FAQ Project: Need more feedback on "Toughest Titles"

Printmat at aol.com Printmat at aol.com
Mon Nov 3 15:50:51 EST 2003

I'm not sure differentiating scarcity from value in book-collecting terms is 
all that easy. John Carter, in his ABC for Book Collectors, mentions "scarce" 
only as a somewhat lesser form of "rare". One definition of "rare" he provides 
is "important, desirable, and hard to get." Yes, there is one Gatsby in 
first-issue DJ for sale on ABE. It's price is $2250. That represents 110.5 hours 
spent at a $20/hour job (before taxes). I would call that hard to get.

But I agree that those listed are not necessarily "the toughest books to find 
by far." Perhaps replace "toughest ... to find" with "most sought-after." And 
maybe the forgotten, limited-run MLs (Jorn Uhl, et al.) deserve their own 

Bob Riedel
Print Matters! Used & Rare Books
42 Washington Street
Dansville, NY  14437

In a message dated 11/3/2003 2:54:00 PM Eastern Standard Time, 
kamins at dogeared.com writes:

> In responding to the At 5:33 PM -0500 11/2/03, j b krygier wrote:
> >  >> What are the toughest titles to find?
> >
> >Your list is a bit peculiar!
> Well, I don't know about "peculiar."
> >
> >I might suggest differentiating scarcity from value here.  The
> >Great Gatsby is somewhat scarce, but there have been three copies
> >on eBay in recent months.  There is usually a copy to be had
> >on ABE also.  Same for Catcher in the Rye.  It can sell in the
> >hundreds, and there are usually a few copies on eBay at any given
> >time.  These are very valuable MLs, but not the scarcest.
> >
> >The scarcest are titles with one or two printings that (unlike
> >Gatsby) maybe no one (short of a fanatic ML collector) cares about.
> >Here Ye Sons or Jorn Uhl or In a Winter City or Imperial Orgy or
> >The Cabin or any short run ML with a now obscure author.  Another
> >indication of scarcity may be the lack of a DJ on your DJ pages.
> >Bottom line - there can be very scarce MLs that are not highly
> >valuable (eg., some of the titles that were phased out in the early
> >1940s after one or two HC printings).
> >
> >Printing errors (binding from one title on the text of another
> >or upside down binding) are quite scarce and not valuable.
> >
> >The early B&Ls are both scarce and valuable - after that, these
> >two aspects of MLs can diverge.
> What do others think? Remember that this is in the context of a FAQ item.

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