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Re: The wonders of eBay
Shirrif
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What a bargain, the event finished two days ago so I'm not sure what you get for your money, but 100's of tickets still available

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Festival-Shire- ... ?pt=UK_Tickets_Tickets_LE (100 still available)

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Festival-Shire- ... ?pt=UK_Tickets_Tickets_LE (500 still available)

I'd like to think that Mark Faith would not take any money from these auctions but surely he could remove these from eBay once the event has finished.

Posted on: 2010/8/17 10:25

Edited by Trotter on 2010/8/17 10:48:33
Edited by Trotter on 2010/8/17 10:52:21
Edited by Trotter on 2010/8/17 11:32:02


Re: A nice blog on collecting Tolkien books
Home away from home
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In my book there is no such thing as aiming to make "as much profit as possible", in fact my rule is very tight on that matter (and I know David uses the same law in setting a price). We most of the time work with a fixed margin we aim at (that mostly includes free shipping costs, insurance and possibility for a reduction)... resulting in that when we manage to track down a very rare copy and after some negotiating pay a certain amount (mostly depending on what we believe the book can be sold for); the selling price is already set in the process. So sometimes we get lucky and are able to sell some books at a price we think is very good or lower then we would actually estimate it. But since we were able to buy it cheap we can offer it cheap. Some dealers prefer to add a lot extra, but we prefer selling and finding a collector to treasure this rare book above making monster profits. Guess it is because we truly love to 'find' books and find our pleasure in the 'hunt' and not so much in the 'gain'.

Of course, since we are collectors ourselves, we always find it hard to sell some pieces or do not think it is time yet to sell some pieces... I know Rene also follows that rule... it indeed happens we list books at prices we do not expect to sell at. An example was the Cor Blok painting Rene had listed on his website, he did not expect to sell it at the asking price, but was willing to let it go if someone was crazy enough to pay 'that amount' for it. It did however sell and both parties are happy. So does it mean this painting is worth this price? Not really, but some collectors do spent crazy money to obtain unique items like that.

As for myself, I only started selling books to be able to buy books and only made it into a 'real' bookstore because I ran into trouble with the Belgian authorities, who forced me to 'legalize my hobby' because the money involved was getting too big (this happens when buying 1st impression Hobbits ;) ). Still in the process I learned a lot and bought and sold a lot and I see my personal collection as something fluid. As for now I think it was years ago that I actually bought anything from ebay or abebooks, since I use other sources to acquire my books. While the normal book market has nearly crashed completely the top books sell just as before.

When you would decide to move into this field, here are some things that are of value. Collectors only buy the best pieces, like mostly the earliest forms possible (1st impressions or proofs), true limited editions (not the books that were released the last couple of years),...

Very important are dust jackets, for example the 1st US The Hobbit jacket is in itself more valuable then the book itself. Any flaw in the jackets can reduce the value of any book enormously.

As for signed books there are some huge differences as well. One should always look how the book is signed, is it on the title page or on the front page (huge price difference already), is the signature of the same period as the book or was it signed much later (again a huge price difference), is it an association copy or only a signature, is there a dedication,... in fact when dealing with rare books any flaw, any little abnormality can completely kill the value.

Same goes for letters,... for example I tend to stay away of typed letters and only like handwritten ones. Value is mostly determined by the content and the amount of pages. If you go on ebay you either find fakes or you pay big time, on abebooks you almost need to be a very rich person to be able to acquire anything. The only good way to acquire letters is through the smaller auction houses. But be careful, if you notice any flaw, any abnormality,... don't buy it and stay away from it. Always go for absolute quality.

The value of books... it is a very long story. For me the most valuable books are still books that mean something personal to me. Every book I have has a story and some books are there for priceless. Some books will never leave my house and not because they can be worth tons of money, but because how I personally feel about them. This is the true value of books and no money can buy it. I guess you need to be a collector to understand!

Posted on: 2010/8/17 8:09


Re: A nice blog on collecting Tolkien books
Shirrif
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Sorry, one last point: Andy's PoME wasn't worth £830 in 2007 either!

BH

Posted on: 2010/8/17 5:32
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You drive a hard bargain – you can have it for £10 all-in – one consolation (for you) is that you do not have to hear the cries of my children, for bread...


Re: A nice blog on collecting Tolkien books
Shirrif
Joined:
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Fascinating indeed Beren. However, I suspect you had your bookdealer hat on for most of that!

Look, you're perfectly correct about specialized book dealers like you, David, and Andy (--one would include Rene in this category too.) --but you guys (or you at least) are dealing at the very top of the market. You have lovely copies of many very fine items; most low print run deluxes, with some very rare & scarce stuff too. I'd trust your judgement on pricing these to sell, but listen, there is an enormous amount of Tolkien on somewhere like Abebooks with very little of it priced to sell.

I'm, to be honest, astounded that anyone would have paid you over £350 for CoH. Sorry, this is naive buying. Why would you be so lazy as to not buy direct from the publisher? Yes, on release, it was maximum purchase two per person, and they wouldn't ship to the US; but, come now, the argument about low numbers has been discussed here before.

Within living memory, for some of the older collectors here (myself not included), the book community held (I think, historically) fairly ambivalent views on these manufactured 'collectors' 'deluxe' editions; false, created, manufactured rarities . I think these same people must shake their heads at today’s low number chasers. This ultimately has very little relation to value, quality, rarity, or worth.

I don't particularly object to people having old sets of LotRs from the late fifties in decent nick, now finding they have books worth quite a bit of money. But it kind of annoys me that books which maybe will be worth a few quid in decades to come are already commanding the kind of prices you might imagine them going for in years to come.

I agree with everything else regarding selling; you know far about this than me. Timing is crucial, and some fairly simple practises in good accurate listings, being trustworthy, offering a superior buying experience (nothing specifically to do with book selling) etc etc --these would all seem to allow books to be sold for far higher prices, should that be your aim.

BH

Posted on: 2010/8/17 5:29
_________________
You drive a hard bargain – you can have it for £10 all-in – one consolation (for you) is that you do not have to hear the cries of my children, for bread...


Re: A nice blog on collecting Tolkien books
Just can't stay away
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2010/7/23 2:59
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Fascinating stuff Beren - this is fast becoming a really interesting thread!

Your sales for 1000 Euros (all be it low numbers) are encouraging though.

Posted on: 2010/8/17 4:29



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