The 23rd annual Twin Cities Antiquarian & Rare Book Fair took place on the weekend of June 28-29 at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. Organized and hosted by the Midwest Antiquarian Booksellers Association, this ticketed event (entry cost $7) gives collectors and book lovers a chance to browse some of the most sought-after titles in existence. First editions, signed first editions, old OLD books, collectibles, rarities, oddities–if it’s for sale and it’s a book, it was likely in the Progress Center last weekend.
Fifty-two booksellers convened and offered up their treasures, which ran the gamut of what “collectible” can mean. Early pulp novels from Tarzan to the Lone Ranger, as well as hardcover copies of Moby Dick and early editions of The Waste Land, and a whole lot in between. Basically it was like browsing the country’s most exquisite bookstore, which exists in a single location for only two days at a time.
This was my first time at the TCA&RBF, but I was a kid in a candy store for the majority of the afternoon. So many books I’d coveted and longed to own in my personal collection, right there at my fingertips. The downside, of course, is that because these books are so valuable, they are also extremely expensive. I was hard pressed to find a first edition of a book I wanted for less than $80, and this was easily on the cheap side of things. There were certainly books for sale cheaper than this (several booksellers offered tables full of dollar books), but nobody was tossing off first/firsts of Cathedral.
There seemed to be a consensus that attendance had seen a downtick in recent years, perhaps due to the overall economy, or perhaps due to the fact that the people buying books these days are shallower of pocket. But even if I didn’t make any purchases (investments?), being in a room full of dream-books, as well as the people who have collected them and cultivated such impressive libraries, was worth the cost of admission.
Were you There? Have something to add, or a different take on this event? Chime in on the comments below, or send us an email at LitSeen.Mpls@gmail.com. Be sure to check the schedule to the right to be at the next LitSeen.org attended event.