but we still want to introduce new people to rare books,” added Titus.

The modern literature section

Pictures of Maggs’ managing directors going back to 1853

How the West was regulated – a Dodge City license for prostitution in 1876

A Dodge City license for prostitution from 1876

This remarkable document sold via AbeBooks.com yesterday – a license for prostitution issued by the authorities in Dodge City, Kansas, on 10 March 1876.

The girl, named as Laura Belle, paid $2.50 every three months and had to post the license in her room above the saloon where she conducted her business.

Take a closer look and you will see the license is approved by Marshal Wyatt Earp, the Wild West’s most famous lawman who participated in the gunfight the O.K. Corral, but these documents were issued through the county assessor’s office so neither Earp nor his deputy Bat Masterson took part in the issuing of the document.

The photograph of Laura also catches the eye. There’s a sad resignation to her expression.

The license sold for $360.

Laura Belle was probably not this lady’s real name

The humble edition that inspired Call the Midwife

Back in 2002, a small publisher in Twickenham called Merton Books published a memoir by a nurse called Jennifer Worth.  This unassuming paperback, with its black and white cover, doesn’t look much but it launched the Call the Midwife phenomenon.

Jennifer Worth’s obscure edition printed by Merton Books

The book described Worth’s experiences as a midwife in east London in the 1950s as the city tried to rebuild after the ravages of World War II. Worth’s account was so good that it was spotted by Weidenfeld & Nicolson who bought the rights and published it for a larger audience. It became a bestseller. Then in 2012 the BBC dramatised the book with a notable cast that included Miranda Hart and today the series has been viewed around the world.

Only one copy of Worth’s original edition is available on AbeBooks – it’s a very scarce book, and this copy has been inscribed by the author.

Offered the sale by Christian White of Modernfirsteditions, the book was displayed at the London Antiquarian Book Fair over the weekend – a rather modest book for such as a grand event but the background story makes up for its humble appearance.

Worth published three further memoirs – Shadows of the Workhouse, Farewell to The East End, and In the Midst of Life. Sadly, she died in 2011 and never saw the BBC adaptation of her book.

Find copies of Call the Midwife

Booklovers descend on Olympia for London International Antiquarian Book Fair

Blue skies at Olympia

Almost every book that ever made a mark on the world appears to be here at the London International Antiquarian Book Fair in the Olympia exhibition centre. It’s rather like the world’s largest lesson in book history. A Paradise Lost here, numerous James Bond first editions there, a liberal sprinkling of Evelyn Waughs across the room.

The event has true international appeal. There are booksellers from at least 10 countries, including Argentina and Russia, and collectors fly in from the US, Germany, Italy, France and many other places to buy books. Many of the rare book world’s most famous sellers are in attendance from Bernard Quaritch of London to Bauman Rare Books of New York.

The fair attracted a solid opening day crowd, with a line-up of people waiting in the warm London sunshine before the doors opened. Walking the floor, it was obvious that books were being sold. It was also clear that this is an event where old friendships are renewed with sellers greeting numerous familiar faces among the visitors.

Alongside the deeply impressive antiquarian books and goodness only knows how many modern first editions, there are also prints, atlases and maps, and art books. I have also seen a couple of signed cricket bats, an antiquarian microscope, globes and a large amount of ephemera.

Although there are expensive books in every direction, visitors are encouraged to handle the books. A mission of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association, the event’s organiser, is to make rare book collecting as accessible as possible.

One of the talking points of this fair is that the event will move to a new location in 2018 after 20 years at Olympia. Located on Chelsea Bridge Gate, Battersea Evolution will host the event next year from 24 to 26 May.

It continues today (Saturday) from 11am to 4pm – come down and see some of the world’s finest rare books.

James and Georgina Hallgate from Lucius Books located in York. Lucius offers rare books and manuscripts with a focus on modern first editions, literature, children’s books, crime and detective fiction, illustrated books and original artwork

Anthony Smithson from Keel Row Books in North Shields. Anthony had a broad range of books from North East-themed books to a first issue of the Viz comic

Pedro Castro e Silva from Lisbon’s Livraria Castro E Silva displays an early Portuguese book. Livraria Castro E Silva, which has an open shop in the centre of Lisbon, offers numerous examples of books about the early Portuguese explorers.

Titus Boeder, a travel and exploration specialist from Maggs Bros Ltd, handles a couple of rare books. Established in 1853, Maggs Brothers is one of the world’s oldest antiquarian bookselling firms.

I turned one corner and spotted these rare medical books, open to these beautiful if slightly gruesome illustrations

Some of the most expensive books at the fair were atlases offered by Daniel Crouch Rare Books. Prices went up to as much as £900,000. This firm specialises in antique atlases, maps, plans, sea charts and voyages dating from the 15th to 19th centuries.

11th Annual Rose City Book & Paper Fair is June 16-17

AbeBooks is pleased to sponsor the 11th annual Rose City Book & Paper Fair, which is taking place June 16-17 in Portland, Oregon. The event, presented by the Cascade Booksellers Association, is an excellent chance to interact with expert book dealers from all over the Pacific Northwest.

Thousands of books from independent booksellers will be on display, along with a wide array of paper ephemera. This year, the fair is offering rare and collectible books; used and bargain books; ephemera; prints; door prizes; and appraisals. With such a wide selection available, the fair is perfect for seasoned collectors, hobby enthusiasts and anyone interested in finding their next great read.

Dozens of AbeBooks sellers will be exhibiting their products. Among them you’ll find Oldimprints, Pam’s Fine Books, Burnside Rare Books, Daedalus Books, Windows Booksellers, Montgomery Rare Books & Manuscripts, Cultural Images, Aardvark Books, and John Michael Lang Fine Books.

To view a full list of exhibitors attending the fair, visit the Cascade Booksellers Association website. In addition, you can receive updates by following the Rose City Book & Paper Fair on Facebook.

Admission for both days is $3, with proceeds benefitting SMART and The Children’s Food Bank. AbeBooks encourages anyone in the area June 16-17 to attend!