Friday, March 29, 2013

Old books: The Bible

     Everyone who lives in America most likely has some form of a bible in their house. I have news for you guys, it may be valuable. I'm crazy you say? The bible is not a fantasy book? Tisk, tisk. I could argue a case on both accounts. I keep mine in several garbage bags because I have no other way to keep it air tight so it will not disintegrate any more than it has.

    It's an American family Bible from the middle 1800's. I bought it at a garage sale around five years ago. It was in the same condition when I found it, so I try to keep it dry and as air tight as I can for storage. Its made of leather, weighs in at a whopping 30 pounds. The binding has brass strips in it, attaching to the front of the book so it can lock/trap.

     Sorry for the quality of the image, but taking pictures on my kitchen table while trying to get Easter locked down and a computer repaired at the same time can be frustrating. You can see the brass hinges and locks on the front of the book. Both the front and back cover are covered in gold leaf, and if you zoom in on the second picture you can see that the gold leaf has artwork of the apostles and the books of the Bible.

     Because this is a parallels Bible, the first 200 or so pages are reference and guide for the history and geography of the Bible. The pictures are amazing, and include detailed maps. Each picture is covered in a single piece of waxy parchment which has protected the pages somewhat. Some of the pitcures are color, some are not. A few of the pictures are gilded with yet again more gold leaf. Click any of the pictures to zoom.
     The orange square in the middle is where the tissue paper on the adjacent page allowed ink to bleed through. You can almost see the picture in the staining. The bleeding did not seem to bother any of the artwork, which is good.

     Obviously my pictures do not do these beautiful pieces of art justice, but you can get the general idea. The care taken to make this bible borders on the obscene. I can't imagine what something like this would cost to print back then! The binding was falling apart as I was turning the pages, so maybe it was not all that expensive after all.
     Anyways, I could post pictures forever as there are hundreds in there but I just picked a few and put them up. I'm not sure what the book is worth. I'll explain. I've seen similar condition copies go for over $100, easily. The real money is in the pictures protected by the tissue paper. People carefully cut them out and have them framed to sell. Genuine woodcuts with gold lead from the 1800's are pretty hard to find, so the value taken apart is much more. I really don't know what to do with it. My wife is a very devout christian and does not want me to sell it. I see it as something I
could just cut apart and make a few bucks on. Comments?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Flea Market Pick Ups: Part 2

     Oh, Fleamasters Flea Market. The repository of most failed businesses in Fort Myers and liquidation center for all junk no one wants. I call this home. See Flea Masters Pick Ups Part 1 here.

  I really did not plan to end up at the flea market, it was more of a super-fail garage sale adventure. I tried to follow some leads on Craigslist but everything had packed up for the day.
     The weather was awesome as you can see from the picture of Mcgregor Blvd above, so I'm not so sure why the garage sales were not out in abundance. I just kept driving until I was downtown, and before you knew it, I was at the front door to the flea market.

     Fenced in to keep out the looters on weekdays, you get assaulted by fruit sales people from every entrance to the inner sanctum.

     I took this picture literally five feet after walking past the fence and in to the strange building. I live in a super high tourist area, so a huge amount of stall/shops in here are "Florida" shit sellers. Look honey, a real Florida turd! I love it.

     I made my way around to a second larger building that has less of the touristy stuff and more of the garage sale like stalls. As in my last post about this flea market, one of my acquaintances has a large area in here where he sells books. Above is the books i found in front of a romance book store. I really don't like bagged books. Anything with a bag on it people are going to pick up and pay too much for. The prices listed are almost always mid-high eBay prices. (which is what I go buy when i find something and log it)

     I rounded the corner behind where they sell the beer, yes i stopped there first, and made my way to the Hall of Books. I had heard this was where all the old books from the Silver Platter record store made there way to, so i had to check it out.

     The fantasy and sci-fi book shelves seemed a little picked over, and most of what I saw, I had or did not want. Another fail! First no garage sales.. then this?

    I promised myself i would take home something, so I talked to the guy taking the money about the possibility of there being some books from the Silver Platter's inventory laying around. He confirmed it, and pulled some bins from under the table. I wont ruin the rest of the post, but lets just say I did find some just great books here, and the only thing that put me over my budget was a 20oz beer. Beer is always on a separate budget from here on out.

     He had all the other strange shit from the Platter, like old vinyl and tons of anime VHS tapes. I stuck with what i know but the Weird Al in 3D almost had me.

     I'm sorry for the blurriness of this picture, I was told by an old man not to take it so I moved and it went to shit. Quickly, I was taking a short cut through where the vendors park and unload their trailers and vans and what-not, and I saw someone selling books out of fruit boxes for real cheap. No order at all. I stopped and bought a few books for literally pennies and made my way back to the car, stopping at the table that i stopped at in the first flea market post to finish my beer.

    Mission accomplished. Now to see todays take...

 Click to zoom
     Bagged books! Prices as marked when I use to buy them from the Platter back in the day. Prices vary between $8.00 and $15.00 a book, but he gave them to me for the six-for-five price listed on the home made sign above his shop. Some really cool old books and two not so old books I needed to complete a set; Lucky Starr and the newer C.S. Lewis book in the top left corner. Quick eBay searches on the couch with a cold one were in order after some picture taking sessions. Apparently the prices on the books are pretty accurate to low-eBay pricing which is great. One was way over, The Return to Jongor, because of it's famous Conan cover art. All in all I made out with about $200 over the money spent in book value. Seems as if my dry spell is over for the moment!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Changed the title image.. yeah.

Started as this,
Then to this..
And now this.
     I decided to try and put a little effort in to the blog look tonight as it picks up steam. I'm going to have a few guest writers in the future, so an updated look may encourage more of that to happen. Oh, and my wife said she can read it now.. because that is important. I use CS6 both at home and at work.

First Edition Hunt: The Silmarillion

First American Edition

     Having found a second first edition paper back for my collection I decided to do a quick article and add some pictures for people who need help identifying their own copy in the wild. Two different first edition hard covers exist, the one above is the American edition. Below is the Euro hard back and the first page describing it as such. You can identify either edition by the opening page.

     They are both first editions, but for some reason the American version sells for a little bit more. I have seen "okay" copies of the American edition sell for over $100 almost every time i check up on it. Again, opening publishers information is to the left. The top picture being the American, the bottom the Euro. Both hard covers have book club edition equivalents so be careful for that. Still fun to own, just not worth as much.

 Paperback first edition
     The paperback had a huge printing run based on the demand of the hard cover. First/first copies of this book are still fairly common, but the reprints are insane. About the book itself, i think it got out around this time that his son Christopher kind of wrote pieces of the book so it would all tie in to things he found laying around his dad's desk after he died. After the initial sales died down after a year or so, it never really picked up any momentum. With the rise of the movies reprints cheaply made in abundance make this something are currently looking for on eBay.. and the prices drive up accordingly. You can get about $25 in decent condition. I guess the next question is.. "Major, are these your books?" Well, yes, all but the euro.

My copies on my coffee table.

     I try to use all my own pictures for the website and I have pretty much stuck to that until this post.. I never owned a Euro version so I got the pictures from an eBay page of a known rare book seller with his permission. Just a little FYI.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Paper Back Super Score: Best day ever?

    When i woke up this morning I had no idea it would be such a great book hunting day. I decided I take my $10 and go to the Book Rack after work, which is right near my house. I've been here as mentioned in one previous post, where i wrote about the sheer selection and how friendly the owner was with me. What an awesome and depressing choice to make.. I'll explain.
     She told me she is selling the store to a family member as soon as i walked in the door. I asked her how much, and she responded that it was under $10,000. Mind you, there are at least 250,000 books on the shelves in this store. My dream would to be own a store like this, but alas, it was not meant to be. She talked with me for a while about the years gone by while i made some choices in her huge Fantasy section. Of course, I got the best deal and found a few pretty cool things I must have overlooked before. Remember what these shelves look like? It tough to find something.
   Yeah, it's a lot of books. Anyways like I was saying I found some gems I had overlooked before:

     All first editions! Not a dud in the bunch. Highlights are The Silmarillion first edition paper back, ringing in at around $30, Star Giant coming in at about $30, and Mind Mix at around $50. The others clock in at around $10! Fucking awesome score. I made my purchase and started to leave when she chatted me up again saying she has a box under her desk she saves for people like me who appreciate books. Having come here for years, once in a great while she would pop a rare book on me she knew i could not resist. I wanted to see what was in this box. Behold!
     Click the image to enlarge and zoom. Some pretty cool rare books in here. I quickly got eBay out and looks some of them up.. all around $15-$20 or a little higher. Price as marked around exactly what they were worth. She told me for sitting down one last time with her she would let me have my pick at $1.00 each... Drum roll please.
     Some of the books its hard to put a value on because they don't show up for sale often, but from the top left you have a War of the Worlds 1953 print first/first with the authors name in pink. (super rare). Inside/Outside by Farmer. Spotted on eBay for around $50. Ernest Hemingway first edition paper back, awesome condition and i could not find another like it for sale. I estimate it at around $50.  A Norton book, Galactic Derelict reprint with a seriously cool cover but near worthless. I love the book, and i love the art so it was a home run for me. Arthur C. Clarke Expedition Earth First/First.. sells for around $50.00 in the absolutely mint condition it is in. I mean it's just perfect. All the books are actually almost flawless. Recap: Spent $15 (over my budget!) and got around $250+ of rare science fiction and fantasy shit. Best day ever. Or is it?

      Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome. The book. With pictures. You guys know I live for this shit. This book is worthless, but has a full page black and white picture of Blaster-Master in it. This is some serious fucking shit ladies and gentlemen. Score of the decade. Random memory: My brother and I when going to the beach would put mud in our hair and say we were the kids from Mad Max. Yeah. I paid more for this book than the War of the Worlds first edition paperback. Why? Because fuck you for asking, that's why.
These are mud children whom my brother and I would imitate at the sand bar.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Special Delivery!

     So.. I'm watching the movie Soldier, the kind of Side-quel to Bladerunner on Bluray while doing this update. Great old movie that is kind of dated, but has great elements that apply to any film. My wife says Kurt Russel is a hot piece of man flesh in this movie. Anyways- I got home the other day and there was a box at the front door.. and lo and behold.. it contained an awesome array of books!

     God bless my mother for sending me such a huge horde of books. She has been hitting some local book stores when she goes in to town and looks for things for me until she could fill a box to mail it. Included is the Sci-Fi mags from the 60's that she had sent me pictures of prior, that I had posted for your pleasure. I see some great vintage Trek stuff mixed in there, always great. A rare and not bad condition Dune first edition paper back! This makes two in my collection.

   The pages have some wear from what looks like some heavy reading back in the day. One of hardest to find paperbacks of all time really, (edit: in great condition) with the exception of The Princess Bride paperback. Everyone should have a mother like mine, and if you don't, this is proof you are an asshole. Here is some pictures of the guts:

     Another oddtity of note is the Isaac Asimov boxed set. I have seen such things on Amazon and Ebay over the years, but have never really got one for some reason. I'm lazy, or cheap, or both. I peeled the sticker off all these books, and they each said ten cents, so I dont feel bad about my mom spending too much money buying them.

   Awesome retro 80's cover art with a bald guy. I love it. One of the books I have already in both print and edition: The Caves of Steel. I think this may have been a box set box at one time that got seperated at birth or does not belong in this set at all. The text is not right compared to the others and the year is different. It's listed on outside, so it seems like a complete set.

Wrapping up, a great haul. Mom, you did good. Dune first edition paper back? Yes.