The Book Fairs Arrive in New York!

- by Bruce E. McKinney

Four Days of Excitement

The New York Antiquarian Book Fair returns to the Armory in New York City April 21-24 and the world is taking a collective deep breath as Covid-19 is moving on.  The address is 643 Park Avenue, New York, New York 10065. The ABAA is a show organization and the New York Book Fair has been suspended for two years.  For collectors, dealers and librarians, the chance to participate at the world’s greatest book fair is a heady moment of reverie.  Is the worst behind us?  We all hope so.


As has been previously, it is a 4 day event, Thursday afternoon opening, continuing Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  A significant percentage of its participants will be 65 and older so expect masks will be necessary for the protection of the vulnerable.  Many of us have lost friends to Covid.


It is also understood but has not yet been confirmed that the ABAA, after the traditional NY Book Fair slips into the past, they will then be running the ABAA Virtual Book Fair:  New York Edition on May 4-5.


As to what the feeling is among dealers and clients, Nick Aretakis of the William Reese Company was recently asked about the upcoming ABAA fair and mentioned dealers, collectors and institutions are ready to arrive.  Personal interaction is an important aspect of collectible paper.  And personally, he expressed it this way:  “We are ready and looking forward to meeting old friends and new collectors!”


Here is the official announcement shown on the ABAA’s website:

The ABAA New York International Antiquarian Book Fair Returns to New York for its 62nd Edition at the Park Avenue Armory from April 21-24 Pre-Gutenberg to the 21st Century – Astounding Offers Spanning the History of the Written Word NEW YORK CITY (March 2022):


The New York International Antiquarian Book Fair (NYIABF)— officially sanctioned by Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America (ABAA) and International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB) and produced and managed by Sanford L. Smith + Associates—is making its much-anticipated return to the Park Avenue Armory from April 21-24, 2022, for its 62nd Edition. The NYIABF is a cultural mainstay in the city and is proud to return as a highlight of the Spring cultural calendar in New York City and the New York region at large. Returning to the in-person format in a time when print books and ephemera have mattered more than ever and continue to serve as a source of comfort and escape during a period of uncertainty, the fair has never been more relevant. Universally referred to as the world’s finest antiquarian book fair, NYIABF is thrilled to showcase 185 exhibitors this year from around the world, continuing to live up to its reputation as a highly international fair. This year, as world travel restrictions are lifted, the fair organizers are working closely with their international dealers to ensure a seamless return to the States and will welcome exhibitors from 14 different countries. An impressive number of US exhibitors also highlight the incredible wealth of material available stateside.


Exhibitors will present a vast trove of items: rare books, maps, illuminated manuscripts, incunabula, fine bindings, illustrations, historical documents, prints and print ephemera. Several of the 2022 exhibitors have participated in the NYIABF since its inception, attesting to the fair’s longevity and relevance to its dealers and audiences. However, the fair continues to attract new antiquarian booksellers and attendees as it evolves, welcoming 19 new exhibitors this year including Auger Down Books, Autographes des Siècles, Brenner's Books - Rare & Collectable, Bull's Head Rare Books LLC, Cleveland Book Company, Daniel / Oliver Gallery, Evening Star Books, First Edition Rare Books, LLC, Johnson Rare Books, Le Bookiniste, Le Zograscope, Liberty Book Store, Lizzyoung bookseller, Riverrun Books & Manuscripts, Stéphane Clavreuil Rare Books Ltd, studio montespecchio di jan van der donk, Temple Rare Books, Voewood Rare Books and William Chrisant & Sons. The fair’s specialties encompass art, science, medicine, literature, history, gastronomy, fashion, first editions, Americana, philosophy, children’s books and much more. From the historic and academic, the religious and spiritual—to the bedrock of secular culture, finance, politics—the fair boasts offerings in every conceivable genre and subject. In recent years, NYIABF has increasingly captured the attention of young collectors seeking one-of-a-kind offerings at more accessible price points. Prices range from $50 to millions.


As has been the case for many years, the ABAA spreads their umbrella wide enough for other book fairs to thrive nearby.  This year Tina and John Bruno’s Flamingo Eventz will resume their shadow show after several years in suspension. Their in-person event, The Manhattan Vintage Book, Ephemera and Fine Press Extravaganza will be taking place at The Church of St. Vincent Ferrer at 869 Lexington Avenue on Saturday 23 April.  The hours are 10:00am to 5:00pm.  Eighty dealers have signed up.


Marvin Getman’s satellite show, which had been a fixture during fair week, is being held as a virtual event.  The physical event will not take place.  Here’s his link:


The ABAA’s show site: