Collecting: When it Rains it Reigns
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 Because we offer present value calculations for seemingly out-of-date listings as well as instant averaging of all selected values someone doing back-of-the-envelope calculations can know, in a minute or two, if an item is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.