I was curled up on the couch a few weeks ago reading the Sunday paper, when I stumbled upon the most intriguing ad. The following Sunday at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Philadelphia would be a Vintage Book and Ephemera Fair. Admission was only six bucks so I decided to pay a visit.
The last time I was at a book fair had to be in my grade school gymnasium, surrounded by piles of best sellers brought to us from the kind people of Scholastic. Remember the anticipation of waiting for that book you ordered through the Scholastic classroom catalogue? Ah, those were the days.
So, fast forward some twenty years and I'm standing in the event center of the Sheraton hotel. And it was far from digging for pocket money to buy the latest in the Goosebumps series, I can tell you that. Maybe I've just been thrifting for too long, but I experienced some major sticker shock. While I didn't expect to really purchase much of anything, I wasn't prepared for the lowest of hardback prices to be in the $400 range. Granted the printings may have been limited, and there were certainly a lot of first editions in pristine condition. But $400? $1500? When compared to my thrifted 25 cent reads from the thrift, this was something else entirely.
I don't regret going, not in the least. The smell of aged paper filled the air, the ambiance of a museum. And I got to hold in my hand, albums literally entire albums of travel photographs, personally inscribed postcards, worn maps and more. And of course, I brought some home, something a little more in my price range.
Ten Assorted Vintage Photographs: $15
Visitors Map of Philadelphia, 1944: $4
I will feature these lovely pieces of ephemera individually and in more detail in a later post. A Vintage Photo Friday special edition post, perhaps?
I also forked over $20 to a kindly gentleman who had a few LPs that struck my fancy.
I met some fascinating people--collectors, vendors and vintage enthusiasts of all ages. I bought a few records and a little collection of photographs that I love. And I also envied the wealthy who could afford to buy the first editions and $500 photo albums and personally handwritten diaries that I could only lust after.
Well, maybe someday Let's Go Thrifting will be an empire that can afford me the luxury of a vintage book fair shopping spree. Until then, I'll stick to the thrift store.