Friday, December 7, 2012
Had a good haul at the local thrift store yesterday. I stopped by on my way out of town, and noticed two shopping carts full of books, a quarter apiece. How can you resist that? So I commenced to rummaging, and came up with some good finds, chief among them this stated first edition, first printing of Thomas McGuane's first novel, The Sporting Club.
In mint condition this one would be in the $800-950 range, but in book collecting,condition is everything, and while this copy is in good shape, the dust jacket has some issues and I doubt I could get $200 for it. Which is a moot point, of course. I collect books, I don't sell them, so for me this is a major find of a favored author for my meager first and rare-edition shelf.
I also found a number of really nice ex-library books, including what is stated as a first-edition Sterling North Rascal, although the dust jacket doesn't seem to match other first-editions, and an early Book Club edition of Jim Kjelgaard's classic Big Red.
In addition, I picked up an excellent condition first-edition Judy Blume Blubber, a very early Dr. Suess Bartholomew and the Oobleck, a first American edition Bedknob and Broomstick (yep, the book the later Disney classic movie was based on) and an early American edition of Felix Salten's classic (or infamous, depending on how you feel about deer hunting. For my views see two blogs below...) Bambi.
Believe it or not, there is a pretty thriving market in collectable children's and young adult books, and some of the classic titles can command big bucks. I found that out last year when I stumbled across (in the same thrift store) what I thought at the time was a first edition of Roald Dahl's James and the Giant Peach. I just bought it for the kids because it was beautifully illustrated, but, being a bibliophile, I got curious about what it might be worth. A shitload, as it turns out. Unfortunately, some further snooping revealed that my Dahl book wasn't in fact a true first-edition, but ever since then I have kept my eyes peeled for classic children's books.
I just wanted to point that out in case any of you were wondering "Why the hell did he buy a copy of Judy Blume's Blubber? Isn't he a little old for that? Isn't that a little creepy?" In fact, it's worth about $75 bucks...
Other pretty cool titles I found include early editions of The Great Buffalo Hunt by Wayne Gard, I Fought With Custer, by Frazier and Robert Hunt, and a regrettably dustjacket-less 1960 (but not first edition) To Kill A Mockingbird, which is one-third of my personal Holy Trinity of modern first-editions.
What I'd give to find a true first-edition, jacketed Mockingbird, along with, of course Catcher in the Rye and Vonnegut's Player Piano. Although I'd also throw in Abbey's Desert Solitaire as the fourth tine. Hell, in reality I'd kill for any of Vonnegut's or Abbey's first editions. I've got first editions of The Monkey Wrench Gang and Down the River, but Desert Solitaire is the Abbey Grail for me.
Which does bring up an interesting point: if I found a pristine copy of either Mockingbird or Rye, would I sell it? Tough one, there. As a rule I don't sell books, period. But with prices of either of those titles in the $20,000 to $30,000 range, I might be tempted. That would buy an awfully nice shotgun...
At any, rate, for a sum total of five bucks, I may not have hit the book-collecting lottery yesterday, but I damn sure didn't do too shabby, either. It was enough to make me go buy a real lottery ticket. I am, after all a big believer in signs...
Posted by Chad Love at 11:12 AM