I honestly don’t know what happened to me. I use to drive drunk, have unprotected sex and smoke a ton of weed. Today, I get my kicks by chasing rare books. I’m sure I’m a big disappointment to my friends back home.
I attended the annual rare book fair at the Park Avenue armory. Holy Mother of God what a show. When it comes to rare books I have a rather weak disposition and it was probably not wise for me to walk into a large room filled with temptations. But I am happy to report that although I had a few moments where I was woozy and weak, I successfully fought off all attempts to rationalize a purchase.
The one item I would have loved to own was a set of early (1966) broadsides by Charles Bukowski in PERFECT condition in a custom made clamshell box. But at $37,000, it was easy to say no. Here are a few fun items. You can click on these pics to for a better look.
A first edition of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night. Not one of his masterworks but just look at the design on that jacket. Beautiful.
It seems to me that authors don’t take pride in their signatures like they use to. Here’s a signed copy of The Beautiful and the Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald signed in 1922, the year of publication, in his hometown of St. Paul Minnesota. Look at that handwriting and signature!
Hemingway was another author whose inscriptions have an art-like quality. Here’s an inscribed copy of The Green Hills of Africa by Hemingway signed in Key West in 1936.
Here’s another example of Hemingway’s signature. This is a signed first edition of For Whom the Bell Tolls. Isn’t that grand?
This is a first edition of Ian Fleming’s Casino Royal—the first (and most violent) Bond book. The jacket was designed by Fleming and the phrases in the wreath reads: A Whisper of Love. A Whisper of Hate. I love that. The price is a measly £18,750.
The fair is mainly about books, but there are also autographs, some artwork and other sundry items. Here’s a manuscript leaf in Mozart’s hand from the Serenade in D Major. Take it home and hang it on your wall for only $195,000!