This is a picture of the library I bought
Sorry to be a little late with this week’s entry. I was on the road yesterday, going to buy a collection of about 200 books that were right in my wheelhouse. Three or four power items, a number of important titles, and a good foundation of secondary literature.
I’d looked at it before, made my offer, and had been rejected. “Well,” I said to the fellow, “If you don’t think my price is good enough, how much do you think I should pay you?” Two weeks later he came back with a number that, in my estimation, was closer to the retail value of the collection than a wholesale price.
Still, I really wanted the library, so I told the fellow that, since our numbers were so far apart, perhaps I’d missed something the first time around. He invited me back for another look.
This is a picture of the check I wrote for the collection
So, hoping for the best, I schlepped back there yesterday, turned on my cellphone hotspot (he had internet but had forgotten his password), fired up my laptop, and ran the collection through vialibri, rare book hub, ABPC, and my own database. Exhausting work, but enlightening.
The figure I came up with the second time, an optimistic retail value for the collection, was lower than my first estimate. In fact, it was just a few thousand dollars shy of what he wanted me to pay him. I appraised the gentleman of my findings, and he shrugged his shoulders.
Whereupon I crawled back into my car and drove home. Sometimes the numbers just don’t work. And no matter how badly you want them to, or how much you do NOT want the collection to fall into the hands of another dealer, well, sometimes you just have to say no.
In my five decades in the trade, this has been one of the most difficult lessons to learn.
This is a picture of what I brought back home