Wednesday, May 15, 2013

I'd Rather Buy a Jaguar, Thanks

Just had to share this with my readers, many of whom are collectors like me or who just like to buy old mystery books every now and then. I doubt, however, any among you has the spare change to pick up the book advertised below. And it's so attractive, too. Foxed pages, chipped and foxed DJ. Definitely a keeper.



Just in case you're wondering it is indeed scarce, but there is a reputable seller with a copy minus the DJ who is selling it for $245. Standard pricing for a copy of any book without a DJ is to deduct approximately 75% from the price if it did have a DJ. So the naked copy is rather a steal. That is, if you believe this book is truly worth the equivalent price of a 2013 Jaguar XF with all the extras. Even a first edition of Fer De Lance in DJ (a much more important and collectible book in the genre) would never fetch over $60,000.

Click here for more details on this book. While visiting that page (yes, it's on that infamous auction site) you can view more pictures of this damaged book that someone thinks is the Hope Diamond of mystery fiction.

UPDATE (May 17, 2013): The seller appears to be playing a game with this item's listing. Each day the price drops. Tim Prasil caught it at £39,500. Today I see it has been further reduced to £38,750. How do you spell crackpot?

13 comments:

  1. I took a glance at the contents listed and recognized many of them. I have never seen a copy of 'Detection Medley', but I have a copy of the paperback, 'The Avon Book of Detective and Crime Stories', edited by John Rhode, which was originally published under the title 'Line Up'. It includes "a 22 course banquet for all tastes" which seems to be a shorter version of the same book. Both the original foreword by John Rhode and the Introduction provided by A. A. Milne are included as well as such entries as the ones by J. J. Connington and Henry Wade. I'm wondering if anyone knows more about the publishing history. 'Lineup' seems to have appeared in 1940.

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    1. That's very interesting! My guess is that Line Up is the US edition of the book offered above. It was published in hardcover by Dodd Mead in 1940 as you note. Due to copyright law many short stories get deleted from US editions of anthologies. This is the case with The Supernatural Omnibus, edited by Montague Summers which is substantially different from the original UK edition. I've also seen story substitutions in other anthologies as well, that is the publisher is forced to take out one tale by Author X in the UK and use instead a differnet tale by the same author in the US. I am not home now, otherwise I would check my copy of Hubin for verification.

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  2. I would have been tempted, but I'm not paying £9 for postage! Scandalous.

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    1. HA! It should be FREE shipping, right? Not only a greedy seller but cheap!

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  3. It's not even a pretty book. Though I suppose that has little to do with it.

    I'd pay for the first edition of FER DE LANCE if I was a millionaire. But other than that, no. And you know how I adore Wolfe and Archie.

    Come to think of it, maybe I'll plunk down the hard cash after I win the lottery. But first I gotta' remember to buy a ticket.

    You can't win the lottery if you DON'T BUY A TICKET, YVETTE!!!

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    1. "Not pretty" is an understatement, Yvette. Condition is everything in the used and antiquarian book trade. It's the first criteria in pricing any book. These amateur sellers try to con people into thinking that scarcity makes a book valuable or the content (which as you learn from Holden can be found in a cheap paperback edition) is of literary importance and that's makes it even more valuable. It boggles my mind. This is the most outrageous example of charlatanism I have ever encountered since I started buying and selling books on the internet.

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  4. This is just monstrous... It reminds me of the time I looked up signed Roald Dahl books to see how much they'd fetch. The cheapest listing turned out, if you read very very carefully, to have been signed by one "Aunt Agatha". Unless that was Agatha Christie, I very much doubt that it was worth $700-something...

    I'm not much of a book collector - I just get whatever edition I can lay my hands on - but I do have one or two hard-to-find books in my collection. "Whistle up the Devil" and "Fear is the Same" are probably my two proudest finds.

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  5. It appears the seller has lowered the asking price by £500. Perhaps, that's to offset the postage...

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  6. Bloody Hell, that is an absurd price! Amazing the world some people seem to live in ...

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  7. Yikes. I'm with you, John. Give me the Jaguar any day. And I love me an old, "rare" book. Speaking of...went on a book-buying binge this week while on vacation. Details in a post coming soon....

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  8. You neglected to mention that purchase of this fine treasure can earn $ 100 in 'eBay bucks". Ready to change your tune now and scrap the Jag?

    Nawwww....

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    1. Since I posted this news item the price of the book has dropped to £12,500. What's that earn in eBay bucks?

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