The Antiquarian Book Fair 

Friday, May 3 and Saturday, May 4. Free.

click to enlarge SCOTT ELMQUIST
  • Scott Elmquist
The museum of nearly lost things is coming to town. Nick Cooke (pictured), proprietor of Black Swan Books, will join more than 40 vendors at the Antiquarian Book Fair. “Being around these books brings you closer to something important,” Cooke says. “Even subjects that perhaps aren’t dear to you — like a book signed by the author — you realize this is the actual hand, the ink, the pages touched. Intimacy grows.” Subsections of the book fair will involve first-edition collectors and purveyors of the rare. There will be a letterpress demonstration, book restoration experts and conservators who bring books back from the dead one careful stitch at a time. There will be giant gilt-edged tomes, immaculate objects d’art and treasured personal discoveries from deserted chicken coops and estate sales. Oddities of ephemera, photographs, maps, programs of old concerts and boxing matches, and maybe even Charles Bukowski’s wedding album. “These are fabulous things you won’t see elsewhere,” Cooke says. The Antiquarian Book Fair takes place at the Library of Virginia on Friday, May 3, noon-8 p.m., and Saturday, May 4, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Free. Information at 692-3900 or


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