Thursday, May 20, 2004
The Hatfield book auction always features dozens of box lots, which almost always have some gems that other dealers miss; sometimes you get lucky on them and sometimes you don't, but it's easy to get full value back when you only spend $2.50 a box. I've also gotten mercenary about books in a way that would have horrified me only a year ago; I can now ruthlessly throw books in the trash, which I would never have done before.
The one in Philly is the place where I get the highest-margin items, because the box lots there are so carelessly assembled that you can find amazing stuff. One three-box lot I bought for a dollar contained an old N.C.Wyeth collector plate that sold for $58. It just requires a lot of patience to sit through a long bunch of, literally, garbage in order to snag some decent stuff. Today, though, I spent the day in the "better" auction there (the Philly auction is a three-ring circus with three different auctions going on simultaneously). From it I got a few things, most importantly an original Lil Abner daily comic strip from 1958 that I should make some good money on.
I was fortunate in a completely different way today. I was sitting in one of the bidder chairs, eating some grapes, waiting for the auction to begin, when this guy who sort of resembled the actor Delroy Lindo walks up to me...holding what I recognized as my car keys. I had left them in my door when I had locked it before I came in. The guy had been parked in the space in front of my car and after I left he got the keys and went looking for me inside the building until he found me. I almost fell over. (I could not thank him enough, and I insisted on carrying his stuff into his van after the auction).
And yes, I'm tired.