I was whining to a colleague during setup at this year’s Papermania about how desperate Hartford was in the summer time. To my surprise, he offered a dissenting opinion.
“Nonsense,” he told me. “The weather is beautiful. Hartford is a wonderful city to walk around in – the parks, the riverfront – especially during the weekend when there’s no traffic.
You go into a restaurant and you never have to wait to be seated. You sit down at the bar and there’s plenty of room. So stop your complaining and get out there and enjoy it.”
He was right. I left the XL Center late Friday afternoon and hit the streets. Hartford was empty, and that was fine with me. It almost felt as if I had the place to myself.
Unfortunately, but not unexpectedly, this summer’s iteration of Papermania was also fairly empty.
The Saturday morning crowd was thin,
That’s the legendary Carmen Valentino in the beach chair. He got in line early.
and the situation did not improve as the weekend wore on.
Sales at the Ten Pound booth totaled about $1400, but least I found some interesting things to buy.
Here’s an 1862 broadside advertising the auction of a captured Confederate blockade runner. (Show me another!) $1750
An interesting, early (1845) ship’s log. $750
A dramatic whaling print. $2750
And how about this wonderful whaling narrative?
Sampson, Alonzo. Three Times Around the World, or Life and Adventures of Alonzo D. Sampson. Buffalo, NY: 1867. 170 pp. A rare and unusually well-written whaling narrative. After a brief stint in the Mexican War and and an unsuccessful trip cod fishing out of Gloucester, Sampson signed aboard the whaling bark “Willis” of Mattapoisett. He then shipped aboard the New Bedford whaler “Junior” to the North Pacific, then the “Rebecca Sims” which also visited the North Pacific, Arctic, and Sea of Japan. Finally he signed aboard the “Junior” again. It was on this fourth voyage that a mutiny took place near Van Diemen’s Land, led by Cyrus B. Plummer, during which the captain and most of the officers were killed. Aside from this bloody mutiny and some unusual adventures (including the capture of a sea serpent which yielded ten barrels of oil) Sampson treats us to some of the finest writing in the literature of whaling. This work is not listed in Jenkins, Sabin, Howes, Streeter or Cowan. Forster 85. Title page is foxed, otherwise in very good condition. Bound in original decorated cloth with minor chipping along backstrip. $3500
The guy who sold it to me told me that the last copy to appear in the trade had sold at the Barbara Johnson sale in 1996. When I looked the book up in my database I discovered I was the one who’d bought it at the Barbara Johnson sale. I love this business!