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It is a recognition that the two events (united by a dedicated shuttle service) have a mood and a price point of their own but together showcase just under 300 dealers in west London across three days. This year’s fairs are complemented by a series of lectures, seminars and tours designed to encourage an appreciation of the history and art of the book.

Olympia highlights

Arms and armour catalogue

Salzburg dealer Antiquariat-Kunsthandlung will bring to Olympia a first and only edition of a striking catalogue of arms and armour from the collection formed by Archduke Ferdinand II of Austria (1529-95).

The two volumes of Die vorzüglichsten Rüstungen und Waffen der KK Ambraser-Sammlung in Original-Photographien, published in Vienna c.1857-63, include 128 original salt prints by Andreas Groll (1812-72), a pioneering Austrian photographer. It is priced at €38,000.

Arkwright inscription

Susanne Schulz-Falster Rare Books in Woodstock, Oxfordshire, will bring an album of eight Thomas Bewick woodcut vignettes in a blue goatskin presentation binding to Olympia. Priced at £4500, it includes an inscription by Bewick to Mr Arkwright, 7 Aug 1824 and the bookplate of Arkwright of Sutton Scarsdale to the front pastedown.

Richard Arkwright (1755-1843), the son of the inventor of the water frame spinning machine, added to the family fortune through real estate and banking. He bought Sutton Scarsdale Hall in 1824.

Nielsen illustrations

Kay Nielsen produced 26 illustrations for In Powder & Crinoline (Hodder & Stoughton, 1913) edited by Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch.

An original pen, ink, watercolour and wash heightened with gold and graphite is titled List, ah list to the zephyr in the grove illustrates the story, Felicia or The Pot of Pinks.

It is signed and dated [19]13 in the lower left corner, and is priced at £50,000 by Jonkers Rare Books of Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, who will be at the Olympia fair on June 1-3.

Nash and Ravilious

A rare complete set of The Woodcut: An Annual published in four volumes from 1927-30 is priced at £2000 from York Modern Books at the Olympia  fair. The third and fourth volumes are from a special edition of 80 and 75 copies (numbered 15 and unnumbered) and include signed woodcuts by John Nash (shown here) and Eric Ravilious bound in as frontispieces.

Letter from a king

A letter from Philip IV of Spain to Gaspare Mattei, eldest son of Mario, Lord of Paganica, dated November 18, 1648, will be priced at £2500 from Clive Farahar at the Olympia fair. Complete with bold signature yo El Rey, the text discusses the movements of the French fleet with Phillip taking much pleasure in reading what you say on the occasion of the French Armada having withdrawn from the Coasts of Italy.

Hawking's history

Hyraxia Rare Books of Hutton Cranswick in Yorkshire will bring to the Olympia fair a 1988 first edition and first impression of Stephen Hawkins’ A Brief History of Time. A near fine copy with a little creasing to the edges of the jacket, it is priced at £1250.

PBFA fair highlight

On the Antarctic menu

Meridian Rare Books, London, will ask £3250 for a group of 27 menus for annual reunion dinners of the Antarctic Club. Covering various dates from 1937 (the Penola dinner which marked the return of the British Graham Land Expedition) to the modern era, many include loosely inserted seating plans and the signatures of club members.