Rare Book Monthly

Articles - May - 2007 Issue

Goin' Farther South

Lamberts

Mrs. Lambert at Lambert's in Hot Springs, Arkansas.


"What do you think the general direction of bookstores will be in the future?" we asked. "The Internet has taken a lot of our business away, and Barnes and Noble has, also," Corey replied. "When we bought the store in 2000 we bought it based on the year 2000's sales figures which, after 9/11 and the internet, just plummeted. One of the reasons we are moving is because our mortgage is too high."

Burke's is located on a very busy four-lane street, but foot traffic is minimal and the neighborhood is rather seedy at this point. "This was a great location at one time. There were more shops here and a health food store across the street, which was great, but they have since closed. Unless people are driving directly to us, they won't know we are here. When we get to the new store we are going to do night hours again and the place moving in next door to us is a coffee shop and "desssertery"…we are really thrilled; it couldn't be better. We had an abysmal 2006, but it looks like our luck has turned."

We told him we hoped so, and wished him the best. We trucked on down the road to spend several days with a friend at Horsehoe Lake, Arkansas, near Memphis. Also near Memphis are acres and acres and acres of RVs and small trailers that FEMA bought for hurricane victims and, because of Federal red tape, were never distributed to those in need; they are being auctioned off by the thousands to dealers. Our tax dollars at work.

After that break, we headed down to Biloxi, stopping two days in Hot Springs, Arkansas, former home of ex-President Bill Clinton. We dumb-lucked into one of the best and least expensive barbeque restaurants we have ever been to; McClard's. The story is that the family owned a trailer park in the 1920s and one of their tenants couldn't pay his rent. He offered the McClards "the best barbeque sauce recipe in the world" in exchange for rent. They tried it and they agreed. They have owned the establishment for all this time, and it is still run by family. We sat in Bill Clinton's favorite booth and this is one of his favorite eateries. They love him there and we saw lots of Clintoniana everywhere.

And, we found a bookstore the likes of which I've never seen before. Lambert's Swap Shop (please see the picture, it is worth a thousand words) was a large building jam-packed, I mean JAM-packed, from front to back with knick knacks, old pairs of shoes and basically bad books of every type, shape, and size including racks of bodice rippers, stacks of common, modern fiction, Reader's Digest books, and books of every type and genre on shelves and in crumbling cardboard boxes and milk cartons and grocery bags, all stacked in precarious piles that one knew would come crashing to the floor if one rooted around. It was one of those places where you had to leave your bags at the desk, not because they were worried about shoplifters, but because if you carried it, you would knock over every other stack of books. In fact, I found this out the hard way when I dislodged one stack of paperback war novels to find a lovely hardback copy of Longfellow's Hiawatha from 1898. It was probably the best book in the place. I paid too much for it, but I have always wanted to read it and it was so very pretty, with color plates, etc. All in all, I bought about 10 books and I had to do a bit of fast-talking to get a dealer discount, but I suspect the $60 I spent might be the biggest sale they've had in months. I did, however, find a couple of scarce, cheaply priced flower arranging books that my good florist customer in Georgia will want, and that will probably make up for my weakness. It was hard to believe that anyone could have accumulated that many mostly worthless books in one place.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> first edition of the earliest extant manual on modern chess, Salamanca, circa 1496-97. Sold for $68,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Carte-de-visite album with 83 images of prominent African Americans & abolitionists, circa 1860s. Sold for $47,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Gustav Klimt, <i>Das Werk,</i> Vienna & Leipzig, 1918. Sold for $106,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Man Ray, <i>[London Transport] – Keeps London Going,</i> 1938. Sold for $149,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Thomas Jefferson, Letter Signed, to Major-General Nathanael Greene, promising reinforcements against Cornwallis, 1781. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Nicolas de Fer, <i>L’Amerique Divisee Selon Letendue de ses Principales Parties,</i> Paris, 1713. Sold for $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Russell H. Tandy, <i>The Secret in the Old Attic,</i> watercolor, pencil & ink, 1944. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ernest Hemingway, <i>Three Stories & Ten Poems,</i> first edition of the author's first book, Paris, 1923. Sold for $23,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Walker Evans, <i>River Rouge Plant,</i> silver print, 1947. Sold for $57,500.
  • <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Ernst, Max. <i>Mr. Knife and Miss Fork</i>. Paris, 1932. DELUXE EDITION. Sold for $15,625
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Cage, John. Autograph musical leaf from his Concert for Piano and Orchestra, NY, 1958. Sold for $18,750
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Cage, John. Autograph musical leaf from his Concert for Piano and Orchestra, NY, 1958. Sold for $18,750
    <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Einstein, Albert. Signed Passport Photo for his US citizenship application. Bermuda, 1935. Sold for $17,500
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Verard, Antoine. Illuminated printed Book of Hours. Paris, 1507. Sold for $7,500
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Wetterkurzschlussel. German Weather Report Codebook - for Enigma use. Berlin, 1942. Sold for $225,000
    <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Morelos y Pavon, Jose Maria. Autograph letter signed to El Virrey Venegas, February 5, 1812. Sold for $6,250
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Milne, A.A. Complete set of <i>Winnie-the-Pooh</i> books. 4 volumes. All first issue points. London, 1924-1928. Sold for $5,250
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> A 48-star American Flag, battle worn flown at Guadalcanal and Peleliu, 1942-1944. Sold for $35,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Locke, John. Autograph Letter Signed mourning the death of his friend, William Molyneaux, 2 pp, October 27, 1698. Sold for $20,000
  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>

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