Everything You Need to Know about the Chelsea Rare Book Fair 2019

From Jane Austen to James Bond, Johnny Townmouse to Johnny Rotten, Thomas Hardy to Tintin, and William Shakespeare to William Boyd, all this and more awaits you at the 29th Chelsea Rare Book Fair…

Lose yourself in the printed word at the Chelsea Rare Book Fair, where dealers from around the world converge to showcase rare and collectable items from maps and manuscripts to first editions and ephemera from all over the world.

Taking place at the beautiful and historic Chelsea Old Town Hall this November, the event, presented by the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association, is ideal for everyone who loves a good book, from experienced collectors to those seeking out a childhood favourite, or those simply looking for an extra special Christmas gift.

With more than 80 exhibitors, there’s something for every interest, including poetry, children’s classics, modern fiction, gardening, cookery, sport, military, crime, art, architecture and travel.

Prices start from just a few pounds, so there’ll always be something you can take home, and dealers are always more than happy to guide you if you’re not sure what you’re after.

But at the other end of the scale, more discerning collectors may find themselves browsing the likes of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest at £37,500 from Paul Foster, The Ladies’ Flower Garden by Jane Loudon in 5 volumes for £9,500 from Madoc Books, the last black letter edition of The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer dedicated to Sir Robert Cecil for £3,000 from Marrins, and from Fine Book Cellar, a first edition of Ian Fleming’s Goldfinger for £1,375 and Roald Dahl’s the Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar for £1,000.

You can also enjoy book fair tours by experts on subjects from the general – such as An Introduction to Rare Books and What to Collect: from favourite novels to fine binding – to the more specific, such as Animals in Books and Collecting Detective Fiction.

‘Discerning collectors may find themselves browsing the likes of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest at £37,500 and a first edition of Ian Fleming’s Goldfinger for £1,375’

Signings will include Nicolas Barker with his new book At First, All Went Well… & Other Brief Lives.

Why else visit? Well, as ABA bookseller and Antiques Roadshow expert Justin Croft puts it, ‘Whether you are a seasoned collector or just curious about the rare book trade, Chelsea is a must. There are always surprises… some of my all-time favourite buys have been at Chelsea.’

So there you have it. The Chelsea Rare Book Fair is the perfect place to find something you never knew you wanted.

The Chelsea Rare Book Fair runs 1-2 November 2019 at Chelsea Old Town Hall, Kings Road, London SW3 5EE. Open Friday 2-7pm and Saturday 11am-5pm. To register for free tickets see

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