Wednesday, March 19, 2014

most valuable books in my collection

Let’s try something different today.

Not a book review, but something more personal. Particularly, my list of the three most valuable books in my collection. I’m limiting myself only to three, because they all exceed $50 range and it’s a small number. The books under that range are plenty in my collection, so it makes no sense really to list any of them.

I warn you from the start: do not expect any three and four digits numbers. No $5000 books, not even $300. It is expected considering my position: part-time work, low income, living in non-English-language country, it’s all there. But bear in my mind: I here present most valuable books for me. That means they ranks in amount of money I paid for them. A market price doesn’t matter in this case. I own a lot of books that I paid little for, but their market price is much higher.

Also bear in mind that the value of these books in $ is nominal. For me once I’d bought a book, this book became invaluable. I own only the books I like and I don’t sell books for any price.

Top-3 of most valuable books in my collection:

1. Charlotte Armstrong, I See You
Published by Coward-McCann in 1966

Price: $65.

It’s not that rare a book, even first edition hardcover. The reason I paid the price is that it is a signed HC, and that is rare. Armstrong signed her books on very special occasions. You won’t find signed copies of her books lying around on the net. But what makes this even more valuable is a typed letter signed by Armstrong and addressed to her girlfriend. And that is scarce.

I got it off eBay, me being the only bidder. Fools, you’d say.

(I have a rule not showing signatures and inscriptions on my books. Sorry.)

2. Ross Macdonald, The Barbarous Coast
Published by Knopf in 1956

Price: $59

It is said that in very good condition this HC costs almost a grand. You can see I got mine much cheaper. Vintage Macdonald (pre-60s especially) are not exactly offered at reasonable prices, though they’re not in a short supply. This particular copy has a curious history, or more precisely not a copy itself, but the way this copy went to get to me. But that’s another different story.

I got it off eBay.

3. Boris Slutsky, Memory (Pamyat)
Published by Sovetsky pisatel in 1957

Price: 2000 rubles ($57)

That’s a debut poetry collection by a Soviet poet Boris Slutsky. Slutsky is my favorite Russian poet, so I decided to collect all his books. Now I own around 20 Slutsky’s books, and all of his original collections. This debut is scarcest of his books. The first printing was only 1000, therefore the price is quite high.

I got it from used books store in Moscow, and a friend of mine sent it to me.

Share in the comment your most valuable books.

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