Semi-Treasures | Newberry


Time is getting short! If you haven’t planned your shopping at the 25th Annual Newberry Library Book Fair (60 W. Walton Street in Chicago, July 23-26, indoors with air conditioning, admission is free: got all that down?), let me tempt you with some of our other treasures.

We have a metronome which works perfectly IF it is held at a 45 degree angle. Set it flat and it won’t tick.

We have a wooden sculpture which came with the note that the donor picked this up on a Caribbean island but can’t remember which one. (yeah, we understand about vacations like that.)

We have a rare set of the complete works of George Washington in umpteen volumes, worth a good $2,000 of anyone’s money EXCEPT that the previous owner let one volume get really, really damp.

We have not one but three framed prints by the same artist. The donor brought them in, shrugged, and said “He’s a relative.”

We have a large collection of music from a professional musician. (You can tell he’s professional because he’s marked in his own chords on just about every song, and the covers of his most used fake books are missing.)

Unless I decide to sell it on eBay, we have a collection of deluxe 2-disc set movies from each one of which the donor removed the disc with the movie, leaving only the Special Features disc.

We have the first American edition of The Hound of the Baskervilles, with a signed inscription dated 1909 from A. Conan Doyle. Problem is that the person who wrote “A. Conan Doyle” was absolutely NOT the Arthur Conan Doyle who wrote the book. Yeah, sure: maybe it was signed by some OTHER A. Conan Doyle—there was at least one—or maybe the REAL author was for some reason disguising his handwriting and writing in a way he never did or maybe….

Not all treasures justify the security cameras over the Collectors’ section.

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