Collecting: When it Rains it Reigns
Bought at $50 against an order bid of $130
By Bruce McKinney
It took about two weeks to adjust to the new placement of dealer homepage links on Abe. Now it's back to business as usual. The dealer contact information is found by selecting the dealer link in the item listing and then scrolling down on the right under Payment Methods to VIEW Bookseller's Home Page. All contact information is provided there. Abe is an essential tool for book collectors and the ability to communicate with dealers about their copies and "best" prices increases the likelihood a sale will be made.
To buy on eBay in particular you need quick comparative information and both Abe and Alibris are the first line of defense. If they don't show any comparables then the AED (Americana Exchange Database) is the next stop because we tend to show almost all material that has been deemed important by some seller over the past hundred years. Because we offer present value calculations for seemingly out-of-date listings as well as instant averaging of all selected values someone doing back-of-the-envelope calculations can know, in a minute or two, if an item is significant as well as its probable worth. For collectors it's very empowering.
Material seems to ebb and flow and this past month it has been flowing for this collector of Hudson Valley material. At mid-month a copy of "The Dairyman's Daughter" printed in Poughkeepsie in 1814 came up at Pacific Book Auctions with an estimate of $100 to $150, a full price for a book of limited interest. I left a bid of $130 but the book failed to attract a second bidder and I bought it at half the low estimate - $50. As a Poughkeepsie imprint it's a nice book to have as much of what was printed at that time were school materials, interesting enough, but not as good as this.
On eBay a first edition of "Tom Quick The Indian Slayer and Pioneers of Minisink" came up. This is the 1851 Monticello imprint. For a rare book this one seems to be around. I already have cornered the market with 3 examples including an absolutely perfect copy I bought from Bill Reese some years ago. This eBay copy was missing the last leaf and both front and back end papers, had binding problems and found a new home [not mine] at $48.78. A casual search for the second edition of Tom Quick turned up several copies on Abe and Alibris priced at 6 times what I paid for a copy on ABE four years ago. That one was priced at $150 and I waited a year before buying it for $100. These days two copies of the 1894 edition are priced at $650 and $750.
While looking for copies of Tom Quick on line I ran across a title I hadn't heard of: Legend of the Delaware: An Historical Sketch of Tom Quick. Jeffrey Thomas, the San Francisco dealer had it and I bought it. This seems to be the way it is with book collecting. You look for one thing and find another.
Collecting: When it Rains it Reigns
Early magazines tell an interesting story of the period.
A group of Poughkeepsie almanacs dated 1828, 1831 and 1832 came up on eBay. I've found eBay pricing to be erratic but been satisfied overall. Not this time. I bought the 1831 and 1832 for $64 including shipping. The 1828 came up two days later and someone decided it was worth $56. That's more interesting than the almanac. I buy them as examples of printing as the contents are quite nondescript. Patience is part of the game as I was reminded by Mr. [or Mrs.] 56.
If Hannah Hobbie is reading this [the internet has a long reach] I hope you'll forgive me. The account of your life, printed by D. Fanshaw for the American Tract Society in 1837 at least twice failed to attract a bid and while I was interested I have seen Tract Society publications go begging for buyers too often to count. So I waited. I offered the seller a guaranteed lower bid of $8.00 if he would put it back up for a day. They agreed. No one joined me on the item and I bought it for that price. The full title is Memoir of Hannah Hobbie: or, Christian Activity, and Triumph in Suffering. She'll find many of her old friends on my shelves.
My interest in Joel Munsell, the Albany printer whose career spanned much of the 19th century, was also rewarded this month. I particularly like sammelbands, bound volumes of multiple works and I bought one for $100 that contained eighteen 19th century New England pamphlets including two Munsell printings: "Exercises of the Alumae of the Albany Female Academy"  and "An Oration Occasioned by the Death of Henry White" . There are also two addresses by Charles Sumner who, as a senator, became a leader in the anti-slavery movement. These speeches were given in 1846 and 1847. There is also a speech by Horace Mann, father of American education given on the occasion of July 4th, 1842 in Boston.
Finally I bought a bound volume of the Panoplist, a magazine published in four forms beginning June, 1805 and suspending December, 1820. This volume is from the final iteration, Vol. XIII for the year 1817. As a window on contemporary thinking, magazines are the second response to current events [after newspapers] and often offer more perspective. As luck would have it the index is very good.
Pursuing, collecting, organizing and, as often as is practical, reading this material is an exceptionally interesting avocation.