Books still to collect: 81

Sunday, 14 August 2011

And Now The Screaming Clock Starts

I am constantly amazed, Bloggers, by the high quality of the books I have gathered for this collection. By and large they arte better than those I had previously. Fair enough, you may say, since the last lot were all bought from charity shops and car boot sales etc. Anyway, the streak of outstanding quality continues with this:
A striking example of a large Screaming Clock if ever I saw one. Sure the grandfather of all Screaming Clocks, this; a first edition in excellent condition.

I remember a few years ago, folks, when I was in Hay on Wye buying some books, and found myself in The Children's Bookshop (the one just outside the village, not s's on the Main Street). They had a lovely copy of this book priced at £10, which I remember thinking was an outrageous price at the time. I mistakenly thought I already had a copy and didn't buy it and remember being really angry with myself as it ended up being the only UK hardback T3I book I never had in my collection. The thing was, £10 was way more than I had ever paid for a book before this. I think the most I ever spent was £4 on a nice large Green Ghost. How times have changed in the days of Abebooks dealers hoping to get £106 for a Nervous Lion in "acceptable" condition!

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Vanishing Treasures

It’s time to revisit that article I wrote a few months ago about the relative scarcity of each Three Investigators title, bloggers. As I have been focusing on the hardback editions, let’s look at those. This is what I have found when looking for large hardbacks during the last five months:

Terror Castle

I have seen six of these listed on both Amazon and AbeBooks, but they have either been too expensive (for example, check out the copy that is currently listed on AbeBooks for the princely sum of £78.20) Even ex-lib copies have been listed at well over £20, so unfortunately, I haven’t bought myself a copy yet.

Stuttering Parrot

I have seen five of these available; the most recent one was on Amazon for just under £15. The condition didn’t appear to be fantastic, and the other copies I have seen have all been far too expensive.

Whispering Mummy

Three of these have appeared on eBay and a half a dozen on Amazon. There is one listed as we speak on abebooks, not badly priced at £12:

. A fairly common early title.

Green Ghost

Another relatively common book, I have seen three on eBay and several on Amazon / Abebooks. There is an ex-lib copy currently on Amazon for a few quid, and one with the stunning price tag of over £40 including postage on Abebooks. I would be hoping for a copy signed by Alfred Hitchcock for that price.

Vanishing Treasure

This one has proved to be not quite as easy to find as the previous couple of titles and I have only spotted two on eBay and the usual stupid priced ones on Abebooks (eg the “good” condition one currently there for £57. Why anyone in their right mind would pay this god only knows. I must do a posting about these crazy prices, watch this space bloggers.

Skeleton Island

I still don’t have one of these as any I have seen have been either too expensive or too tatty. Relatively uncommon, this one.

Fiery Eye

Apart from the one I bought myself recently, I have seen five other copies of this, including the possible one I see listed on Abebooks, thus:

Bloggers, this is another example of how difficult it is to work out exactly what book some of these dealers have for sale. Described as a “1971 impression”, in the description, but stating, “Publication Date: 1973” in the Bibliographic Details section, how are we to know what we are dealing with? What difference does it make, dotch? I hear you ask, we’ll I’ll tell you. The large Fiery Eye had its second and final printing in 1971 and the small Fiery Eye had its first printing in 1973. So from the evidence in the listing, we really have no way of knowing for sure if it is a small or large hardback that is for sale. Knowing my luck, if I bought it, it would probably turn out to be a first edition paperback with tatty covers.

But I digress. This has been one of the more easily found books so far.

Silver Spider

I haven’t seen too many of these, bloggers, only three in total, however for some reason they all appeared to be in excellent condition, including the one I bought for £2.50 on eBay. There is a really nice one listed at the moment, why not check it out if you are interested:

Screaming Clock

This has been a fairly common title, however dealers appear to be generally a bit ambitious with the prices they expect to achieve from it, for example the copy currently listed on Abebooks priced at £78.75. The cheek doesn’t end there, folks, as he is also asking for £3.35 postage within the UK. At least it must be in mint condition for that price? I hear you ask. It is, in fact, honestly described as having “damage to spine”. Does anyone ever fall for it? I have seen half a dozen copies in various states.

Moaning Cave

This has been a scarcer title over the last few months, with only three copies having been listed, including my one from that huge job lot I got some while back.

Talking Skull

There are two of these listed at the moment on Abebooks, for the usual daft prices. I.E. £51 and £38 respectively. There have been another couple on eBay and some on Amazon too, giving a total of 8 copies.

Laughing Shadow

More fucking mental prices on Abebooks, folks. If you have £97 burning a hole in your pocket you could buy the one listed by Revival Books (so named because they are always having to revive their customers after they have fainted when told the price of their books) that is described as having “shelfwear”. If you feel that’s a ridiculous price to pay, don’t worry, as another dealer has one listed (described as having “wear to corners”) for only £72. This may seem like a bit of a bargain after the Revival copy. How do they get away with it?

What I really don’t understand is that these prices bear absolutely no relation to the relative scarcity of the book. Apart from the five I’ve seen listed on eBay, there are currently three listed on Amazon and there have been at least half a dozen others sold during the last few months. In fact this is both the most common and most expensive title so far.

Crooked Cat

Not so common a title, this one, with only four copies definitely identified as large hardback copies. I see good old Revival books have listed a Crooked Cat described as in “unknown binding” and published in 1971. On the face of it, this may be a large hardback copy, but how can you tell? The person who list it may just have looked at the copyright date rather than the date of publication. Also, what the fuck does “unknown binding” mean anyway? If you’ve got the book in your hands, you can surely tell if its hardback or paperback, no? Even if you’re blind, it shouldn’t be beyond you as you could always feel it. I suppose if you had no hands to feel the book and were blind so couldn’t see it, you may have an excuse for not knowing what the binding consists of, but if you suffer from these afflictions, surely listing books on Abebooks is not the most appropriate occupation for you.

Coughing Dragon

This has proved to be a difficult book for me to track down. There was one listed a few months ago on Abebooks by Barter Books in Alnwick, which is a truly excellent shop that I recommend you all check out – you can also do some celebrity spotting as Chris Donald, Viz Comic creator works there (at least that’s what he claimed in his recent autobiography Rude Kids). Anyway, it was described as having “warped boards” and who wants that, eh? Otherwise, apart from the odd crazy priced nonsense on Amazon (currently four copies available for between £35 and £50) they have been thin on the ground, with no eBay sightings at all.

Flaming Footprints

If you want to pay over £50 for a copy of this book, bloggers, you will have no difficulty in finding a copy, as there are three listed at the moment on Abebooks and Amazon at such a price. This makes the last copy look good at £29, but as it has “read wear and page discolouration” I would probably give it a miss. Here’s my top tip for the day, bloggers. Any hard back book that is described as having “page discolouration”, or “tanning” is in all likelihood a small hardback as opposed to a large hardback. The earlier printings (up until 1975) used lower quality paper that is prone to discolouration. The large hardbacks and small hardback reprints printed after 1975 all used better quality paper that will not be prone to this browning,

This is a slightly more common book than some others, as I have seen eight copies in total for sale.

Nervous Lion

There is a very well priced copy on Abebooks at the moment, folks, at around £8 including postage. Other than that, I’ve seen a few listed here and there, about 6 in total.

Singing Serpent

You may find it quite difficult to come across a decent copy of this one, bloggers, although I see something listed on Amazon that may be a bargain, with the exhaustive condition report stating that the book is, “in stock”. Really, is that the best you can do? How about, Publisher, year of publication, condition, ex-lib status, etc etc. I could go on. Have these people no idea how to do their job? Alas, it would appear not. But I digress. I have seen four of these offered, including my most excellent copy, see below.

Shrinking House

This would appear to be one of the harder titles to find. I have seen only five copies listed, and that includes the one I found in that charity shop in East Kilbride. There are currently two available on Amazon, both reasonably priced at around £18.

Phantom Lake

This is where things start to get a bit tricky. This has been a very scarce book indeed, as I have only seen two copies, both of which have already featured in this blog. The first was the job lot with Monster Mountain, the other was the one I bought (see Treasure of the Argyll Queen).

Monster Mountain

For some reason, bloggers, this is a hugely common book. Aside from the four I have seen on eBay, there have been at least another eight listed elsewhere. At the time of writing, there are five available online, some with and some without dustjacket. Honestly, these things are everywhere. If I were you, I would hold out for a better condition or better price as there will no doubt be another one along any minute.

Haunted Mirror

A bit like Phantom Lake, this book is a rare beast indeed, as I have seen only two listed, including the one I got for a bargain £12.80.

Dead Man’s Riddle

There have been two of these listed on eBay and if there have been any listed on Abebooks or Amazon, then I have missed them. I won’t count the one Big Tiny gave to me as it was bought about a decade ago.

Invisible Dog

A few months ago, I blogged about the great large Invisible Dog that was listed on Abebooks, bloggers, a book I regret not buying. Apart from that one, I have only seen the one that I ended up buying myself.

Death Trap Mine

I blogged about the rather nice copy that had been list on eBay a few months ago, bloggers. The same seller promptly listed another copy, this time an ex-lib one. These are the only two appearances of this title.

Dancing Devil

The only copy I have seen anywhere is the one that I bought from Amazon myself. Nothing on eBay or Abebooks, making this one of the rarest titles in my experience.

Headless Horse and Deadly Double

I have yet to see any copies of either of these titles.

Magic Circle

For some reason, there have been several of this title listed on eBay, Amazon and Abebooks, making it almost as common as Monster Mountain. There is one on eBay at the moment, one on Abebooks and two on Amazon. Not sure why this one is so easy to come by.

Here is the above information shown graphically:

Now, bloggers, I am not a statistician, I leave that work to the professionals, so I will not pass comment on this, frankly rather useless, graph.