A $50 lottery ticket…

As expected my recent attempts at various forums didn’t result in anything. But two days ago i somehow noticed that ebay also has a group thing going on that i was not aware of. I found what is really a booksellers group and maybe not so much for buyers but i didn’t have time to explore these groups further and decided to post anyways. I asked about tips on other sites in general and also more specifically the book i was looking for – Pistols for two by Aaron Marc Stein.

The first reply suggested the site BookFinder, which i have used many times in the past without any luck whatsoever. But i decided to click the link expecting to find one listing that i have already worked with before that says “DJ flaps glued to fep”. I have no idea what this means really but at that time i was hoping that it meant that at least some part of the jacket was still present or something like that. But it turned out that wasn’t the case and there was no sign of a jacket at all.

But to my amazement the search had given not one but two results and one that i had never seen before. This in itself was quite puzzeling since i’ve been looking for this book in the usual places pretty much every single day for quite some time. And even more intriguing was that the book was on Alibris, a well known site that i know that i browsed just the day before looking for it. So either i somehow missed it at that time or it must have been listed in the hours between my search and my post on the ebay group.

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It was described as good and in good dust jacket, whatever that means… Even though i got pretty excited about this new find the part in the description about the “black-taped-edge” cover still kept my heart rate from going through the roof. Even though the possibility of two editions being published by Doubleday using two different dust jackets seemed unlikely, who knows… I haven’t bought any of the books so far without getting to see some images first and i wasn’t planning on making this the first one either. I tried to contact the seller through Alibris but as usual it’s after i do this (and don’t hear back instantly) that my paranoia sets in. And this time i had even posted on a forum about it, meaning that other people could see that this potential treasure was available – so in my head this was a complete disaster!

The seller was a bookstore in Michigan called Black River Books and i also tried to contact them through the site and i finally got a reply and that they would send me some images as soon as possible. I was still a little puzzled about the, to me, weird part of the description so i asked a little about that and described the jacket i was looking for. Of course without mentioning that it was designed by Andy Warhol just in case she had missed this and would then start looking around and potentially raise the price. Hours passed and my paranoia kept increasing but eventually i heard back again and for some reason her email with the images kept bouncing back and could not get delivered to me. But she also described the cover in a way that sealed the deal!

So… turns out this might be the first book i’ve bought without seeing it first. I have asked her to try and send the images to another email so maybe i’ll still get to see it though. If not it’s still a pretty cheap lottery ticket and i’m quite amazed that i might be able to get a hold of a decent copy for such a great price! Hopefully i’ll get to see it before it ships and also cancel the order if the condition turns out to be terrible.

To be continued…

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The Desire and Pursuit of the Whole – Baron Corvo (New Directions, 1953)

I haven’t spent much time trying to “rare rank” the dust jackets i’ve found so far but up until recently i think i’ve considered Who Cooked Mother Goose? to be the rarest one in my collection. But along came this one… And then during the summer i got a hold of two more that i think will trumph all my previous ones. But first things first…

I’ve spent a lot of time looking for this book without any luck whatsoever. Besides the annoying copy on Etsy that’s been sold since forever and the (most likely) crazy expensive signed copy on the Fulton Ryder site i was unable to find anything at all. As usual the first line of attack was Amazon and at a first glance there’s about 50 or so copies available. Even though most of these copies, or in this case probably every single one, is the wrong edition i usually don’t get demotivated about such a challenge. Usually you can find one or two listings that are worth digging into on the off chance that the seller has listed it incorrectly. But with this particular book it’s been hard to find those kinds of listings and to contact all of the sellers just seemed like a lot of unnecessary work.

Then for some reason i think i added “new directions” to the search and then i found a couple of listings i had not seen before, and some of these are still available today. Most likely all of these had been available for a long time and it was just my own stupidity and sloppiness that caused me not to find these earlier. Anyways, a couple of emails later i eventually heard back from two of the sellers. If i remember correct both somewhat surprisingly advised me NOT to buy their copy if i was only interested in the book due to the dust jacket since both were in pretty bad shape. So… kudos to honest sellers!

Even though i appreciated their honesty this of course was a little annoying and a bit of a downer at first. I’m not picky when it comes to the condition of these dust jackets and the way i see it some tears and bumps are to be expected on +50 year old books. But if the sellers themselfs say the condition is terrible then it’s probably pretty bad. Shortly after this i heard back from the last seller and she also attached some images that i posted in my sneak preview a couple of months ago. And even though the images weren’t great they were good enough for my usual paranoia to set in. As is common practice on Amazon the seller didn’t offer international shipping so instead of spending time trying to work this out i took the liberty of shipping it to Frank Edwards without asking for his “permission” first. But as always he didn’t mind acting as my personal post office kind of thing, thanks again for your help Frank, much appreciated!

I think i payed $40-50 for it, i thought about trying to haggle a little bit but the seller was the head of some kind of rare book team at Harvard University so i figured she had a pretty good idea about the value. And also annoying them about $10 or so and risking it all to fall through didn’t seem worth it. The already sold copy on Etsy that the seller wanted $68 for would probably have been a better deal. But considering i’ve never seen this anywhere else and how hard this was to find at all i still think that i made a fair enough deal.

Like Three More NovelsLove is a Pie and The Adventures of Maud Noakes this was published by New Directions and as far as i know this was Warhol’s third commissioned work for that publisher. I don’t really know anything about the author or the book except that the authors real name was Frederick Rolfe and from what i’ve read on Wikipedia some of the book’s descriptions of Venice still appear in guidebooks to this day, so i guess that means they are pretty good.

When it comes to the condition i’d say it’s at least decent. There are some minor tears and other small issues. For example someone seems to have used the book as support while writing something on a piece of paper and the pressure of the pen has “pushed through” or however you say it and this has created some marks and so on… Generally though i think it’s more than OK. In lack of other words it’s still probably one of the “worst” in my collection, but i still love this dust jacket and i’m pretty thrilled i finally found a copy. And as i usually put it – beggars can’t be choosers.

EDIT: I found an old post from december 2013 where i posted about a copy on Ebay. The pictures are gone but that one sold for $175. So it seems i might have made a better deal than i thought.

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The Adventures of Maud Noakes – Edited by Alan Neame (Chapman & Hall, 1962)

What i thought would be a slow summer when it comes to record covers and books actually turned out to be quite the opposite. I have gotten a couple of books and a record cover during the last few weeks that i’m pretty excited about. But i’ll try and go through it all chronologically and this book is first in line…This is one of the first dust jackets that i found information on once i started looking for them. At the time i got the impression that it wasn’t incredibly rare as i was able to find quite a few copies online for sale. But at the same time it became obvious that it would require a bit more digging to find one without having to pay hundreds of dollars.

The funny thing was that i had no idea that the edition published in the US by New Directions in 1961 and the one published in the UK by Chapman & Hall a year later had the same cover. Chapman & Hall seems to have been a somewhat big publisher back in the day, at times housing names such Charles Dickens and William Thackeray. Today it seems to only exist as an imprint for science and technology books published by Taylor & Francis. Anyways, some of the few frequent visitors to this blog might remember my Amazon rant about this book back in may where i was confused about publishers, Amazons various sites and ASIN numbers and so on. Eventually one of the sellers i contacted got back to me with some very familiar images. I still couldn’t put it all together so i also emailed a little bit with Guy Minnebach asking about the possibility of different editions using the same cover. As i recall he was not aware of this but apparently i had gotten blind from staring at images of this cover for to long because he noted something obvious that i had missed completely – that the published is clearly stated on the spine! So… it turns out there are in fact two editions using this cover.

As usual the seller on Amazon didn’t offer international shipping but for once this one was actually willing to make this possible. With shipping and everything i think i payed a mere $25 for this. I was quite pleased with this especially since i was almost on the verge of caving in and getting the cheapest copy i could find, and that’s the one that’s been on Etsy for a looooong time for $155. I had been haggling a little with that seller and gotten the price down a little bit, not much and nowhere near the $25 that i ended up paying for this copy, so once again i think i made a real bargain.

This is also the second book i’ve gotten so far that does not credit Warhol with the cover design, the first one was Love is a Pie by Maude Hutchins. However, as with that book Warhol is credited with the design on New Directions website as well as on other places so there is no doubt this is a Warhol. I’m uncertain weather or not he is credited in the original edition published by New Directions. I’m a little curious though so maybe Guy can shed a little light on this?

There is not that much to say about the condition really as i think it’s pretty good. There is a little smudge or something like that on the bottom right of the front cover but to me it kind of blends in with the overall design so i don’t think it’s that visible. At least it doesn’t bother me at all, the cover is also in protective plastic which is always nice. Another thing i noted is that the face of the red headed girl from the cover (of what i assume is supposed to be the books main character) is also on the spine of the actual book. I’m also curious if this is the case with the edition by New Directions, but i would guess that it’s the same.

I don’t know for sure but i would assume with at least some confidence that the original US edition is more desirable than the one i’ve got and i will probably not stop looking for that edition. But considering what i payed for it and that the covers are in fact identical (except from the publishers name on the spine of course) i’m more than pleased with this copy for now. I also wonder who did the typography, i’ve been comparing it to the one on The desire and pursuit of the whole and they are quite similar to my eyes. Whatever the case that doesn’t bring me any closer to finding out who did it…

To sum it up i think it’s a great looking dust jacket. And since i love black and white and repeated patterns this is really one of my favourites so i was very happy to finally get a hold it! I just wish my record cover collection would move along with the same pace as the books…

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Forums?

I’ve not had much luck with finding records through forums. Maybe it’s because i really only know of one that’s active and that’s The Record Collectors Guild. Finding good and active forums regarding book collecting has proven to be even more difficult. But today i decided to try and do some fishing for Pistols for two and post on the few forums i could find.

The first site is called LibraryThing and it’s basically a site where people catalogue their books, at least that’s what i think it’s for… There is no buy/sell/trade thing going on that i’ve been able to find but similar to discogs you can see which members that have a certain title in their collection so you can always annoy them with messages. Then there is always Google, i don’t really know how the Google groups thing works but turns of there was a group for book collecting. I also found a site called The Literature Network that had a forum, doesn’t really seem to be directed towards buying and selling of books but who knows, at least is seems to be an active site… And i also learned that Amazon has a community thing as well, so i also tried the rare and collectible books forum there…

Finally i’ve done my best to try and stalk the guy who uploaded the image of the cover to Amazon. Unfortunately he had hidden contact information but he had written a review of another book so a while ago i left a comment on that review with an enquiry about Pistols for two with the hopes that he will receive some kind of message that someone has commented on his review… Grasping for straws to say the very least…