Tales of book-collecting bonanzas

[Read the post]

My best book buy wasn’t collecting per se. But we found a huge box of Dr Suess books. Like nearly everyone of the large format books for a buck each. I think they were printed in the 80s. So not collectors value wise, but each of those damn books are like $15-20 bucks at the store. We didn’t even have kids yet. Ka-Ching.

I found a couple 1st edition Stephen King books at a garage sale, but it turns out they weren’t worth a lot. Gotta ebay them still.

1 Like

I thought the brief discussion of biblio-ethics here might have been promising, but the “ethical obligation” Rebecca Barry articulates (“not to swindle each other or people who don’t know any better”) is honored as often as not in the breach. Indeed, the suggestion that booksellers who belong to organizations like the ABAA or the ILAB are especially honorable in this regard brought back an old and unhappy memory.

When I was 19 I moved to NYC with my girlfriend. We both had poorly paid jobs as office assistants, and we had just spent all of our money to make the rent and security deposit on our $750/month floorthrough in Carroll Gardens. (This was 1985.) Fortunately, I had an eye for books, and shortly before we moved I had found what I immediately recognized as a rarity in the dollar bin at used bookstore in Springfield, Mass, now long gone. I brought it to a reputable Madison Avenue bookseller, a prominent member of the ABAA and ILAB and still very much in business. He looked it over, complained about the condition of the jacket, and offered me $200. Trusting in the sort of myths Ms. Barry repeats (and that Mr. Marks reports), I accepted.

The book was a first edition of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s TENDER IS THE NIGHT in dustwrapper. I heard later that he sold it for five figures, in 1985 dollars.

I still cringe whenever I pass by his booth at the major book fairs.


Having read Cadillac Jack I’m not surprised to learn that Larry McMurtry is a bookseller and a bit of a craphound, (à la @doctorow) himself.

This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.