GOLD COAST — "Game of Thrones" fans, F. Scott Fitzgerald aficionados and book lovers across Chicago will have the chance to buy coveted items from this year’s book fair at the Newberry Library.
The Newberry Library at 60 W. Walton St. will hold its 32nd annual book fair from July 28-31. Among the 120,000 books, vinyl records, CDs and other coveted collectibles up for sale are an uncorrected proof of "A Game of Thrones" signed by George R.R. Martin, an autographed copy of Norman Rockwell’s autobiography, first editions of F. Scott Fitzgerald and postcards from Chicago’s “Century of Progress” World’s Fair of 1933. Admission to the fair is free, and prices of the used books are as low as $3.
The price tag for the "A Game of Thrones" proof is $4,000. The record price for a Book Fair item was $4,250 for a book signed by Pablo Picasso, according to Newberry spokesman Alex Teller.
When asked why the library didn’t keep "A Game of Thrones" for its own archives, Crawford said the text was “a little modern for the Newberry’s collection. The Newberry sort of cuts off around World War II for its own collection.”
The F. Scott Fitzgerald first editions, Norman Rockwell’s signed autobiography and the signed copy of George R.R. Martin’s "A Game of Thrones" all came to the Newberry Library through different anonymous, bulk book donations, said the Newberry’s book fair manager, Dan Crawford.
The fair began in 1984 when Nathalie Alberts, a supporter of the Newberry, suggested it as a fundraising idea. And though the Newberry was skeptical of whether it would work at the time, they decided to try it and found it successful, Crawford added.
The proceeds from the fair go toward the library’s operating budget, Crawford said, adding that the event also helps to attract a broad range of readers to the Newberry, a library which is known for its genealogy materials, rare books, manuscripts, music and other collectibles across six centuries.
“Getting involved with books, with people on a fairly basic level—you don’t have to be reading the first folio of Shakespeare to come to the Newberry,” Crawford said. “It just brings the book lovers around to the library. And that’s good for both of us, the book lovers and the library.”
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