It has been getting its roster of events back to some kind of normality this year, with about 50-60 fairs being held in 2022. They take place around the UK, from local events to bigger premier fairs as well as a monthly online offering.
In May and June alone, there are PBFA fairs in venues ranging from Abergavenny and Stratfordupon- Avon to Edinburgh and the Scottish Borders. This spread offers the opportunity for almost everyone connected with the book trade to get to at least one PBFA event near to them
“The smaller local fairs regularly have very interesting, good quality stuff”, says David Maynard, PBFA publicity officer. “Just because they’re smaller doesn’t mean there’s less significant material.”
At the smaller fairs you can expect to find 15-30 dealers, with more than 150 at the premier fairs, but all events have a wide range of items on offer. For example, at the Abergavenny fair on June 25, Ariadne Books is offering a rare, signed edition of First Four Minutes by Roger Bannister for £1000. It has not only been autographed by Bannister but also by an earlier Olympic legend, Harold M Abrahams.
The fairs also offer the opportunity for dealers to provide specialised items that are related to the history of the area; at the Northampton fair on July 9, for example, Claremont Books & Prints has a first edition John Speed map of Northamptonshire from 1611, priced at £295.
One of the major fairs in the calendar later this year is the PBFA York National Fair on September 9-10. A total of 180 dealers have already signed up from the UK, the US, Europe and Canada.
The York fair began in 1974 and is popular with both new and established collectors. One of the highlights at the next edition is an 1816 copy of English Dance of Death, created by Doctor Syntax (William Coombe) and illustrated by Thomas Rowlandson. Published by Ackermann’s Repository of Arts, this 19th century edition is offered by RMJ Books for £510.
PBFA’s online book fairs have also continued post-lockdown, with more than 15,000 books registered on the PBFA site and more being added each month. The regular dates are included in this calendar.