AE Monthly

Articles - May - 2010 Issue

Young Blood: The Beginning of a New Collection

Falmouth

My first purchase.


By Tom McKinney

This month, I was struggling to think of topics to write about. I 'm supposed to be a tech expert, but tech isn't always on the forefront of the rare book industry. There's the fact that I'm two generations behind the general demographic, and that other than my relation to my parents, I'm not particularly connected to rare books. I was a voracious reader as I grew up - and that's not to say I don't read anymore - but as the Internet took hold just as I reached adolescence, my reading attention has shifted there. So, I was stumped. About a week later, I decided on a relatively easy solution, and one I can tap more than once. I'm starting a collection, and I'm going to be blogging my experiences as they come. Over the years, I've been in a few situations where I apprenticed under someone fairly older than me; that's where the term "young blood" comes from and it's what I'm calling this column and collection.

After deciding that I wanted to collect, I needed to decide what! My initial thought was to the Gold Rush. Just a knee-jerk reaction. I'm interested, but my instinct was to perhaps look elsewhere. From there, I thought about the frontier, and then moved to Indians. I've always had a fascination and admiration for Native Americans, and love Western movies to this day. I decided this would definitely be something to look into. As an alternative addition, I decided I'd also search terms related to the first town I ever lived in, Falmouth, Massachusetts.

I already knew before I started collecting how I'd do it. I just wrote an article about the AE service MatchMaker last month and how it allows for more efficient, microscope-intensive searches. The other thing I decided on early on was that this is going to be a hobby for me; not a way to make money, at least not in the short-term. That being said, my limit for most purchases is $50. I say most because you never know when something special's going to pass by!

So I needed to create some "Wants" in MatchMaker. These are the terms you're looking for on a consistent basis. They're saved in MatchMaker and may be edited or deleted freely. The wants are allowed either as book title searches, or as keyword searches. They do exactly what their names entail.

Since I don't know many specific titles I'm looking for (or can afford!), I started with keyword wants. Initially, the first want I created looked like this:
Keyword: Indian
Modifier 1: Dakota
Modifier 2: wyoming
I later went back and revised it to make two separate wants for Wyoming and the Dakotas since they're not the same areas.

My second and third wants also begin with the keyword "Indian" but have different modifiers. Ones I used were "Little Big Horn," and "gold rush." Another thing to note: in creating keyword wants with multiple words, a single word goes in each modifier box, and can be continued into the eBay Modifiers list as well for a maximum of six keywords (all must be present in a listing to match). I also added wants for a couple tribes, "Lakota" (Sioux), "Sioux," and "Commanche." As for my collecting alternative, I created wants for: Falmouth & Massachusetts, and for the town's county, Barnstable.

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