60 years a fair: "A treasure hunt with a connoisseur's eye" or "Gutenberg is to blame for everything"
These were some of the headlines in the press in earlier years for the opening of the Stuttgart Rare Book Fair, an ILAB-sanctioned fair, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year.
After the launch of fairs in London by the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association (ABA) and in New York by the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America (ABAA), the German Antiquarian Booksellers Association, Verband Deutscher Antiquare, ran its first fair in 1962, which makes the fair one of the oldest and most successful of its kind worldwide.
"It is actually quite unusual for antiquarian booksellers to go public. Last year's success, however, justifies the undertaking: Not only is a larger group of interested parties and buyers made aware of the work of the antiquarian booksellers. The market generally gains a stronger, independent weight alongside the book and art markets," wrote the German Handelsblatt in 1963, for example.
60 continuous years of this rare book fair are also 60 years of German antiquarian and book trade history.
"Treasure hunts" and "connoisseurs' eyes" in pictures ...
"The actual purpose [of the fair] should be the personal meeting with book lovers and collectors, with the heads of libraries, museums, and archives and with colleagues at home and abroad", was said in 1962 in Stuttgart, the founding year of the fair. Since then, the fair has been the annual forum for the German-speaking rare book trade, making it one of the oldest antiquarian book fairs in the world.
Every year, German and international exhibitors meet with customers, collectors, and institutions and visiting trade from Germany and abroad. For many years, the fair has been a fixed date in the calendar.
The German Antiquarian Booksellers' Association, Verband Deutscher Antiquare, used the anniversary as an opportunity to publish a comprehensive handbook with texts and images on the history of the fair. A chronicle that deserves recognition: Entertaining anecdotes and quotations, accompanied by pictures of the fair in past decades, the German Antiquarian Booksellers Association looks back on its flagship event, which has weathered the many ups and downs of the rare book trade with all its changes over time.
The chronicle is a tribute to the antiquarian book trade and to the many people who make our fairs possible.
Crowded aisles, long queues, interesting encounters and conversations ... then as now
For all information about the 2023 fair, please visit the website HERE.
The printed catalogue with fair highlights, can be downloaded HERE
Attention! The 60th Antiquarian Book Fair Stuttgart will not take place at its traditional location in Stuttgart, but at the Ludwigsburg "Forum am Schlosspark".
Forum am Schlosspark
Stuttgarter Str. 33
D- 71638 Ludwigsburg
See you in June in Ludwigsburg!
And it was not Germany if there were not some numbers! Enjoy!
46,346,890 euros and 7000 cups of coffee: The Stuttgart fair in numbers
46,346,890 Euros was the total value of the objects published in the Fair's catalogue over the last 10 years.
2,470,075 DM was the total value of the objects in the first catalogue with prices.
1,300,000 DM was the price of the first million-dollar item in the catalogue, published in 1989, offered by the Boston company Ars.
16476 km was the distance to the exhibitor living furthest away (Hordern House, Sydney).
Approx. 7200 sqm of carpet have been laid since 2009.
Approximately 7000 cups of caffeinated hot drinks were drunk by exhibitors during the build-up days.
Approx. 4400 pretzels were consumed on set-up days.
3956 exhibitors have participated in the fair since it began.
1360 people have watched the "Red Sofa Online" events.
1000 Euros was the prize money for the Young Collectors' Prize, which was awarded for the first time in 2020.
900 meters was the distance to the exhibitor, with the shortest distance.
590 objects were displayed by 76 exhibitors in the catalogue of the 2020 fair.
312 different companies (including name changes) have exhibited in Stuttgart in total over the 60 years.
149 exhibitors from 8 countries participated in the two virtual trade fairs 2021 and 2022.
96 exhibitors were the highest ever number of exhibitors.
59 physical and 2 virtual fairs have taken place so far.
36 antiquarian bookshops with female owners exhibited so far.
27 concerts, organised by Jürgen Voerster, took place during the Stuttgart Fair.
21 exhibitors were at the first fair.
17 different nationalities have exhibited in Stuttgart.
15 exhibitions were shown as an accompanying programme to the fairs.
10 euros is the price of an admission ticket today; when admission was charged for the first time in 1974, it cost 3 DM.
9.99 DM was the price of the cheapest book offered at the fair.
8 companies have participated in over 50 fairs so far.
6 different catalogue designs have been developed in the 60 years.
3 firms (Boerner, Laube and Stargardt) have participated in all fairs.
2 different venues have existed since the beginning of the fair.
1st antiquarian book fair held in the Federal Republic of Germany
The extracts of the fair chronicle were translated and first published in 'Handbuch des Verbandes Deutscher Antiquare 2023", Messechronik: „Gutenberg ist an allem schuld“ 60 Jahre Antiquariatsmesse Stuttgart. Concept and Editorial by Dr. Barbara van Benthem, Sibylle Wieduwilt and Dieter Zipprich), to be released in June 2023 at the fair
Images: Stuttgart Rare Book Fair / Verband Deutscher Antiquare