I’m New Here: Week Twenty-Four…

August 2, 2019 by  
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Today someone asked me to choose the nicer of two issues.  Each had the same date, the same title, the same price, and so a collector (who was in that particular instance selecting a gift) wanted to know which I thought best.
As many of my interactions are, this was a phone conversation. I offered to send photographs, but he said, “You told me my previous selection was beautiful, so I trust you.”
While that is a very nice compliment to give to “the new girl”, to be quite frank it worried me. Guy’s philosophy, when it comes to describing the condition of an item, is to set expectations low, and let the collector be pleasantly surprised. And it makes sense. He makes sense. We are shipping things hundreds of years old to folks hundreds of miles away. How can we possibly use common evaluations to describe Rare and Early items?
See, the truth is that I am a bit entranced by these old papers. I’m learning to see the browning, the foxing, and even the tears in very peripheral ways. Instead, every part of the oldest papers feels stately and significant.  The decorative mastheads are fancy, but the straightforward block type conveys dependability and balance; loveliness can be displayed in a broad range of styles.

This young upstart country has packed a lot of history into two hundred and forty-three years, and these pages tell of the innovation and the expansion.  They report virtues and crimes.

It’s a little magical to me to stand and contemplate  volumes stuffed with the details that brought us to where we are today.  For better, as they say, or worse.

An expert knows the wear and tear that decreases value, and our catalog prices often reflect that aspect.  So, I’m not really the one to ask when you want to ascertain condition.  If the words of the stories are there, I will probably tell you something hyperbolic like, “It’s stunning.”

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I’m transfixed.

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2 Responses to “I’m New Here: Week Twenty-Four…”

  1. Cory King on August 2nd, 2019 4:39 pm

    I love reading your posts. You are such a good writer. Also, the August catalog was spectacular. I found several gems for my Founders collection. Keep up the good work!

  2. Stephanie Williams on August 5th, 2019 7:44 am

    Thank you for your kind words, Cory! I particularly appreciate positive feedback from the collector who introduced me to the delightful “The American Museum” title.

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