How did I do? Long after the fact

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How did I do? Long after the fact

Editado: Nov 20, 2020, 10:11pm

Hi, all, I just joined the group after lurking occasionally off and on over the years. My reason for joining is to get your opinions on whether the books I won in an auction were worth anything near what I paid for them.

The lot came from an auction held by Soulis Auctions in Lone Jack, Missouri, from Nov. 2-24, 2015. It was billed as The Harry Ruskin Collection and I think there were several lots of LEC and HP books.

"Lot #8710


"1) Flaubert, Gustave. 'Madame Bovary.' Illustrations by Pierre Brissaud, introduction by Jacques de Lacretelle and translated by J. Lewis May. The Heritage Press, New York 1950.
"2) Fielding, Henry. 'Tom Jones.' 298/1500. Signed in the back by illustrator Alexander King. Introduction by J.B. Priestley. New York 1931.
"3) 'The Travels of Baron Munchausen.' 444/1500. Signed in the back by illustrator John Held Jr. Introduction by Carl Van Doren. New York 1929.
"4) Molière. 'Tartuffe' and 'The Would-be Gentleman.' 317/1500. Signed in the back by illustrator Serge Ivanoff. Introduction by Henri Peyre. Translation by H.Baker and J.Miller. New York 1963.
"5) Mérimée, Prosper. 'Carmen.' 582/????. Signed in the back by illustrator Jean Charlot. Introduction by Konrad Bercovici. Translation by Lady Mary Lloyd. New York 1941.
"6) Virgil. 'Æneid.' 871/1100. Signed in the back by illustrator Carlotta Petrina. Introduction by Mr. Dryden. New York 1944.
"7) Du Maurier, George. 'Peter Ibbetson.' 110/1600. Illustrations by the author. Preface by Daphne du Maurier. New York 1963.
"8) 'Great and Good Books: A Bibliographical Catalogue of The Limited Editions Club 1929-1985.' 90/500. Signed in the back by preface author Mortimer J. Adler. Chicago,IL 1989.
"Very good condition overall. Fading and scuffing to the spine of "Baron Munchausen." Wear and discoloration the slip case for "Carmen." Separation and scuffing to the slip case for "Peter Ibbetson."

"Your current maximum bid is $150.00."

Generally, the books were in at least very good condition, as far as I can tell. The description doesn't specify, but "Munchausen" does not have a slipcase. Also, the spine has a couple of scrapes, and the edges show wear. "The Aeneid" comes in a clamshell box, and the book itself looks like it was never opened.

Though my max bid was $150, my opening bid was $110 and no one bid against me. With buyer's premium of 13% and S&H of $29, the total came to $153, not far off the maximum bid. As a side note, the shipping department did an amazing job. Each book was put inside a plastic bag, taped securely, and then wrapped in bubble wrap. I can't imagine that anything short of submersion or a lightning strike could have damaged them.

If I can reconstruct my thinking at the time, I was most interested in "Carmen," as a companion to a Heritage Press edition of "Tales of Hoffman," and the start of a collection of works of fiction that were the basis for operas. If I could get the other books at a good price I could trade, sell, or give away the ones I wasn't interested in, like "Peter Ibbetson" or "Madame Bovary." Five years on, I haven't pursued any of those plans, but this might be a good time to take them up again.

Your thoughts would be most welcome.


Nov 20, 2020, 2:53pm

In my opinion, unless the books are in god-awful condition, I think if you can get 8 for less than $20 each, you've done well. My focus is on the books themselves and not thinking much of the slipcases; the cases come into play more when it comes to reselling. You stand a good chance of more than getting your money back reselling them individually. And there might be members of this board who would appreciate a first crack at some of these titles - including me :)

Editado: Nov 20, 2020, 3:15pm

>1 Addison372: As I am sure you are aware, you got a good deal but not a steal. Condition, of course, has a great deal to do with pricing and value. My NF copy of Carmen in a worn slipcase cost $90. It is very, very difficult to find a 1929 Munchausen with the slipcase. My unprotected copy had a toned spine with minor chips and dings and cost $30. My 1950 Madame Bovary in a faded slipcase cost $25. My copy of the 1931 Tom Jones needs to be replaced as it is only in fair condition yet cost me $50. I'd rate my Tartuffe as VG+ and cost $35. My Fine edition of Peter Ibbetson cost $20. I don't have a copy of Great and Good Books opting instead to purchase the LEC Bibliography of the Fine Books Published By the Limited Editions Club, 1929-1985 published in 1985. The LEC Aeneid is still on my wish list but can sometimes be found for as low as $50 but it is hard to find without a faded spine and only 1100 copies were printed. The star of your purchase is the Carmen assuming the book itself is in Fine or NF shape.

Nov 20, 2020, 5:34pm

>2 RuefulCountenance: RuefulCountenance
I suppose I'd entertain offers if that's appropriate, and I guess a PM would be the way to go. At the same time, I've gotten attached to the more beautiful books, like "The Aeneid" and "Tom Jones," even though I probably wouldn't sit down and read them. For one thing, they're so _heavy_. Nevertheless, every book has its price. :)

Nov 20, 2020, 6:21pm

They are easy to get attached to :) If there are any you are willing to part with, please let us know here and then anyone who wants to make an offer could PM you.

Nov 20, 2020, 11:06pm

>5 RuefulCountenance: Except for "Tartuffe" and "Carmen," I'd be open to trade the others for a title I was more interested in. I'm not familiar with all of the LEC books but as I said originally I am looking for works that were used as the source of operas. "Tristan and Isolde," "Tales of Hoffman," "Camille," "William Tell," "The Gambler," "Eugene Onegin," "Medea," and "From the House of the Dead" come up in a search of ABE's listings.

Nov 29, 2020, 11:58am

>1 Addison372: I think you did quite, quite well, especially factoring in the time it would have taken to hunt down individual copies in relatively similar condtion. There was a recent video post on "George Macy Imagery" by WildcatJF comparing his Heritage Aeneid and his LEC Aeneid.
Contrary to his feeling and some others expressed in response, I would love the LEC in the condition i saw pictured.

Dic 3, 2020, 5:49pm

>7 laotzu225: laotzu225

Thank you, that is gratifying to hear.

As for your observation about taking time to come up with similar copies, if price were no object, you could put together a nice collection in no time at all from the ABE listings, something like buying "Books By the Yard," and in any color you like. For instance Argonaut Books in San Francisco offers "Carmen" for $225: "Some darkening to spine, else a fine copy. Slipcase is darkened, soiled and slightly worn." Another listing on Biblio in similar condition is $45. As for my copy, the book's spine is somewhat darker and the base of the slipcase is split, but it cost me $25.

Clearly, prices are all over the lot. It's difficult for a novice like me to figure out what is reasonable, what is a bargain, and what is outrageous.

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