Mapping the Terrain of Used and Rare Books
This post isn’t so much about books as it is about scavenging. I primarily look for books, but there are many other items just as interesting, as a Collector, and just as valuable, as a Seller. I use the word “scavenging” in the most affectionate way – I have a terrible time doing anything that I don’t enjoy, and sometimes a terrible time doing things that I do enjoy – but I truly love rummaging through Old Things.
I drove down 422 to Schelocta, hit a number of sales, and then took a turn onto Route 123 towards Apollo, where there were a number more. A “NHL Slaphot Battery-Powered Bank,” an old “Cat’s Eye” game by Marx, and a couple sealed needle-points. Not bad, not bad at all.
The local College Station was playing Alanis Moresette’s “Not the Doctor,” and Marcy Playground’s “Sex and Candy” back to back – as a child of the 90’s I was very appreciative – and then some ten minute long techno/jazz/basso-nova remix of “She’s So Heavy” by the Beatles, one of my favorite songs – My heart was filled with Joy.
I was already halfway to Apollo, so, I thought to myself, Why Not? I drove the extra sixteen-miles just to check out the Thrift Store. I have a boycott on the antique-store in Apollo after the owner refused to let me open a bag filled with miniature Little Golden Books. “It’s just a lot of old children’s books,” he said “sold as-is, if they had any value the seller would put them up individually.” I was incredulous, because that is not necessarily true. And he should know, as a proprietor of a antique-store, that condition is everything. I tried to explain that I just wanted to see the copyright dates and make sure the hinges weren’t cracked on the books…. I even offered to let him check that information out for me if he was going to be such a bitch about it. He refused. I’m still uncertain why. Maybe his dog died that morning. I politely told him that there’s no way I’m going to pay thirty-dollars for a grab-bag full of potential garbage that I know nothing about and he just lost a repeat customer.
Anyway, that is in the past. But the Apollo St. Vincent Du Paul store was very much in the present and they were very much having a three-dollar paper bag sale on books. Not a lot there, but I thought of it this way: If I can fill this brown bag to the brim and sell just a quarter of it’s contents for 99 cents apiece I’ll make a killing. I’ll also further clutter my apartment which already looks like someplace a squatter who just robbed a library crashes at after a DXM binge.
Oh well, we all have our issues. Thank God mine are mainly worthless board-games and Books.
I finished with the stacks and was lurching around the store with a huge bag of books under my arm when something struck me out of the corner of my eye like a shining gem – A Lite-Brite! The unsung gem of collectibles, at least here in Western, PA. I manage to accumulate three or four each summer, all between 1-5$ apiece. And I can inexplicably sell them for 30-40$. I once sold one that was urgently Fed-Exed – at great cost to the buyer – to Los Angeles to be used used as a Movie Prop in a Feature Film. No one here seems to realize that they have Collector’s Value, or any value at all. People will price horrible little trinkets at 2$ apiece and have a Lite-Brite sitting under the table for 3$. I keep a drawer full of pegs and unpunched sheets for the occasion that I’ll find a Lite-Brite without any accouterments.
I guess that’s that. Not a lot of importance, but just a brief diary of hunting around. Hopefully someone can relate. And if you are that someone please comment or contact! I’d love to connect to some other fellow Scouters and Collectors. Let me know! Hopefully something more interesting soon.