Rare Book Fair May Have Clues to Finding Obscure 'True Detective' Tome

By Danielle Tcholakian on February 21, 2014 10:05am 

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 These are some of the rare and one-of-a-kind books Honey & Wax Booksellers is bringing to the fair.
Greenwich Village Antiquarian Book Fair
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GREENWICH VILLAGE — Dozens of rare book sellers will set up shop at P.S. 3 this weekend for the Greenwich Village Antiquarian Book Fair, bringing hundreds of hard-to-find volumes — possibly even the elusive "The King in Yellow," a historic horror book that inspired TV show "True Detective."

"I know people are looking for that book because of 'True Detective,'" said Heather O'Donnell from Honey & Wax Booksellers in Brooklyn, one of the vendors at the fair. She said it's "completely possible" that "The King in Yellow" could be found at the book fair, but noted that none of the copies listed for sale online are with dealers at the fair.

"The King in Yellow," a 19th-century collection of short stories by Robert Chambers, has recently drawn intense public interest after pieces of its storyline appeared in HBO's "True Detective," prompting a run on any available copies. The previously obscure book shot to No. 9 on Amazon's best seller list as of Friday morning

Carrie Coakley, the book fair's organizer, said she hopes "The King in Yellow" fans will find what they're looking for at the fair.

"I think there's always a chance," said Coakley, who has a child in the third grade at P.S. 3. "These are people who specialize in finding books for people that are hard to find — that's what they do."

Coakley said even if the book doesn't show up at the fair, the vendors could be helpful in hunting for copies.

"They have all these connections," she said. "There will be a lot of good people to talk to about how to track them down."

Even if "The King in Yellow" is a no-show, Coakley and the other parents behind the fundraiser are excited about the goods the vendors have promised, including rare books from as far back as the 17th century, modern first editions, vintage political fliers, maps and memorabilia.

Lee and Mike Temares, a pair of book sellers from Plandome, N.Y., said they are bringing one of the largest collections of series books — including classics like Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys — ever seen at a book fair.

O'Donnell plans to bring a first edition of a self-published novel by Anais Nin from 1958 called "Solar Barque," inscribed to Norman Mailer, and a five-volume set of Victorian "shilling shockers," which she explained are "collections of weird tales from different nations."

This is the Greenwich Village Antiquarian Book Fair's 35th year. Last year more than 1,000 people came, raising more than $15,000 for P.S. 3, Coakley said.

"The avid collectors tend to come on Friday night, all trying to be the first inside to have the best chance of finding treasures," Coakley said. "More browsing happens on Saturday and then haggling on Sunday."

The fair at P.S. 3, 490 Hudson St., opens Friday night from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. On Saturday it will be open from noon to 6 p.m. and on Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Tickets are $12 on Friday for all three days, $8 on Saturday for a two-day pass and $4 on Sunday.

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