Monday, July 27, 2009

Rare Books, Even Rarer Prices

Matty and I went to Randalstown's very fine charity shop today. I have to say it is one of my 'finest kind' charity shops, it being independent and unthemed. You just wouldn't know what you might find there. The last time we went I bought Matty a piece of SylVac pottery. It was far from being a bargain but Matty liked it, so what the hell. It's all for a good cause, the education of under privileged children somewhere in Africa, I'm told.

Since my last visit they have expanded the book section and I made straight for the shelves containing old hardback books. You never know what gems you'll turn up among old or out of print books. But did I get a shock. Someone seems to think that just because a book is over thirty years old it must be very valuable. The first book I opened was by Philippa Carr, who was a popular historical novelist from way back when. I have read her for I once had a great liking for historical romance. I was very young at the time so you will have to forgive me. The price that they were asking for that book was an unbelievable seventeen quid! For a Philippa Carr, published 1n 1980, a BCA edition, no dust jacket - an author who sold in her many incarnations (Jean Plaidy, Victoria Holt et al) 100 million books during her lifetime. I picked up another - Arthur Grimble's A Pattern of Islands. It was another book club edition although rather nice, you'll know the one I mean, published in the fifties. Twenty-four pounds! That book is very far from being rare. There was a book on Winston Churchill, published maybe 20 years ago, rather scruffy dust jacket, ex-library edition for which they were asking twelve pounds. You know I could nearly see them getting that if some mad Churchill fan came in and didn't have any access to eBay.

I can't wait to go back to see how the books are selling.

So what did I buy? The Big Book of Animal Fables, Margaret Green, illustrated by Janusz Grabianski for one fine pound. Bargain. I intend to read it to my grandchild in a couple of years or so.

4 comments:

Neal said...

It is a very good charity shop. I picked up about half a dozen Bukowski books of poetry and short stories (not realising obviously what a foul and rude man he was) for £1 each.

Agreed on their pricing too - they were asking for silly, silly money for a little folding camera with a stuck shutter. Although saying that, it was gone last time I was in.

I think I may have to make a little visit tomorrow actually...

Nelly said...

Thanks for the furthering of my education Neal. I hadn't heard of Bukowski until today. Mind you, if you hadn't said he was foul and rude I may not have bothered researching him on Wikipedia.

How much were they looking for the camera?

Neal said...

£75, if I recall correctly. It was worth about £20.

Bukowski was part of my L.A. education.

Nelly said...

75 quid! There's no way they got that. Bartering must take place in that shop.

And apparently your poet was described by Time as a "laureate of American low-life" - I'm intrigued to the nth degree.

And - I like the new tag.