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Monday, September 12, 2016

A Humourous Look at Rare Book Sales

Recently, I’ve devoted several blogs to old and rare books.  I discussed the Voynich Manuscript on August 31, the world’s most expensive books on September 10, and the Kelmscott Chaucer yesterday.
Most of us, of course, will never be able to afford any of those books. 

Should that thought cause bibliophiles to be a bit saddened, I thought I’d share a humourous piece that recently appeared in The New Yorker, a magazine to which I have had a subscription for many years and never fails to provoke thought and laughter, sometimes in the same article.

Some of the descriptions are wonderful.
 A signed first edition of A Farewell to Arms:  “The pages are crisp, and accented by water rings where the original owner no doubt sat a few whiskeys down while mulling the narrative and yelling at someone belligerently in a bar. (Light urine damage.)”
The first goddam edition of The Catcher in the Rye:  “The edition has mild foxing to end corners, as you would expect, because everything good always ends up ruined.”
A newly discovered first edition of To Kill a Mockingbird:  “This rare first edition was recently recovered in mint condition from the knothole of a tree, a fact that, although astounding, is less so than the lack of progress in race relations since the time of publication.”