PREV ARTICLE       NEXT ARTICLE       FULL ISSUE       PREV FULL ISSUE      

V5 2002 INDEX       E-SYLUM ARCHIVE




The E-Sylum:  Volume 5, Number 47, November 24, 2002, Article 9

BOOK CONDITION JUNKIES

  Dick Johnson writes: "Are numismatic book collectors as
  fanatic as first edition collectors?  Perhaps so.  Sure, I have
  books in my library that are objects of veneration. But the
  more sophisticated I become in building my library, the
  more I want books for their CONTENT.  I have said
  before I consume books.  I read and re-read. I make notes
  in the margins. I talk back to the author. I dogear pages
  (not intentionally, of course). And bindings are vulnerable.
  I long ago lost the spine on my Julian U.S. Mint book. It
  is held together only by the head and foot bands (and my
  prayers), I believe.

  Anyway, E-Sylum readers might enjoy reading the essay by
  a kindred spirit (David Lovibond) who collects fiction in first
  editions:

  "Like all junkies, my most important relationship is with my
  dealer. He must be cajoled and wheedled to remember me
  first, I must pay any price he asks and be grateful for the
  chance, and in no circumstances can there be the faintest
  whisper of complaint about the quality of the supply.

  To be sure, bibliomania is not a comfortable addiction. To
  feed my craving for modern first editions, including my
  beloved Williams and Jenningses, takes a fifth of my income
  ? more than I spend on food or my children.  I have lost
  entire weekends in a haze of book fairs and pilgrimages to
  remote bookshops (which typically prove to be closed).
  Friends and family have felt obliged to shun me lest I drag
  them down with my sordid behaviour; my burblings of
  cracked hinges, crushed spines and discoloured front-end
  papers. I am abandoned to the company of quiet men in
  cardigans."

  "Harrington, who has a first in fine condition of J.K. Rowling's
  Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone for sale at 25,000,
  insists that books should not be thought of as 'investment
  vehicles', but dealers acknowledge that serious collectors will
  have an eye to the asset value of their books. In the case of
  modern firsts, condition is everything.  Books and their
  wrappers are graded from 'good', which in fact means bad,
  to 'mint', which is as new.  The aim should be to buy the best
  possible copy; eventual resale will depend on the original
  non-restored condition. Harrington, for example, who is an
  Ian Fleming expert, offered a restored copy of Casino Royale
  at 5,000 but wanted 20,000 for a fine unrestored version.

  The condition of the book itself is, though, only half the story.
  'With modern firsts the value of a book in a dust wrapper is
  ten times that of one without,' says Nigel Williams, a London-
  based specialist in children's books, who recently sold a copy
  of the notoriously difficult to find William the Lawless for
  2,000.  Mr. Williams says that now that collectors can check
  prices on the Internet, a book should cost no more on the
  Charing Cross Road than in the unlettered provinces."

http://www.spectator.co.uk/article.php3?table=old§ion=current&issue=2002-11-16&id=2467

  Wayne Homren, Editor

Google
 
coinbooks.org Web
The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization 
promoting numismatic literature. See our web site at coinbooks.org.

To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor 
at this address: whomren@coinlibrary.com

To subscribe go to: https://my.binhost.com/lists/listinfo/esylum
Copyright © 2005 The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.

PREV ARTICLE       NEXT ARTICLE       FULL ISSUE       PREV FULL ISSUE      

V5 2002 INDEX       E-SYLUM ARCHIVE


Copyright © 1998 - 2005 The Numismatic Bibliomania Society (NBS)
All Rights Reserved.

NBS Home Page
Contact the NBS webmaster