California Young Book Collector's Prize

California Young Book Collector's Prize

Thursday, Nov 12, 2020


Sponsored by the Northern & Southern California Chapters of the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America


Most great collectors started when they were young, and most great collections started with a passion for a particular object or subject.  When these objects are books and manuscripts, the collectors are called bibliophiles, or lovers of the book. 

The purpose of The California Young Book Collector’s Prize is to nurture the next generation of bibliophiles.  The competition is open to collectors aged 35 and under who are living in California.  All collections of books, manuscripts, or ephemera are welcome, no matter their monetary value or subject.  The collections will be judged on their thoroughness, the approach to their subject, and the seriousness with which the collector has catalogued his or her material.

To participate, submit the following materials as a pdf file to either of the chapter chairs:  Jen Johnson ( or Laurelle Swan ( ).  The jury will be comprised of the executive committees of the Southern and Northern California Chapters of the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America.

  • Your age and contact information, including mailing address, telephone number, and email.
  • A list of no more than twenty entries from the catalogue of your collection.  Note that all items in the collection must be owned by you, the collector.
  • A statement of no more than 1000 words concerning your collection. This should include:
    • A summary of your collection
    • Your reason for forming the collection
    • A description of one or two of your most prized items (supported by photographs)
    • A description of a few desiderata, those works that you lack, but hope to find one day to add to your collection.

The deadline for receipt of submissions is January 15th, 2021, and the winner will be notified by February 15th, 2021. 

This year three prizes will be awarded, as follows:

  • First Place:  the winner of the first-place prize will be awarded:
    • Gift certificate of $500 to spend at the 2021 ABAA Virtual Book Fair (date TBD)
    • Virtual exhibition of the winner’s collection to be presented at the virtual book fair. 

                    The online exhibit will be featured as a part of the website for the virtual book fair, with the winner responsible for providing the photographs and written commentary for the online exhibit.

  • Second Place:  the winner of the second-place prize will be awarded:
    • Gift certificate of $300 to spend at the 2021 ABAA Virtual Book Fair (date TBD)
  • Third Place:  the winner of the third-place prize will be awarded:
    • Gift certificate of $200 to spend at the 2021 ABAA Virtual Book Fair (date TBD)
  • All three winners, in addition to the above, will receive the following memberships/ subscriptions:
    • Year’s subscription to The Book Collector
    • Year’s subscription to Fine Books & Collections magazine
    • Year’s membership to The Book Club of California
    • Year’s membership to the Bibliographical Society of America

For questions or additional information on the California Young Book Collector’s Prize, please contact either of the chapter chairs: