The Florida Antiquarian Book Fair returns Friday to St. Petersburg, offering a chance to browse and purchase thousands of antique tomes ranging from ancient cookbooks to rare maps and hard-to-find first editions of classic children's stories.
Nearly 100 book dealers will bring their wares to the Coliseum for the three-day showcase, which runs through Sunday.
The theme for this year, the 33rd edition of the book fair, is “Children's Literature: Pages of Wonder.”
Daily admission costs $6, while a three-day pass is $10. Children 12 and under and students with valid ID are free.
We've scoured the “Treasures We're Bringing” section on the book fair's official blog to get a peak at what to expect. Here are five highlights you'll see there:
♦ “Tom Sawyer Abroad” by Mark Twain - This first edition was published in 1894 by Charles Webster & Company. It features a tan cloth cover with titles stamped in gilt and a scene of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn running from a lion. It comes with a chemise and custom half-leather slipcase and is listed at $600 from Blind Horse Books, which is visiting the fair from Key Largo.
♦ “The Cat in the Hat” by Dr. Seuss - The first appearance of the beloved and mischievous Cat in the Hat came in this 1957 first edition, first issue, which is numbered 200 of 200 on the dust jacket. Other than a former owner's signature, it's very “clean and tight,” according to St. Petersburg dealer Lighthouse Books. It's selling for $1,500.
♦ “The History of the Devil and the Idea of Evil” by Paul Carus - This illustrated first edition published by the Open Court Publishing Company in Chicago in 1900 offers “a scholarly approach to the exploration of evil and the concept of the devil at the turn of the 20th century,” says Copperfish Books from Punta Gorda. No price is listed.
♦ “The Eyes of the Dragon” by Stephen King- A signed, 1987, first trade edition of the magic-filled fantasy novel — one of King's rare deviations from the horror genre — described by some as a “children's novel.” It was signed by King “For Dan” in 1992. Blind Horse Books has it for $325.
♦ “Ivanhoe” by Sir Walter Scott - Certainly one of the rarest items you'll find at the fair, this first edition, first issue, three-volume set of the classic, medieval romance set in 12th-century England was published in 1820. The cover is polished calf, and pages 195 to 306 are incorrectly numbered (a mistake made nearly 200 years ago). Lighthouse books has it for $1,750.