A MAJOR event at the Seatown Fleadh will be the Dundalk Book Fair this Saturday with special guest Eamonn De Burca of De Burca Rare Books.
Mr De Burca will provide free valuations at the event which takes place in the former Planet Video premises on Park Street from 11am to 5pm.
Could your fortune be lying on a bookshelf, or even in the attic of your home? Could you have a book that is just gathering dust but could be worth its weight in gold?
If so, blow the dust off it and take it along to the Antique Books Road Show at the Dundalk Book Fair this Saturday.
In total there will be 12 exhibitors-sellers at the event selling a wide range of antique and second hand titles. Local book sellers Carroll’s Books and Hughes and Hughes will also be present offering a range of local interest and discounted titles.
Eamonn de Burca, Ireland’s leading antiquarian bookseller will value old books, first editions, pamphlets, maps, ephemera, manuscripts, etc. free of charge.
Eamonn said he is looking forward to seeing what interesting books Dundalk people would take to the fair for valuation and explained that not all books have to be old to be valuable.
“As a rule of thumb, antiquarian books are over one hundred years old,” said Eamonn but Flora Mitchell’s Vanishing Dublin (1966) was originally remaindered and now fetches between €250 – 450.
“Signed first editions of J K Rowling’s first books could have a figure of €20,000 attached.
Perhaps more relevant to this region is Patrick Kavanagh’s first book, Ploughman and other Poems, published in 1936 which Eamonn said now sells for €1,500-€2,000.
“Patrick Kavanagh’s Ploughman has only 36 pages, and single-page ballads sold at fairs over a hundred years ago could sell for €50-100.
“Original letters, depending on the fame of the author, could go for very large sums,” said Eamonn. Another Dundalk book, though not remarkably old, was published by P J Carroll and Co in 1974 to commemorate 150 years of the firm. It was written by James Plunkett and is worth €65 if in excellent condition.
Eamonn also said that there are some very expensive books relating to the Dundalk, Louth and North East region.
“There is Thomas Wright’s Louthiana, 1748, valued in the region of €1,000; Dalton’s History of Drogheda, 1844, in the region of €850 and O’Flanagan’s History of Dundalk, 1864.”
Road shows and fairs do turn up some gems. Eamonn’s best find was the limited edition of The Táin (1969) illustrated by Louis Le Brocquy and bound in full red morocco.
A beautiful book and one of only fifty, it is valued in the region of €6,000-€8,000.
And it’s not all books.
“A legal document in vellum signed by Dean Jonathan Swift which dealt with lands in the inner city of Dublin, had personal associations and transported me back in time,” he said.
Eamonn is looking forward to finding some Dundalk rarities.
The unexpected treasure! Such as Anthony Gearnon’s Parrthas an Anma, published in Louvain in 1645. A spiritual work (“Paradise of the soul”) that is entirely in Irish and extremely rare. Gearnon was a Franciscan and born at Gernonstown later Castlebellingham.
The fair is open this Saturday from 11am to 5pm.