Abu Dhabi International Book Fair Adds Priceless Displays to its Collection
The Abu Dhabi International Book Fair’s rare collection section is filled with rich tales of Arab, European and Communist world, and worth a fortune too.
There is a majestic display of books, atlases, manuscripts, paintings and scrolls from handful of collectors.
Antiquariaat Forum from the Netherlands and Antiquariaat Inlibris from Austria have a joint display and got some of the unique possessions.
French Renaissance watercolour drawings of falcons and other birds of prey draws everyone’s attention and comes at a price tag of 2,800,000 euros (approximately AED 11,215,650). Pierre Gourdelle’s 58 drawings with highlights in gold has got 16th century binding.
Then there’s first edition of Das Kapital signed by Karl Marx at 1,500,000 euros (approximately AED 6,008,380). On display is what the experts claim to be the first two Arabic books ever printed – a dictionary containing 30,000 entries accompanied by a grammar book. It is two separate works by Pedro de Alcala but usually encountered together, said Laurens R. Hesselink of Antiquariaat Forum.
“It can be yours for 250,000 euros (AED 1,001,390),” he said.
First printed record of Abu Dhabi and Dubai are for 150,000 euros. The travelogue by Gasparo Balbi contains earliest printed source of the history of the UAE, Qatar and Oman.
The pavilion also got a select collection just for Chinese guests.
“They are the Guest of Honour. That’s why we got a dedication copy of Das Kapital signed by Karl Marx, which was presented to his friend. There are only two books in the world with this manuscript and his signature. We got this here as China is a Communist country. There’s first atlas dedicated to China and Beethoven manuscripts too. We also have many other China-related items and they are coming here with great interest. We are now setting up meeting in Beijing to promote our collection,” Hugo Wetscherek of Inlibris said.
They have good market for manuscripts on communism and it’s the China government bodies, libraries, billionaire private collectors among others.
But how do you reach such valuations?
“We value books through auction results of items sold by other dealers. All of this is registered in databases and you have to price a book little higher than you paid for. You can buy through a book dealer, private collector or through auction,” Hesselink said.