GREENWICH VILLAGE — Dozens pored over books, some of them over hundrends of years old, at the 35th annual Greenwich Village Antiquarian Book Fair at P.S. 3 in the West Village on Saturday.
On Saturday afternoon, keen shoppers and sellers perused a vast collection of texts at the school’s auditorium, where about 40 independent stores and vendors specializing in the sale of antique books and manuscripts had set up shop.
Titles ranged from the very obscure to the mainstream, and included some of the oldest Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys novels, foreign illustrated children’s books, and even a 400-year-old tome from the Vatican.
One of the vendors, Lee Temares, and her husband Mike had traveled from Plandome on Long Island, where they have owned and run Lee and Mike Temares, LLC since 1963.
Temares specializes in children’s books, and said she owns one of the largest collections of children’s books, including original prints of Nancy Drew books that date back to 1932.
Temares looks forward to events like the book fair because she said with people’s changing tastes, and the onset of the Internet, sales had declined in recent years.
“On the internet you can only find what you know,” she said. “At a book fair or in a book shop there is the serendipity of finding something you love [that] you know nothing about. You never know what you might find.”
Further along from the Temares’, Susan Weiser Liebegott, who runs Enchanted Books, an appointment-only antiquarian bookshop in Sheepshead Bay, was talking animatedly with customers about foreign illustrated children’s books, the sale of which she specializes in.
She continues to travel across the world — her most recent stops were Barcelona and Paris two years ago — where she collected a number of illustrated books from independent stores throughout those cities.
She said she became invested in the trade when, in the 1980s, she went on a mission to find a Kay Nielsen book her mother had given away when she was younger. She found it at a bookshop on the Upper West Side, and said she has never looked back, career-wise.
At the far corner of the room, Janet and Dennis Seekins, who run a store, Quiet Friends, from their home in Lyndonville, in upstate N.Y, were proudly displaying a collection of books from the mid-19th Century that contain 900 handcolored prints of French actors and actresses from the time. The set was valued at $8,000.
“We love to read, and we were looking for a good retirement plan,” said Dennis Seekins, on getting into the business.
Books ranged from a dollar to $10,000, according to organizers of the fair. The book fair continues through Sunday.
Greenwich Village Antiquarian Book Fair, 490 Hudson St., Sun, Feb. 23rd, 12-5 p.m., $4 entry, for more information visit www.gvabf.com