Rare Book Monthly

Articles - March - 2004 Issue

March: On the Prowl on eBay

Providence1858

It pays to check. This item sold for $98 on eBay and was $22.00 on ABE.


By Bruce McKinney

March has proven to be an interesting month for me on eBay. I’ve been buying one or two items a week while bidding, with varying degrees of gusto, on several others. I haven’t found a truly exceptional item yet but I am finding a steady flow of interesting, inexpensive material.

Early in the month I was watching Mohonk Addresses by Dr. Everett Hale. It’s a New Paltz, New York item and the bidding was at around $8.00. It was only a fair copy and finally sold for $13.05. The shipping was going to be $5.00 and there were quite a few copies on ABE. I decided to pass. I didn’t previously know about this book. It turns out to be common.

The next item was REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER ON THE NARRAGANSETT TRIBE OF INDIANS, MADE TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY, AT ITS JANUARY SESSION, 1858. This sounded interesting. The copy on eBay sold for $98 plus shipping. I found an equal, possibly better copy, for $22.00 on ABE. You have to look. Thank you eBay. Thank you ABE.

Then there was a Poughkeepsie, New York sampler. Here is how it was described:

“Gorgeous and rare MOURNING family Memorial sampler from Poughkeepsie, N.Y. All done in very finely worked stitches all in black. Nice winding border, with fabulous fence, weeping willows and American house. The needlework on the bottom is superbly worked. Made by Mary Ann Watrous, aged 8, 1828. It has slight damage that is magnified because it is backed on a stark white background and there is also sun glare in the [attached] photo. The white shown at the bottom of the house is the doorway and done in white. This wonderful, memorial would improve 100% if backed on a linen background and the tiny wear spots would fade into the backboard. Black stitching is intact and only wear is in ecru linen. Measures sight of 11 ¼” by 16”.

I have in the past bought a few death-related 19th century Hudson Valley items. Death was a significant aspect of life then and I suppose for people like myself, past the 50 year mark, a significant aspect now. I waited until almost the end of the sale to bid. With three hours to go the bidding was at $275. I put in a bid of $450 and thought I might get it. No so. It sold for $725 and was probably worth every penny. It just wasn’t worth that much to me. Congratulations to the buyer!

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
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    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Israel’s War of Independence and the Early Days of the IDF. 58 photographs presented to Israel Ber, IDF officer and later convicted spy.
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