Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Antiquarian Desperation.

The Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America sponsors a rare book collecting contest. First prize is $2,500.

An association which promotes the sale of rare books is sponsoring a contest which encourages (requires) the collecting of rare books. I guess they never heard the phrase, "no purchase necessary" to enter or win.

The story says, "But UCLA, among the 30-some universities participating in the student book collection competition, shows how it can be done." Their "sample entry" lists 22 books. And I priced the first title that caught my eye:
2. Carroll, L. (1888, 1924) Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There. New York: Macmillan. Illustrated by John Tenniel.
So I checked and found these:

Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There
Carroll, Lewis (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson)
Book Description: MacMillan & Co, London, 1872. Cloth. Book Condition: Very Good. Tenniel, James (illustrator). First Edition. Price: US$ 27,829.23

Too expensive? Don't worry because there is a cheaper edition:

THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS, And what Alice found there.
CARROLL.LEWIS.; Tenniel, John. illustrates.
Book Description: Macmillan and co.London.,1872(1871)., 1872. FIRST EDITION. Price: US$ 2,385.36

But if you want the 1924 edition mentioned in the UCLA list, the price drops even more:

Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There
Carroll, Lewis
Book Description: Macmillan, London, 1924. Leather. Book Condition: Very Good-. John Tenniel (illustrator). Price: US$ 150.00

So if 22 books cost around $150 apiece, then competing for the $2,500 top prize would only put you $800 in the hole (assuming you win). But just think of all the fun you'd have with your extremely fragile, climate-sensitive bundles of paper! Here, Buster, fetch!

I think most college kids will just wait until The Orthopedic Corrective Footwear Association holds its dance contest.

A thought: Isn't this how Oscar Mayer made his fortune? Hey, kids, let's have a wiener eating contest! See how many you can eat! Just a buck a wiener. Hey, I'm losing money here.