Tarpinian: Book Fair in Pasadena

This weekend the city of Pasadena, home of the Rose Parade, is hosting the 47th California International Antiquarian Book Fair. This year’s is paying special respect to the 450th birthday of William Shakespeare.

I saw old Argosy magazines that could be had for $8, a Gutenberg Bible at a bargain price of $7,000,000, and everything in between. How about a single page from Schindler’s actual list? Needless to say this is the type of show that you make sure the mortgage check has cleared before you enter the hall.

There were exhibitors from all over the US of A, plus the UK, Italy, France and Germany. Imagine the shipping cost for those vendors. But then again, they probably had an inventory worth $1,000,000 plus. There were about 200 vendors — you do the math.

Seminars included “What Shakespeare Ate. Dining in the Elizabethan Age” and “Printing the Declaration of Independence.” There was a working manual printing press that children would make a copy of it for their souvenir.

Lucky for me I’ve made the acquaintance of a number of the vendors, some who also attend the world’s largest vintage paperback show I am one of the hosts of in March. (Shameless plug)  Many vendors have become friends, in years past. I’ve even helped man a booth where my friend had an original manuscript of Dracula.

This show alternates years between L.A. and San Francisco. Admission is only $12 and is a real bargain. The show is worth going to for the education and the wow factor. You’ll see museum quality manuscripts. Books you’ve always dreamed of owning. Or ways to justify what you already own by discovering what volumes similar to the ones on yours bookshelves are being sold for.

Not sure what photos Mike will select to show but forgive the less than stellar quality. Most items were under glass and very bright lights with lots of glare.

The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, at USC, is April 12-13. Good way to spend your tax refunds.

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