London Rare Book Fair Announces 2019 Dates and New Partners

Firsts London - photo credit Iona Woolf

The Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association’s (ABA) annual flagship event Firsts – London’s Rare Book Fair returns for its 62nd year and will be held from 7th-9th June in Battersea Park. It is one of the world’s largest independent marketplaces for rare and out-of-print books. More than 150 exhibitors from around the world will showcase rare, unique and unusual works including signed first editions, maps, museum-quality manuscripts, art and ephemera.

ABA Rare Book Fair – photo credit Iona Woolf

Firsts – London’s Rare Book Fair at Battersea Evolution is open:
Friday 7 June: noon – 8pm (£20 admission)
Saturday 8 June: 11am – 7pm (free admission)
Sunday 9 June: 11am – 5pm (free admission)

To register for complimentary tickets on all days visit:

ABA Rare Book Fair – photo credit Iona Woolf

Firsts – London has announced that international online rare bookseller Biblio is the new Official Fair Partner, and Shakespeare’s Globe is the 2019 Charity Partner.

John Wolfson, the Globe’s Honorary Curator of Rare Books, will curate an Exhibition at the Fair and give an exclusive talk, accompanied by actors, on the opening day. As Pom Harrington, Chairman of Firsts – London says, “In the year which sees Shakespeare’s Globe celebrate the centenary of the birth of Sam Wanamaker whose passion led to the rebuilding of this iconic theatre, and the 400th anniversary of the death of the Globe actor Richard Burbage, we are excited to be staging an Exhibition at the Fair of highlights from the Globe. This will include books from The John Wolfson Rare Book Collection and will offer visitors an unrivalled chance to see editions which are not normally on show.”


Biblio works with the finest booksellers in the world to cultivate a remarkable collection and as Brendan Sherar, Founder & CEO of Biblio says: “We launched almost ten years ago and believe there’s an opportunity for significant growth in the UK. We’re looking forward to strengthening our relationships with our existing British booksellers, meeting potential new clients and having an opportunity to listen and understand the unique challenges facing booksellers and book collectors here.”

Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations – pic courtesy ABA

Rare books highlighted at the show will include a 1786 edition of Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations, valued at £4,500 by Paul Foster; a 1930 edition of Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels by Cresset Press, valued at £6,950 from Ashton Rare Books; and a 1924 edition of Umbra Vitae by Georg Heym, with 47 original woodcuts by Ernst Kirchner, published by Kurt Wolff Verlag, valued at £8,750 from Stader Kunst-Buch-Kabinett.

Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels – pic courtesy ABA

In addition to regular and new exhibitors, the Fair features live events run by specialist organisations and craftspeople. Hands-on workshops (including family-friendly activities) give visitors a chance to dive straight into the world of fine printing, bookbinding, and calligraphy, find out what makes a book rare, and learn more about all aspects of book-collecting and much more on expert-led guided tours.

Georg Heym, Umbra Vitae – pic courtesy ABA

The Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association (ABA) was founded in 1906 and is the oldest organisation of its kind in the world. It is the senior trade body for dealers in antiquarian and rare books, manuscripts and allied materials in the UK and its membership also includes many leading booksellers from overseas. Members are elected solely on the basis of proven experience, expertise and integrity and they guarantee the authenticity of all material offered for sale and ensure all items are properly described. The ABA runs book fairs in Edinburgh in March and in Chelsea in November as well as Firsts – London. It is a not-for-profit organisation. The ABA Educational Trust works to support a continued awareness of the heritage of the book and the printed word.

See also:

Kahlil Gibran’s Best-seller The Prophet Issued in Folio Society Illustrated Edition

The Folio Society looks to sci-fi themes

Bookseller Peter Harrington celebrates 50th anniversary

Books to Treasure

Mysterious Voynich Manuscript Decoded by British Academic


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