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Visiting New York Book Fairs

Earlier this month I visited the ABAA New York Antiquarian Book Fair and the Manhattan Vintage Book & Ephemera Show. Each year AbeBooks attends a variety of book fairs in North America and Europe. Visiting the book fairs is a great opportunity to meet our booksellers face to face and see some of the beautiful books they have.

Mixed in with the many books at the fair you can also find rare maps, prints, photos and sometimes items so unique they are hard to categorize.

There were several standout items for me at this fair, and just choosing a few to share was challenging. Here are just a few of the items I loved:

By far, my favorite at this fair was a small illustrated songbook manuscript presented by White Fox Rare Books, which can also be found on AbeBooks, Cahier de Chansons Commence en Captivite Le 1/10/1941.

The manuscript was made by Leo Osteng, a French prisoner held in a German POW camp during World War Two. Vibrant and lively illustrations accompany the hand written song lyrics.


White Fox Rare Books also brought along another of my favorites, a Monogram Album with Monograms Incorporated into Watercolors and Ink drawings. Monogram albums were common place in the Victorian era. People would cut out and save the crests and monograms found on letters and envelopes they received and then past them into albums. Some books were very simple and others more detailed and decorative, such as the one I found at the New York Book Fair. There are many great examples of Monogram albums on the AbeBooks site.


Lux Mentis Books always has unique books and ephemera and this time they brought some beautiful miniature books, each one no larger than a few inches.


The art historian in me loved this small, untitled but signed oil painting by poet E.E. Cummings that Massachussetts bookseller Ken Lopez brought to the fair.

If you’re interested in paintings by E.E. Cummings, there are many more on the AbeBooks site.

This is just a small sample of the incredible books and ephemera that you can find at an antiquarian book fair. Everything you see at the book fair is accessible and available to handle, and there’s nothing quite like picking up a book that is being sold for $10,000.

What I love most about these fairs is the friendliness and accessibility: although there are many high-priced books, there are also always items for new collectors, and the booksellers are more than happy to answer your questions and help you enter the world of collecting.

Guest post compliments of Maria Hutchison, AbeBooks Account Manager for our rare and collectible segment.

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