In celebration of the “Year of the Book” and Concordia’s participation in the 25th annual Antiquarian Book Fair, rare book collectors gave back to the university community this weekend. Students were given breaks on admission prices with the presentation of a Concordia ID.
Adrian Edwards of the Word Bookstore says he wanted to show Concordia how much they “appreciate their support” in hosting the book fair for the tenth consecutive year. They also presented the Student Emergency Food Bank with a cheque for $500 to put towards student food vouchers at Mother Hubbard’s. Mother Hubbard’s is the Multi-faith Chaplaincy’s Thursday night meal program offering nutritious meals to Concordia students. The Chaplaincy’s mandate is to foster spirituality, social responsibility, and to provide a pastoral presence for students in an open environment.
Not only did this year’s event raise funds for the meal program, but admission breaks also helped introduce students to what Edwards calls a “major cultural event” in Montreal. Book fairs give collectors a chance to expand their collections, and socialize, while giving customers the opportunity to find valuable editions not seen in secondhand stores. One of the more significant gems being offered for sale was a third edition of Isaac Newton’s Principia Mathematica published in 1726, and selling for $25,000.
While a book’s age and condition may contribute to its initial appeal, age has very little bearing on its actual value. The enigmatic nature of what actually makes a particular book valuable is often what draws people to rare book collecting.
Indeed, awareness is a big goal in public exhibitions such as these, turning the public’s attention to the large amount of collection and trade occurring in Montreal. According to Edwards, most collectors start at public exhibitions like this, eventually getting to know certain authors, and moving on to dealers and estate sales. This quest for ever-rarer editions often ignites a life long passion.