Preparations for the PBFA London Antiquarian Fair

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It is that time of year again, when Marcia and I must put all thoughts of road trips to one side, whilst we concentrate on preparing for the PBFA London Antiquarian Book Fair.  As the name suggests, this is in London, has lots of antiquarian books and is put on by the PBFA. We manage the fair – so it keeps up pretty busy.

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This year, we have once more gathered a group of over 100 exhibitors who come to London to buy and sell beautiful books, maps and other works on paper. Dealers come from every part of the world to be part of the fair. This year at the Ibis Hotel, Lillie Road, we will welcome dealers from Canada – including Aquila books, and Voyager Press. From America,  B & B Rare Books and D & D Galleries. (My new policy of only accepting Americans who use initials for their trading name seems to be bearing fruit). We also have friends old and new from Europe. Christian Haslinger and Antiquariaat Talke will both be presenting their usual impressive stands. We are also bringing along a contingent of Dutch booksellers this year, who we have met on our travels.

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Of course our core membership are the stalwarts of the PBFA. . We are very pleased that we span the generations of the organisation. Gerry and Glenda Mosdell, from the Junction bookshop are amongst the “founding fathers” of the Association, and are at the other end of the spectrum we are pleased to once again welcome the Bibliomaniacs, a group of booksellers from Papplewick school in Ascot, who proudly claim themselves as the youngest antiquarian booksellers in the world.

Bibliomaniacs 3

Whatever your particular taste in books,  you will find examples here. From the fine bindings of Temple Bookbinders to the Modern Firsts of Holybourne Books and Cheltenham Rare Books From the ancient manuscripts of Alastor and Modern First Editions to the Antarctic explorations of Kingsbridge Books and Meridian Books. Naturally there will be a variety of maps and prints from the likes of Michael Morris and several others.

As usual, the event is part of Rare Books London, which sees London present a variety of book fairs and events to the world. We hope you will be able to come and visit the fair. If you do – be sure to say hello to Marcia on the reception, and Marc on the Harrison-Hiett stand

Maastricht – MABP & TEFAF

After the joy of the Colmar fair, it was time that we prepared our new stock and set off for Maastricht for the MABP. Maastricht is in the very south of the Netherlands – in South Limburg, a thin strand between Germany and Belgium.

The MABP is a lovely little fair. In St Jan’s church, in the centre of the old town, overlooking the market square. You can see St Jan’s at night at the top of the page. 

There was a wealth of fabulous items at the fair, on entering the church, one of the first things I saw (it was hard not to) was a large lithograph by Picasso, “Femme au corsage à fleurs.”  offered by De Vries & De Vries. Produced in 1957, it is simple yet striking.

picasso

Equally striking, but in a very different way, was on the stand of Paul Bremmers. The theme of the Maastricht fair this year was cartography, and if you are going to have a map, then one of those on Paul Bremmers stand would certainly fit the bill. At 2.4 metres by 1.7 metres the Nova Tabula Dioeceseos Traiectinae (Nieuwe Kaart van den Lande van Utrecht) is a lot of map!

Utrecht

At the end of the second evening, the hall was slightly rearranged, and we gathered together to have an excellent meal, put on by the fair organisers. The English contingent, including our colleagues from Graham York Books, in Honiton and Marrin’s Bookshop in Folkestone, joined us at the table, if only to keep Marcia under control! 

dinner

Of course, whilst in Maastricht, it was essential to go and visit the TEFAF fair. Naturally, the emphasis here is on art and antiques – the entrance and corridors are fabulous themselves. Japanese suits of armour guide you down the corridors to the exhibits.

tefaf

On our way around we managed to sniff out a few of our colleagues offering books and maps. At the Bernard Shapero stand, I was very excited to see a set of the Andy Warhol Shoes.  I have seen the book of these, but never the full sized lithographs. 

warhol

It was good to see some of the new-comers to TEFAF, such as Librairie Camile Sourget who were exhibiting for the first time. Something to aspire to one day!

sourget

Finally, we went off to find our friends at Daniel Crouch Rare Books who had a fabulous display of globes and maps. crouch

After all of this excitement, we retreated to our apartment, and packed up for the long (long) drive to Sweden for the Stockholm ILAB fair, where we shall next report from.

A Visit to Colmar book fair

Pausing only to put our snowshoes and extra warm jumpers away, Marcia and I went to the airport to go to the the SELAC fair (Salon européen du livre ancien et de la gravure de Colmar).

Colmar is a very nice little town in Alsace, just inside France. The border is so close that in the airport you choose whether to walk through customs into France, Germany or Switzerland.

Once there, we had a lovely time, with 40 dealers from France and Germany. Having met up with Kurt from Catawiki, we set off around the fair.  Two things particularly stood out for me here. One was the sheer number of excellent limited, illustrated editions by French authors (often in very limited numbers indeed), and the number of exhibitors who displayed beautiful visual pieces. Indeed, for me, this was almost a varied and fascinating art exhibition.

One of the first stands to catch my eye, was Antiquariat Barbian, from Saarbrucken with some marvellous Chagall colour lithographs printed by Mourlot of Paris, such as this editions of Le Monstres de Notre Dame 

chagall

Another stand with striking images was a local exhibitor, librairie le Cadratin of Colmar. They had some wonderful images of the Alps, including this dramatic ascent of Chamonix by Adolphe Braun.braun

My final image, was from a series of Caricatures. Pierre Chatillon was a Swiss national, who had been imprisoned during the first world war for a less than flattering image of Kaiser Willhelm. Whilst incarcerated, he produced a fabulous series of original works, all caricatures of his gaolers and other German officers. This delightful image was my favourite (See header image).These were offered, along with some original Gustave Dore illustrations by librairie Pierre Calvet

dore

Naturally I couldn’t let the opportunity pass, and brought far too many books. In fact so many, that we had book extra baggage on the plane home, and drag Kurt along on a trip to Strasbourg in order to purchase a suitcase. Marcia was most displeased!  My favourite purchase kept up with the theme of artistic items – I picked up a lovely photograph album showing the carnival floats at Nice in 1897

carnival

Money and energy depleted, we set of home once again, to briefly rest before packing up our stock, and preparing for the Maastricht MAPF and TEFAF next weekend.

The vagaries of age

A very sweet old lady came into the shop….

“Are we allowed to choose our own book ?”

Ah if only you weren’t.

We would do so much better if I could choose which books people had to have. All my old and unsaleable ones would fly off the shelves.

“Yes madam, I am certain that Sweet and Maxwell’s “Medical Negligence in County Court Judgements” is a thrilling book, and will certainly keep you amused for hours”

first published April 2008.


A very nice old chap comes in.

Looking for a book. Can’t remember the title or the author.

But the authors man is a fish – comes in tins – quite tasty.

All of the customers (yes I had several) joined in to try to help. He was offered Sardines, but apparently it begins with a ‘C’ and is the cheapest fish you get in a tin.

Suggested Cod, Colley, Carp, Californian Sardine, Kippers (yes I know) and various others, but no joy. He went off promising to return with the name.

He hasn’t.

I am frustrated now. Suggestions please.

First published April 2008


a woman of a certain age walks into the shop, and approaches me with a “hello, i know you are busy”

I instantly suspected a sale pitch, but no. She then asked.

“Do you have a book for thickening up hair ?”

I looked suitably blank (not having a clue what she was talking about)

“My sister is getting on, and has a bald patch, and I want a book to thicken her hair… I’d pay anything for it”

“Ah, do you mean a book about hairdressing madam ?”

“Not really, I don’t want to do hairdressing, i just want to know how to thicken my sisters hair”

I suggested that it might be easier to just ask a hairdresser for advice, which she thought was a jolly good idea, and set off to obtain immediately.

first published April 2008

Freebies & The New World Order

Chap walks in with the customary and highly cheerful “Good Morning, how are you today” that you just KNOW means he is going to try to sell you something.

He comes up to the counter, and pulls out a month old and tatty copy of “Antiques Explorer” magazine. A free mag, that we distribute from the shop. “Would you be interested in buying this ?” he asks.

“But we give it out free to the public”

“Yes but this is a back issue – surely there are some collectors”

after pointing out that a month old is not quite into the antiquarian and collectible scale of things, i dig out another 10 copies that we failed to hand out for free, and ask him if he would like to take these to add to his collection – that way he can make a real killing if he finds anyone stupid enough to buy them!

Sadly he doesn’t want my copies. I guess i will have to recycle them as usual!

first published March 2008.

Image result for caricature  bookshop antiquarian

They do exist.

I have just been on the end of an genuine rant by a genuine conspiracy theorist who genuinely believes that the world is secretly run by the New World Order. I didn’t think they really existed (The conspirasists that is – obviously the New World Order exist).

He also believes that Jews run the NWO, that members of the House of Lords are practicing their marksmanship in Westminster to defend themselves against the revolution. etc etc etc.

Here was here about 20 mins and paused for breath once.

I just smiled sweetly and glazed over!

First published March 2008

Postal Problems & Omniscience

Chap phones up to complain about a book order I have sent him.

I look up the order, and assure him that the books have gone out to him with Royal Mail.

“Oh I know that, I found them in my garden” it seems that the postie left them half in his letter box, and someone pulled them out,and threw them into the bushes.

He wanted to know what I was going to do about it.

I paused bleakly for a moment (wondering what all this had to do with me) and asked him how much damage there was to the books.

“Nothing at all, you wrapped them very well, but I wondered what compensation I would receive from you for them being thrown into the hedge”

I shall stop here !

first published January 2008.

Image result for cartoon second hand bookshop

Gentleman walks in and we have the following conversation (which I promise is not edited or made up):

Muppet: “I have some bird books – how much are they worth ?”

Mitchell: “I don’t know – do you have them with you”

Muppet: “No”

Mitchell: “Well who is the Author ?”

Muppet: “I Don’t know”

Mitchell: “Well do you know the title ?”

Muppet: “I Don’t know”

Mitchell: “Well how old are the books ?”

Muppet: “I Don’t know – they are a bit tatty – are they worth rebinding ?”

Mitchell: “That would depend on how much they are worth”

Muppet: “Oh – there are six of them. How much would they be worth then ?”

At least he didn’t tell me they were blue !!!!!

first published Feb. 2008. 

Not Just Me & Never a Cross Word.

Hurrah,
It isn’t only me !!!

I was in Waterstones the other day (I know – just looking at recently published titles – honest Your Honour), when I overheard the following.

“Hello, can you point me to the sellotape, and the children’s toys please”

“Children’s toys madam, we don’t sell children’s toys”

“Why not, you should do”

“No, we sell books madam”

“Why don’t you sell children’s toys?”

“Because we are a bookshop, why don’t you try Woolworth’s opposite”

“You mean this isn’t Woolworths…. Well why didn’t you tell me?”

So other bookshops do get them as well.

Image result for cartoon second hand bookshop

First published September 2007.

Bloke walks into the shop and presents me with a slightly crumpled book of crossword puzzles, which he hopes I will purchase from him. In my nicest voice, I decline his generous offer (Well not so generous – he wants my cash).

His reply is to ask “Why wont you buy it, my wife has only done some of them – there’s plenty more for someone else to do”

What do you say to that ? Come on – how can I reasonably respond ?

(I stuck by my ‘no’ by the way).

First Published September 5th 2005.

Europe’s Largest Book Market!

Deventer 1

Deventer Boekenmarkt 2017 

We were very excited to visit the remarkable Deventer Boekenmarkt earlier this month.

For the last 29 years, on the first Sunday of August the streets of the Dutch city of Deventer are literally filled (excuse the pun), with thousands of book stalls! The market stretches for over 6 kilometres, and showcases all kinds of books – from the secondhand book shops and antiquarian sellers, to self published novels and comic strip collections; people come from all over the Netherlands…and beyond.

The market is always popular, very organised and full of surprises. This year was no exception, and we found ourselves (armed with reading glasses and a wheel along bag) among an excited throng of over 125,000 visitors. It took us a full 8 hours to do the market justice. Thoroughly recommended!

Why Deventer?

For centuries, many printers and publishers have chosen Deventer as their base, and the city still houses many of national significance, alongside a wide variety of book shops and antiquarian book sellers.

Among other goodies, we managed to pick up some nineteenth century political cartoons, a French hand coloured folio atlas, some beautiful children’s books and a very nice Japanese postcard album.

Deventer 2         Deventer 3

The next Deventer Boekenmarkt takes place on Sunday, August 5, 2018

 

 

 

 

PBFA London International Fair

The fair is nearly upon us. This year, the fair at the ILEC suite is our biggest ever. We have more dealers than ever, with a wider range of stock. Please do come and join us at the fair. We will have regular free buses up to Olympia so that you can enjoy both fairs.

PBFA London International Fair – Ibis Hotel, 47 Lillie Road, London. SW6 1UD

Here is the floor plan and exhibitor list for the PBFA fair:

floor plan 2017 – wall copy

(I’m afraid you have to click on that one for a pop up!)

Pitch Dealer Name
A1 Veronica Watts
A2 Chris Mees
A3 White Fox
A4 Harrison-Hiett Limited
A5 Jonathan Kearns (Martin Stone)
A6 Rare & Antique Books
A7 Lorych Books
B1 Ballantyne Way (Roger)
B2 Antiquariaat Christian Haslinger
B3 Michael Morris Maps
C1 Nicholas Daly Books
C2 Unsworth Antiquarian
C3 Wildside Books
C4 Grove Rare Books
C5 Nicholas Bernstein
D1 Besley’s Books
D2 Paul Bostock
D3 Collectable Books
D4 Lymelight Books
D5 Interamnia
E1 J & S Bonham
E2 Matthew Butler
E3 Marcus Campbell
E4 Old Town Bookshop
E5 A G Cram
F1 Extraordinary Editions
F2 Bow Windows
F3 Love Rare Books
F4 Wool House Autographic
F5 Adrian Harrington
G1 John Underwood
G2 Sarah Key Books
G3 Lucius Books
G4 Voyager Press
G5 C.R. Denistoun
H1 Meridian Rare Books
H2 Rainford & Parris
H3 B.J. Walsh Old Books
H4 Robert Frew
H5 Pablo Butcher
H6 Peter Harrington
I1 Mayfly Ephemera
I2 Imperial Fine Books
I3 Bookmark Children’s Books
I4 Sevin Seydi Rare Books
I5 Zimnol Books
I6 Fine Books at Ilkley
I7 Demetzy Books
J1 West Hull Rare Books
J2 Aquila Books
J3 Dik Ramkema
K1 Petersfield Bookshop
K2 Turner Donovan Military Books
K3 Antiquarian Book Company
L1 Steven Ferdinando
L2 Keogh’s Books
L3 Deverell Books
L4 Peter Foster Books
M1 The Bibliomaniacs
M2 Any Amount of Books
M3 The Book Business
M4 Hans Lindner
N1 Eclectica
N2 Walden Books
N3 Sportspages
N4 Claude Cox
O1 Rochdale Books Company
O2 Barnaby Chiari
P1 Yesterday’s Books
P2 Simon Finch
P3 Fawsley First Editions
P4 Mark Sutcliffe
Q1 Wilfrid M. de Freitas
Q2 G. Mosdell T/A Junction Bookshop
Q3 Jarndyce
Q4 Peter Whetman
R1 E. J. Morten Books
R2 D & D Galleries
R3 Bauman Rare Books
R4 Staniland Books
S1 Alastor Rare Books
S2 London Rare Books
S3 Wykeham Books
S4 Modern First Editions
T1 B & B Rare Books
T2 Edmund Pollinger
T3 Robert Kirkman Ltd
T4 Picture This
U1 Prior Books
U2 G David
V1 Michael Kemp
V2 Scott Brinded
V3 Shapero Rare Books
V4 Holybourne Rare Books
V5 Cheltenham Rare Books
V6 Tittle Books
W1 Hereward Books
W2 Peter Hill
W3 White Eagle Books
W4 Design for Today
W5 Chantrey Books
W6 World’s End Bookshop
X1 Kingsbridge Books
X2 Gresham Books
X3 R.E. & G.B. Way
X4 Antiquates Ltd
X5 Antiquariaat Talke
X6 Reigate Galleries

If you would like a ticket to both the PBFA fair, and the ABA Olympia fair – please click on the link below:

Joint Ticket download

I hope we shall see you there soon.

 

 

Jewellery and Vagueness

Jewellery and Rings (first published June 2007)

Woman walked in this afternoon.

“Have you got any rings”

“Rings madam?” says I (Come on then – what would you say?)

“Yes, rings – the charity shops are closed – I need some rings and don’t know where to go – I’m new to Salisbury.”

“This is a bookshop Madam.”

“But I want to buy a ring.”

“How about a jewellers madam.”

“Do you think so ? – I’ll try that then”

And she walked out.

A Little Vague (first published September 2007)

“Hello,I was watching an interesting programme with Simon Schama on the History Channel last night. He was talking about the history of Wales, and carrying a book. Can you get me a copy of it please.”

Now people, you just KNOW that he didn’t have any clues about author or title. The only extra bit of information I managed to get was “It might have been a Penguin”