Hammett- Maltese Falcon(first in DJ)

david medsker dsmedsker at hotmail.com
Mon Mar 25 10:48:11 EST 2002


>The prices of MLs seem to be a touchy issue among ML
>collectors and sellers - collectors complaining about high
>prices and sellers complaining about collectors not willing
>to pay appropriate prices for scarce copies have generated
>a bit of tension on the ModLib list at times...so I tread
>carefully.
>
>A couple of thoughts:
>
>I would certainly have to plead poverty (like Scot) as one
>real reason for not bidding on such a title.  I assumed
>that Hammett collectors would bid the book up and that
>they didn't surprised me a bit.  But besides this sadly
>practical matter:
>
>eBay is not a great indication of what a ML is worth.  A
>banged up DJ-less copy of some common title will be bid
>up to $30, while a VG/VG copy of Styron's "Confessions
>of Nat Turner" ended up in my hands for $3.50 (about a
>month back).
>
>Also: the 'Maltese Falcon' is available in a HC version - the
>HC version is not that scarce (altho the Hammett collectors
>routinely bid copies up on eBay).  It seems like many ML
>collectors are just happy to have a title, and are not shooting
>for all 1sts.
>
>This is more of a stretch: for me, at least, the original goal
>of the Modern Library - to provide decent cheap books to
>'common' folks still applies.  I don't consider myself to
>be a cheap person (I can provide credit card balances to
>prove this), but one of the most enjoyable parts of collecting
>MLs is tracking down scarce copes for a few bucks.  I have
>found enough real gems this way that I am very reluctant to
>pay Toledano value.  I am not saying that MLs are not worth
>Toledano value - indeed I think in many cases (pre 1940) they
>should be worth even more than the Guide value.  But I just
>dont get the same thrill paying Guide value as I do when I
>find a rare ML for under $10.  I guess this is sort of like my
>northern Wisconsin uncle who hunts bears with a bow and
>arrow.  He just doesn't get the same thrill hunting with a
>gun, if that analogy makes any sense at all.
>
>If I had difficulty in finding scarce but cheap MLs, I might
>change my mind.  But there are alot of ML bargains out
>there hiding on dusty bookstore shelves and even on eBay.
>
>Finally - I do know that there is a difference between a
>newish collector (like myself) who still has many titles to
>find and years to go, and a collector who is looking to fill
>in the last few gaps in the collection.  I still hold out hope
>that I will find my flex copy of 'The Maltese Falcon' for
>$10.  If this hasn't happened in 30 years, I will pay full
>Guide value for it!
>
>John K.
>

Just how much dopamine is created in the brain of a Modlibber discovering a 
VF copy of the Great Gatsby in a neighbor's garage sale, tossed in a box of 
random books? Or is it the packrats thrill of completing a seemingly endless 
collection of titles? Of the wine, women and song(or was it gambling?) I've 
sought for all my years, it's a delight to find a guiltless passtime like 
ML. Thank you, John.

david medsker

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