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2011 London International Antiquarian Book Fair

The London International Antiquarian Book Fair is one of the highlights on the rare book calendar. This year’s fair begins on Thursday 9 June and continues until Saturday 11 June at the Olympia Exhibition Centre.

Visitors will see rare and collectable books offered for sale from the finest booksellers in Europe, North America and Australia. Traditionally, the fair showcases a wide range of books and ephemera, stretching from 15th century antiquarian gems to hypermodern first editions.

Aside from the opportunity to enhance your collection, the fair includes a detailed schedule of events ideal for beginners and experienced book collectors.

Organised by the Antiquarian Booksellers Association (ABA) and affiliated to the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB), the London International Antiquarian Book Fair has been in business for 54 years. All the dealers are affiliated to ILAB.

Many of the booksellers will be familiar to customers of AbeBooks. Bauman Rare Books, Paul Foster, Stephen Foster, Robert Frew, Adrian Harrington Rare Books, Peter Harrington, Jonkers Rare Books, Maggs Bros., Bernard Quaritch, Royal Books, Bernard Shapero, Sims Reed, Peter L Stern and Voyager Press Rare Books are just a handful of the 160+ exhibitors.

Friday features an afternoon of lectures:

• 14.00 – 14.30 Celebrating 400 years of the King James Bible: The book that changed the world – The Rev. David Smith

• 15.00 – 15.30 Forgery of Books and Manuscripts for Pleasure or Profit – Nicolas Barker

• 16.00 – 16.30 How Do You Price a Book? – Rick Gekoski

• 17.00 – 17.30 Book Collecting for Beginners – Jolyon Hudson of Marlborough Rare Books

Saturday features an ABA Roadshow where a panel of experts that will offer appraisals on books, photographs, letters or manuscripts. The experts include Adam Blakeney from Peter Harrington Antiquarian Bookseller, Justin Croft, Clive Farahar and Brian Lake from Jarndyce Antiquarian Booksellers.

Visitors on Saturday will also be able to enjoy bookbinding and calligraphy taster sessions. Shepherds Bookbinding, the prestigious London firm, hopes to introduce younger people to the craft of bookbinding and has recently devised a bookbinding kit, in conjunction with the V&A Museum, which serves as a quick and creative way to learn about this craft. Shepherds will be demonstrating the kit and inviting visitors to sign up their children (10 years or older) for this course – each session lasts about 30 minutes. The bookbinding kits cost £15 each and the on-site tuition is free.

Sharon Shaw, a freelance calligrapher, will also be on hand to teach visitors (ideally youngsters) how to write in italics.

This year’s fair patron is the actress and bibliophile Zoë Wanamaker. An accomplished performer on stage, screen and television, Wanamaker lists Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows as the book she’d most like to have on a desert island. The fair is also supporting Shakespeare’s Globe theatre via its charity preview event. The Globe plans to build a Shakespeare research centre and library.

The Olympia Exhibition Centre can be found on Hammersmith Road, London W14. Travel to Kensington (Olympia) on the District line from Earls Court. The venue is next to the station.

Advance tickets are free of charge if you register online. Entrance costs are £10 or £15 for two on Thursday and Friday on the door, and £5 or £7.50 for two on Saturday. Children are admitted free when accompanied by an adult.

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