Thirty of the world’s leading specialist dealers in rare books, manuscripts, maps and photography will gather in Hong Kong, 17-19th November, to showcase some of the most precious and notable collector’s items. In its sixth year, China in Print is managed by Bernard Quaritch of London and the international fair has built an unsurpassable reputation for presenting some of the finest examples of printed works from the Far East and rest of the world. The market is buoyant, with a particular appetite for illustrated materials from Ancient China that enable scholars and collectors to reclaim the past and rediscover a rich cultural heritage.
14th century Chinese paper-money and the third edition of Marco Polo’s Travels, dated 1529, are two highlights to be featured at the China in Print fair. Some books will be priced in excess of US$ 1 million but items can also be purchased for as little as US$50.
China in Print represents a unique opportunity to see all forms of rare works on paper that have been sourced by experts from the US, Europe and Asia, under one roof. Private collectors, institutional clients and anyone with an interest in history and items of beauty can attend the fair and see and meet with the very best experts in their fields, free of charge.
One of the most valuable items to be released is a book, dated 1674, that features magnificent woodcut illustrations of scientific instruments designed by the Jesuits for the Emperor of China (US$ 750,000). Ahead of Chinese New Year, you can see extremely rare astrological predictions by the second most influential thinker in Chinese history after Confucius, Zhu Xi; the unpublished, 10 volume series of manuscripts, features 878 illustrations in exquisite, vivid colour. The first printed document in China stating that the earth is round is a further draw.
Crime novel and movie fans will appreciate an original notebook of British novelist Agatha Christie. Dating back to 1948-1951, the manuscript is the only one outside of the author’s estate. Brimming with ideas, it provides fascinating insights on how Christie worked up her plots and characters.
Andrea Mazzocchi, director of China in Print and senior book specialist at the fair’s organiser Bernard Quaritch Ltd – which celebrates 170 years of dealing in rare books and manuscripts this year – commented: “In an increasingly digital age there is something magical about interacting with physical objects which are conduits of the past. Their significance and charm make them wonderful focal points to be enjoyed and discussed in galleries, museums and homes – and collecting them is an enthralling and satisfying pursuit.”
For burgeoning collectors, Mazzocchi offers the following advice: “At Quaritch we work with many institutions and private collectors who are seeking to build or expand a collection or library from a particular era or discipline. Good condition is an important factor, and rarity is tantamount. However, above all, we always advise clients that they should acquire works that spark a genuine interest and which speak to them on a personal level. It is the hunt for this indefinable factor – different for each buyer – which makes collecting so exciting.
“At China in Print our specialist exhibitors have already curated an exhibition of scarce limited editions and unique objects – sourced through meticulous research – which are available for you to take home. Our dealers trade under rigorous standards so you can shop confidently. We’re hugely excited by the quality and diversity of content that our biggest fair yet has to offer”.