2020 Antiquarian Book Fair

Today I went to the Westmount Antiquarian Book Fair hosted by Mr. Wilfrid M. de Freitas (web) at the Centre Greene. I already mentioned several time my interest for old books (including posts on the previous book fair, my research to identify a copy of “Natural History”, and the other book fair at Concordia University). Strangely, I was hoping NOT to find anything interesting because I didn’t want to spend too much (and my wife thinks I have already too many books).

Therefore I gave myself very strict purchasing guidelines. I was looking for a 16th or 17th century edition, preferably with vellum or pigskin bindings, in average condition, about a subject related to classical authors (like Cicero, Pliny, Suetonius, etc.) and for a price under two-hundred dollars. I would have probably also considered any 18th century editions with veal or sheepskin bindings, in good condition and about a really interesting historical subject or a 19th century book about one of my current interests (a book by Isabella Bird [because of the manga about her travels in Japan] or a Bradshaw’s guide [because of Michael Portillo’s Great British Railway Journeys BBC documentary series]). But I found and purchased nothing. I am proud of myself!

There was a few interesting books but they were all outside my criteria and quite expensive (certainly over $500 and several even in the thousands, up to $4500 for one!). It really seemed overpriced even despite their good condition. I saw only two books within my budget, at $125 and $150, both at the table of François Côté (from whom I purchased last time). One I had already seen at the previous book fair (Disputationes de argumentis, quibus efficitur Christum prius fuisse, quam in utero Beatae Virginis secundum carnem conciperetur [questionnement théologique sur la Vierge Marie], par Josua Placeus, in-4, 1660, $125) and another one also on an ecclesiastical subject (I already have too many of those!). Maybe I’ll find a great treasure at the next book fair.

Speaking of which: the 37th Montreal Antiquarian Book Fair will be held on September 26-27 (Saturday: 12h00-18h00, Sunday: 11h00-17h00) at Pavillon McCornell of Concordia University (1400 De Maisonneuve Blvd West). It’s organized by the Confrérie de la Librairie Ancienne du Québec (unfortunately the link to both their FB and web page seem dead).

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