Rare Book Monthly

Articles - October - 2008 Issue

Odd Bidding on eBay

Wierd2


Now you may be thinking that one lot could be a fluke. Everyone who has eBay experience has gone home scratching their head about something. So what's the chance that lightning strikes 4 times for the same seller?

This seller in fact offered four items all ending within minutes of each other. All delivered above market results.

One is "Biographical Sketches of the Signers of the American Independence." The first edition is 1845. This is the 1859 edition, apparently the fifth edition. On Abe recently there were 9 copies of editions dated between 1848 and 1860 and none cost more than a hundred dollars. They start at $18.95. The recent copy on eBay brought $137.16 as 12 bidders fought it out.

Another is "The Illustrated Life of Washington," the 1860 second edition. The seller describes it this way:

"The Book is an original 1860 edition with original Blue cloth boards and gilt scrollwork and decorations on the covers and spine. It measures approx. 9 1/4" tall by 6 1/4" wide. The covers are well worn with some loss to the gilding. Edges also have moderate wear. Spine shows heavy wear with chipping to the material in places. Front hinge is slightly loose but still holds very firmly to the spine. Rear hinge is tight. The binding itself is also tight with no loose or missing pages except the pull out illustration of Mt. Vernon which has long been torn out. All other illustrations are intact and present. The pages are toned from age and have light foxing and damp stains throughout which is quite common for volume that is nearly a century and a half old. The full page engravings even retain their original protective tissue guards. All told, a nice, early copy of a very scarce Revolutionary War book with some very interesting facts and engravings not easily found elsewhere."

On Abe there are 10 comparables ranging in price from $25 to $129. If you really prefer the 1860 second edition there's a copy for $50. Most are probably negotiable. On eBay it brought $158.24

Then there is "Nooks and Corners of the New England Coast." This book earned a respectable $124.50. That amount would have bought you three copies of the same edition on Abe and left you enough to subscribe to the AED for month to save yourself even more money on your next purchases.

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