If you’re not DIYing this weekend, get yourself over to the ABA Rare Book Fair

The Velveteen Rabbit, photo courtesy: Ashton Rare Books

You have an opportunity to see some of the most beautiful rare books in the world and perhaps, if you’re feeling flush, to buy a little something-something for yourself too. The Antiquarian Bookseller’s Association annual Rare Book Fair is taking place today and tomorrow (Saturday 26 May 2018) at Battersea Park.

Our beauty editor, Pawan, is a mahoosive fan of Sir David Attenborough and so was gutted to miss the opening yesterday when he opened the fair. Given how she was cooing over the photos we got sent from the opening, we can safely say Sir Dave dodged one since he won’t have to take out a restraining order against her.

I used to keep my pension in rare books until some spoilsport told me I couldn’t retire on a handful of Crowley first editions and so I sold them on. Book-lovers will adore this fair because even if you can’t afford the star attractions (for example the £12,500 1922 copy of The Velveteen Rabbit, with a spread shown above, on sale from Ashton Rare Books), you can definitely still find more affordable gems.

To be honest, for a book-sniffer like me, it isn’t even so much about purchases as about looking at beautiful books and getting all wistful. Entry to the fair is free and there will be demonstrations on the art and craft of book-making. It isn’t a scary, rarified kind of event either; if you’re new to book collecting and want to know where to start, this is a great place to do it.

Over 180 exhibitors from all over the world will be showcasing rare books, manuscripts, maps, prints, ephemera and original artwork.

Sir David Attenborough opens the ABA Rare Book Fair
Photo courtesy: Iona Wolff for Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association


Read this review of Sealskin by Su Bristow and see why we think it is a great one to enjoy with a pint.