I don’t like to pry into your personal life, kumquat cupcake, but I have a question for some of my recent callers. Did you do anything during the blizzard BESIDES clean out the attic? (I’d like to remind you that the last time I was cleaning books out of an attic in winter, one of the books hissed at me. I was lucky the lady was hibernating or she might have gotten really nasty. Now, her brother, who was sleeping in the box I moved into my bedroom, and woke up during the night and started to fly around, was another story.)
Where was I? It’s an interesting coincidence, but I have had more calls asking me about the value of books this week than I had in the six months preceding it. It’s been a matter of books that “my uncle, who was 101”, or “my grandfather” or “my brother-in-law” left when they died. And you figured Groundhog’s Day was a good time to finally go through them, did you?
I kind of like playing Antiques Roadshow, myself, though I guess I get the same responses they get. It’s always either “That much?” or “Is that all?” And almost none of these people were even thinking of sending the books to the Book Fair. The lady who had the book that might have been but probably isn’t worth $200,000 WAS thinking about it, but her mind is now on other things. That many zeros will do it to you.
And although I sigh to myself, I don’t mind the breathless “Some of these books go back to the 1800s!”. Several million books were published during the nineteenth century, mourning dove dumpling. And, as I’ve had occasion to mention to you, age does not make something valuable. But I don’t mind that cry nearly as much as the one I had from the lady who said, “A lot of these books go back to the 1950s!”
Just to save YOU some time, though, because sitting by the phone waiting for my call can be heart-twisting, as millions of women have never told me, let me remind you about alibris, abebooks, and via libri, just three of the excellent bookselling websites where you can go in and browse through the prices to your heart’s content without ever having to spend a dime. Type in the title and/or author, and off you go. Make sure the book listed is the one you have in your hand, of course. Watch very carefully for things like “first edition stated” or “book club edition has orange endpapers”. After you find out your treasures are selling online for $2.49, THEN you can give me a call and ask about donating them.
Of course, any time you feel like sending over a $200,000 book, be sure to call. And if you didn’t happen to find a $200,000 book while you were burrowing through the attic on Groundhog’s Day, why, heck, I can just take the cash.