April 8, 2009 | Last week's (April 2-5) New York Antiquarian Book Fair at the Park Avenue Armory in Manhattan was its forty-ninth year. There were more than 190 international book dealers, and despite the recent economic downturn, attendance, which totaled around 4800, and sales were strong according to many of the exhibitors. Price points ranged from the affordable (maritime guidebooks were being sold for $25) to the expensive (the top sale was reportedly a 19th-century book for $195,000) with the market buoyed by collectors of high-end books.
Despite speculation about the death of the printed book, the rare book world has benefited from increased interest not only in the book as an object itself, focused on fine bindings and first editions, but in subgenres of collecting as well. For example, natural history, one of the most enduring of these genres, was well represented by the German book dealer Antiquariat Reinhold Berg who brought the first edition folio The Birds of Great Britain by the 19th century English ornithologist John Gould. The five volumes contain 367 richly colored lithographic plates in beautiful full morocco binding by Riviere.
[Compiled by Bill Stern, Executive Director at the Museum of California Design, Los Angeles. Originally published in "Curator's Eye" in Modern Magazi» View All