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The E-Sylum:  Volume 10, Number 42, October 21, 2007, Article 17

ON THE AFTERMARKET FOR NUMISMATIC BOOKS

Regarding my "sticker shock" on hearing a $250 pricetag
for a 1987 numismatic book (see the previous item on the
Bryan Burke "Operation Bernhard" book), Warner Talso writes:
"I do believe you have identified an interesting phenomenon
worthy of some discussion.  The first time I experienced
this type of 'sticker shock' was when I attempted to buy
a copy of Neil Shafer's book on depression scrip.  On-line
book sellers' prices started at $300 - this for a book
that initially sold for $28.00.  Since then I have seen
this price inflation several times.

"I asked Fred Schwan about it.  His theory, which seems
logical, is that this happens to specialty books fitting
a narrow niche that had a limited initial printing and
are now out of print (and little or no prospects of a
re-printing).  Booksellers run the price up knowing that
there is a very limited supply and expecting anyone who
really wants a copy will have to come to them.

"Interestingly, there is potential alternative - eBay.
I stumbled across Shafer's book on eBay and won it for
$25.  That was pure serendipity, but it sure beats paying
hundreds of dollars.  In the end, it is the buyer's
decision."

[I’m still amazed at what the Haxby paper money catalog
and Bowers’ Silver Dollar encyclopedia bring these days.
The Hibler-Kappen So-Called Dollars book was another
high-flying wonder, at least until a new edition was
finally announced.  What other relatively recent books
are bringing high multiples of their issue price?
Again, I'm showing my age here, because 1987 seems like
yesterday to me, when in fact (gasp!) it's been 20 years
already. -Editor]

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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