Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Ray's Remarks: An "Average" Night of Book Buying and Acquisitions at the Curious Book Shop

Ray offers a peek into the mysterious world of book-buying at Curious. 
This chronicles the evening of Monday, November 26th 2012.

I never know from one day to the next what we'll have access to. Today was no exception!

I try to encourage people to set up appointments; I'm generally available to buy items in the shop from 3 until 7:30 PM, Monday Friday and Saturday - but it's always best to call first.

First in to sell items was a man who'd called and set up an appointment. He brought in a big Walt Disney Mickey Mouse book and some items he inherited from his father.

Unfortunately, the Disney book's cover was soiled - I passed on it; while the contents were in nice shape, the exterior discoloration would turn a lot of people off. It just wasn't "gift" condition, and we see this book frequently.

He also had some items from the Korean War, a book from the U.S.S. Pittsburgh and a military scrapbook from the war with many black and white photos. There were also a few large photographs of the crew, but these were damaged, almost torn in two.

While I do have customers for these types of items, we didn't agree on a price; I suggested that he might want to donate them to the Michigan Historical Museum - and honor his father permanently. It would be ideal for researchers and historians.

We talked about the decreasing number of collectors of this type of material - and the fact that more items like these were surfacing as World War II and Korean War veterans are passing away with increasing regularity.

He decided to take them home and think about what he was going to do. I gave him a card and would be interested in buying them, but I have to make a profit. These items are not fast sellers, but they are still pretty interesting.

Next in was a man with a big bag of old "girlie" magazines - but most were in poor shape, with covers coming off. I don't have much demand for men's magazines but I can use those types of magazines in nice condition, from the 1950s and 1960s.

We also had the usual people trying to sell old textbooks - and advised them to go nearby textbook shops.

A man came in with an item, carefully packed in plastic, that he wanted to sell. It was a Flash Gordon Big Little Book from the late 1930s - but it was only in good condition. There was lots of cover wear to the exterior and penciling inside. He had great expectations - he said that one company said it could be worth up to $307 - but he'd have to send it to them, first.

He decided to bring it to us - but his copy was not in desirable condition; we currently have over 60 Big Little Books in stock in nice shape! On items of this type, condition is exceptionally important - and copies that are only in Fair or Good condition are notoriously slow sellers.

Earlier in the day I brought in some boxes of hardbacks and paperbacks that I'd acquired from the estates of two professors - art books and useful volumes of lecture and poetry.

We also acquired an interesting wooden bookcase from a local estate sale; it is only a foot wide, but six feet tall, with adjustable shelves!

Audrey had the bright idea of putting it next to our stairway leading to the basement. It fits perfectly. Now, we just have to figure out what we'll going to put on display!

Other items that we put out today included a nice selection of Tolkien-related books. In a few weeks, we'll send to auction a FIRST AMERICAN EDITION of Tolkien's The Hobbit, in Good condition.

We currently are offering an original gouache painting by Rowena Morrill on Ebay. It was used as the cover art for The Dracula Book of Great Vampire Stories!

Other items we made available today were a large number of 1950s Dell TARZAN comics, including a few scarce Four-Color issues. We added a number of SIGNED FIRST EDITIONS of science fiction novels and anthologies signed or inscribed by Hugo-Award winning author Clifford D. Simak.

I also dug out a box of books that had been somewhat buried. I priced and shelved a few more Cherry Ames books in dust jackets, and Nancy Drew, too. There are many interesting books awaiting plastic wraps. They'll appear on our shelves soon.

Earlier today we celebrated my birthday 
with a nice chocolate cake that tasted great! 

Tomorrow is another day. Who knows what we'll come across...

- Ray Walsh

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