March: On the Prowl on eBay
In the priced records it shows up first in the Brinley sale in 1893 selling for $19.00 and described even then as “very scarce.” By 1937 the Eberstadts were describing their copy, in original boards as “excessively rare” and pricing it at $200. They also offered a rebound copy for $150 the same year. In 1945 a nicely rebound copy sold in the Littell sale for $80. In 1946 Ernest Wesson catalogued a copy at $150. John Decker then offered a copy the same year for $95.00. The Eberstadts weigh in the early 1950s at $125 and $150 and Ernie Wesson ends the decade and begins the sixties with more offers of what is now starting to look like a hard to sell copy rather than a hard to find one. In 1967 a not-so-perfect copy from the Thomas Streeter Collection sold for $175. Swann sold a tough copy in 1989 for $440 and Dorothy Sloan sold a very well described fair+ copy for $690 in 1999. So what is this copy worth? On eBay this copy sold for $736.00. Two copies on ABE, both better than this one, are available for $1,500 and $1,750. In my experience impaired copies aren’t worth too much. The news apparently hasn’t reached everyone on eBay yet.
Next up was a Poughkeepsie imprint described as ENGLISH GRAMMAR by Lindley Murray -1815. I only know this is a Poughkeepsie item because it came up in my keyword searches of the full auction texts. There was nothing in the heading to tell me.
It’s described this way: “Collin's Stereotype Edition ENGLISH GRAMMAR, adapted to the Different Classes of Learners. With an appendix, containing Rules and Observations for assisting the More Advanced Students BY LINDLEY MURRAY. The book was published in Poughkeepsie by Stockholm & Brownejohn in 1815. The leather cover is intact but shows wear and stains. The book ends with page 338 and apparently the last few pages are torn out.”
It ended up selling for $5.76 plus $1.50 for postage but the copy is impaired. I finally wasn’t interested. Goodspeed’s in the 1940s created six copies from unbound sheets of the first volume of Evan’s American Bibliography and inserted individual pages of early American imprints to create an exceptional collector’s item. But I’m not planning to do this for Poughkeepsie imprints so I passed, even at less than $10.00 delivered. If I build an extensive collection of Americana and sell it at auction such tattered material won’t have a place in it.