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The 55th Stuttgart Antiquarian Book Fair, 29–31 January 2016

The most expensive book at the fair is to be found at Heribert Tenschert’s stand. It is a chivalric epos for € 2 400 000: Wirnt von Grafenberg, »Wigolois mit dem Rade«. This is one of the last manuscripts of a Middle High German chivalric epos in private hands. It is also one of only two illustrated manuscripts of this important text, and by far the more complete one. It stems from the Fürstenberg Collection of Donaueschingen and is an illuminated manuscript on paper with 31 large or full-page miniatures from the scriptorium of Diebold Lauber, and can be dated before 1418.

Few people know that the composer and artist John Cage was profoundly interested in the collecting, identifying and cooking of  mushrooms. Emanuel von Baeyer, first-time exhibitor in Stuttgart, will be exhibiting the »Mushroom Book« by John Cage and Lois Long. It contains 20 lithographs and was printed in an edition of only 75 copies in New York in 1975. (€ 15 000)

A collection of 23 broadsheets from 1524/25 pertaining to the German peasant’s revolt can be had at Thomas Hatry’s stand for € 68 000. It contains pamphlets by Martin Luther, Philipp Melanchthon and Thomas Münzer.

There are several more medieval manuscripts to be seen, among them an antiphonar from 1498, offered by Antiquariat Konstantinopel for € 20 000.

It is quite amazing how much effort and work went into the binding of books and texts in the past, though there is a rising awareness of the beauty of bindings in recent times.

There are several beautiful examples of fine bindings exhibited at the fair. One of them is an ornate silver binding from 1720, at the stand of Wolfgang Braecklein for € 4 500. Another is an ornately decorated and profusely gilt, binding for a German bible. It was crafted in Nuremberg in 1768 and was the present of the Prussian king Friedrich Wilhelm III to a bishop. (Schumann € 35 000)  Hans Sachs made his second wife, Barbara, a present of his book of poems »Sehr herrliche Schoene und warhaffte Gedicht«, with a four-line dedication. It is bound in pigskin and was once in the possession of the Donaueschingen Library. It can be acquired from Tusculum Rare Books for € 38 000.  

The beginning of 1916, exactly 100 years ago, marks the birth of Dadaism. There are several fine examples of Dada literature to be seen, ranging in price from € 700 to € 5 800. The famous, very rare poster for the first Dada exhibition, a lino cut by Marcel Janos, is for sale for € 60 000 at Günter Linke’s stand.

Fine literature has always been a mainstay of the fair. This year Herbert Blank, one of the grandseigneurs of the German antiquarian book trade, is bringing the first edition of Goethe’s (then) sensational »Die Leiden des jungen Werther« (€ 28 000) and also the first edition of Kleist’s first book »Die Familie Schroffenstein. Ein Trauerspiel«. (€ 16 000).

Photography has lost none of its popularity. There are several albums to be viewed, amongst them early pictures of the Kiel harbour, and the 4-volume documentation of Herbert Ginsberg. (€ 2 500 and € 8 500 respectively) at Antiquariat Banzhaf’s stand. The Ginsberg albums are particularly interesting as they document his huge collection of Asiatica, which was looted during WW II. The London-based Studio Elliott & Frey has two portrait photographs of Richard Wagner and his wife Cosima, both signed by the composer, for sale for € 15 500.

Decorative prints and old maps are another important part of the Stuttgart fair. There are several coloured lithographs by Jean Miro to be had at Galerie Voemel’s stand. Le Cabinet Japonais and Hans-Martin Schmitz are exhibiting exquisite Japanese woodcuts. Antiquariat Schreyer, based in Bonn on the Rhine, has an exquisite collection of about 160 coloured Rhine views for sale, showing castles, towns and villages from the UNESCO world heritage Middle Rhine.

The advent of the railway changed the world completely in the middle of the 19th century. Antiquariat Gruber has a large collection of  original documents, 120 design drawings and 140 pages of  written documents, made from 1858 to 1890. They originate from the famous machine factory in Esslingen near Stuttgart.

Natural history books can be admired at several stands. The Antiquariat Engel has a beautiful book of ornithology with wonderful coloured copperplates (€ 14 000), Antiquariaat Junk offers a rare, coloured work on butterflies (€ 20 000) and Antiquariat Siegle has the famous »incunabula of lithography« »Flora Monecensis«for sale at € 5 000.

Last, but by no means least, the literature on travel and geography has lost none of its appeal. There are several dealers that are specialised on this interesting subject, amongst them Dr. Paul Kainbacher, who is bringing Hans Mergenthal’s description of his voyage to the Middle East and Jerusalem. Printed in Leipzig in 1586, it is for sale for € 8 500. Finally, let me mention Schedel’s »Liber chronicarum«, decorated with over 1800 woodcuts, and for sale at Büchel-Baur’s stand at a modest € 23 000.

The fair at a glance


The Stuttgart Antiquarian Book Fair is the foremost showcase for rare books, manuscripts and prints in Germany. It is traditionally held on the last weekend of January, and it is organised by the Verband  Deutscher Antiquare. 70 exhibitors, 17 of them from abroad, will be presenting first editions and autographs, incunabula and early printing, illuminated manuscripts, prints by old masters, important works of the humanities and natural history, travel and exploration, children’s books and beautifully illustrated books of every kind.

The fair is a fascinating cross section of what the rare book trade has to offer, from unique copies to hugely valuable objects, precious works from medieval times until the present. It is the oldest and most important book fair in the German speaking part of the world. Exhibitors come from Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands. First time exhibitors are:

Stefania Bado, Antiquario Librario Bado e Mart di Renato Bado (Padua, Italy)

Emanuel von Baeyer Lt. (London, Great Britain)

Robert A. van den Graven, Konstantinopel Rare & Fine Books (Enschede, Niederlande)

Book fair catalogue


The fair catalogue can be ordered from the Verband Deutscher Antiquare for € 10.--. It is also available online (www.stuttgarter-antiquariatsmesse.de). Here you will also find informations and pictures (in print quality) to down-load.

Why visit one book fair, if you can have two?


Only 10 minutes away from the Stuttgart Fair the Antiquaria / Ludwigsburg will open its doors to visitors from 28th to 30th January 2016. Tickets are valid for both fairs so that bibliophiles have the chance to browse the exceptional offers of nearly 160 rare booksellers at the same weekend. This is unique in Germany.

55th Stuttgart Antiquarian Book Fair

29 to 31 January 2016


Württembergischer Kunstverein

Schlossplatz 2, Stuttgart, GERMANY

Opening hours: Friday 11 am to 7.30 pm, Saturday and Sunday 11 am to 6 pm

For more information, the book fair catalogue, highlights and a calendar of all book-related events during the book fair week visit the official website www.stuttgarter-antiquariatsmesse.de.

(Official press release)

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