Brisbane’s only major book fair and rare book auction for 2021

A rare Jane Austen collection from the 1800s, antique motorboat designs and a first edition copy of To Kill a Mockingbird are some of the items going under the auctioneer’s hammer at Brisbane’s only major book fair for 2021.

More than 100,000 pre-loved books will be available at the UQ Alumni Book Fair and Rare Book Auction during the long weekend of 30 April–3 May, with proceeds going towards student scholarships and bursaries.

Rare book convenor and retired science teacher Anne Mullins has researched and valued rare books for around 20 years and was excited about this year’s offerings.

“The Jane Austen collection was published way back in the 1880s, and for their age, they are in quite good nick,” Ms Mullins said.

“They’re very pretty books; they’re books that would look magnificent as a set in a fine library or bookshelf – very rich and beautiful half-leather bound.

To Kill a Mockingbird first-edition front cover.“Now if we go from something old and beautiful to something old and worn, there’s a really fascinating book in our Australiana section, Lot 155.

“It’s a book about the Late Allan Cunningham, our explorer here in Queensland.

“We spent a bit of time on it, and by researching it extensively, we think there are only 4-6 copies left in the world of this book.

“It’s old, part of the spine is damaged, but it’s just a brilliant account of Cunningham when he came to Queensland and discovered the Darling Downs.

“That one is not beautiful, you’d be forgiven for tossing it into the bin if you were clearing grandma’s bookshelf, but we think it’s a significant lot.”

Other rare books include a photograph collection of The Anglo-Boer War (Lot 12), a flicker photobook of Don Bradman in-motion (Lot 122) and the oldest book available, a collection of Dr Goldsmith’s essays and poems from 1789 (Lot 34).

The Rare Book Auction is on Friday 30 April from 6.30pm, guests are encouraged to inspect the lots from 3pm onwards and absentee bids are accepted until 1pm Friday.

Alumni Friends President Dr Catherine Lawrence said this this would be the 22nd Book Fair organised by the Alumni Friends volunteers and promised to be a highlight in the 50+ year history of Alumni Friends.

“Our volunteers have put in thousands of hours to expertly price and process some wonderful donations,” Dr Lawrence said.

“The range on offer promises something for everyone, including novels, cookbooks, fiction, non-fiction, and even sheet music.

“The UQ Alumni Book Fair is a wonderful way to turn old books into new scholarships.

“It’s the ultimate reward for us to see happy customers leaving the Book Fair with their newfound treasures.”

Alumni Friends has donated more than $10 million to support important causes at UQ, including cancer research, study spaces, student scholarships, bursaries and awards.

Proceeds from this year’s event will go towards the newly established endowed Cairngorm-Kurrajong Scholarship to provide a UQ student with accommodation assistance.

The UQ Alumni Book Fair is open to the public at the UQ Centre, St Lucia.

Opening hours are:

  • Friday 30 April – 9am–9pm
  • Saturday 1 May and Sunday 2 May – 9am–5pm
  • Monday 3 May – 9am–3pm

Click here for photos of the collection.

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