Books still to collect: 81

Saturday, 22 February 2014

The Cry Is Still, "They Come:" Our Terror Castle's Strength

I was busy preparing the next post for this blog, which documents the state of my small hardback collection, when I had to go to Paisley for a meeting last Friday afternoon.  Now, I know what you’re thinking, bloggers, “what kind of lunatic calls a meeting on a Friday afternoon anywhere, never mind in fucking Paisley?”, and I hear you, bloggers, I hear you.  Anyway that’s all beside the point and my view is every cloud, so I took the opportunity to check out the charity shops while I was there.  Paisley charity shops have been kind to me in the past and I remember finding a Rivals of the Chalet School 1st w/DJ there many years ago.  Nothing compared to what faced me in the new Debra shop on Moss Street though:
Did you see it there?  Nestled right in the middle of the shelf, sandwiched between Kiss Good Night Sam and Karate Test Techniques.  What more can I say that lovely biscuits, nectar of the gods, dillion, beezer etc etc.  Three Investigators hardbacks in charity shops are a rare thing indeed.  I feel I can comment authoritatively on the subject, as I am frankly never out of the places.  Actually, I can’t walk past one and always marvel at the people who have the uncanny levels of will power to do so.  Since I stated this blog, I think I’ve found precisely three hardbacks in charity shops, that large Shrinking house with dire biblical inscriptions from East Kilbride, a small Dead Man’s Riddle in Ayr and this one.  That’s a strike rate of less than one a year, FFS, so you can understand my joy this week.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Faithful Friends are Hardbacks to Find

Let’s start with a look at the, quite magnificent if I may say so, large hardback set.  Even if you have followed this blog form the beginning, many of these will be new to you as upgrades, so bear with me.

Terror Castle

I’ve cleaned up the cover a bit since you last saw this; now displays quite well.  The only real issues are a small nick to bottom front board and a small dent in the middle of the back cover.  I’d only be upgrading this for an exceptional copy.

Stuttering Parrot

A really nice copy of this 47 year old book.  A wee bit of foxing to top edge, but really as good a copy as you could expect.

Whispering Mummy

A tiny bit of foxing to top edge and some minor fading to text and colour block of spine.  Previous owner’s name on inside page.  Amanda Lithing? Utting?  Can anyone else make this surname out?  Amanda if you’re there, I’d love to hear from you.

Green Ghost

Some minor “shelf wear”, but internally this one is a doozy.  Very clean pages and it looks frankly unread.

Vanishing Treasure

Some minor fading to the spine, but this is another one that appears unread. 

Skeleton Island

I remember raving about this one when I bought it a couple of years ago.  Simply stunning for a book printed in 1968.

Fiery Eye

Here’s another belter.  This copy came from Abbey Books in Paisley sometime last year.  Clean, unfaded and tight.

Silver Spider

Another fantastic copy that has almost certainly never been read.  Hard to believe this was made in 1969.

Screaming Clock

Some very light shelf wear at edge of spine, otherwise this is the best book so far.  Brilliant white pages and very tight binding.  Awesome. 

Moaning Cave

Mmmm... nice.  This is the copy I got years ago now at the start of this collection in a big box of eBay books.

Talking Skull

Wow, the pages of this fisrt edition, 1970 copy are pearly white.  The only issue with it is the scraping evident on the front cover where a prvious owner has removed the gold Collins price sticker.  An upgrade for this book would have to be pretty much brand new.

Laughing Shadow

A teeny bit of reading wear to the spine, but really an excellent copy.

Crooked Cat

Slight rubs and knocks to boards here and a curious stain to the top edges of some of the pages, looks like a drop of liquid has fallen on it it one point.  Otherwise a great copy.

Coughing Dragon

Nice, nice nice.  This is a 1973 impression with cobweb end papers.  Some very minor fading to spine, otherwise a dillion.

Flaming Footprints

The first occurrence of Collins gold price sticker on this one.  This book is in absolutely stunning condition; clearly unread.  Unusually there is evidence of some fading to the cover, but as you can see, this is at the front edge rather than the spine, so we have to assume it has been stored backwards on a bookshelf possibly?  Anyway it’s a stonker of a copy.

Nervous Lion

Another great book.  Clearly unread and does not look its 42 years.

Singing Serpent

The best looking book in the collection so far.  Briliant white pages, price sticker attached, unread, tight binding.  This is the version with white endpapers.  Just Wow.  Honestly it could have been printed yesterday.

Shrinking House

This is the second best condition book i have, closely behind that large Singing Serpent.  Brilliant white pages, unread and with price sticker.  If only they could all be like this.

Phantom Lake

Apart from the tiniest creasing to top edge of the DJ, this book is as close to mint as you could get for a book of its age.  Check out the boards, have you ever seen a phantom Lake with such strong colours and crisp lines?

Monster Mountain

I’ve upgraded this one a few times, bloggers, and the end result is good but not great.  The book itself is good enough but the DJ has a crease along the top back edge.

Haunted Mirror

This one has been upgraded a few times as well, resulting in a fantastic book that really looks days old rather than 39 years.  It has clearly never been read and feels as though it has never been opened in anger.  A simply beautiful book.  It took me ages to get my hands on a decent Haunted Mirror that wasn’t an ex-library copy.  Looking at this,it was worth the wait.

Dead Man’s Riddle

The boards on this one are absolutely gorgeous.  Another unread copy that is only let down by that tear to the bottom of the front of the DJ.  Boo!

Invisible Dog

According to the back of the fep, this copy used to belong to Ian Brown, who must have been very careful when reading it as it is in exceptional condition.  Nectar nectar nectar.

Death Trap Mine

This is the first of the ex-lib books in my collection.  I’ve upgraded this one a fair few times as well, each ex-lib copy slightly better than the previous.  This is the best of the bunch; clean pages and minimal stamps etc.  Still an ex-lib copy though, so definitely room for improvement here.

Dancing Devil

The second of my three ex-lib copies.  Again, I have upgraded this book countless times, resulting as good an ex-lib copy as you could probably expect. 

Headless Horse

This book came form the West Kirby County Grammar School For Girls, which may explain why it’s in such remarkable condition for an ex-lib copy.  Nice colours to front cover but faded badly to spine.  The last copy I had of this had a less faded spine, but was much more tatty generally.  I was thrawn with which copy to keep and which to sell, but this one won out.

Magic Circle

This is Maxine Lawton’s old copy and by the looks of it she never got round to reading it.  She did, however, place it on a shelf that was hit with sunlight, as the spine is faded.  A pity actually, as otherwise the copy is in awesome condition.  I have had umpteen copies of this book, bloggers, for some reason it seems to be quite easy to find.  At one point I had three ex-lib copies in various states of disrepair.  They tend to fetch a nice price on eBay, mind you.

Deadly Double

I’ve had one or two of these as well, mostly ex-lib, but also that one I blogged about.  Considering how rare this title is and that they are mostly ex-lib copies that turn up, this is a cracker.  Clean, tight pages, unread, unclipped DJ.  No fading to spine.  I can’t imagine a better copy showing up any time soon.

So, what ones need upgrading out of this lot?  Well, aside from those obvious library copies, I would probably look for a Terror Castle with better boards, a Vanishing Treasure with a less faded spine, a Monster Mountain with perfect DJ, a similar Dead Man’s Riddle and maybe a Magic Circle with unfaded DJ.  Any offers you guys have would be gratefully received.

Here’s what they look like in my new Globe-Werniecke bookcase:

Now, what about those pesky small hardbacks?

Saturday, 1 February 2014

A Year Passes...

It’s been a while since I updated this blog, fellow T3I fans, so it’s time to answer the question I keep getting asked... What happened next?
If you recall, when last we met, I had just completed the collection of UK hardbacks and had vowed to get the paperback collection up to the same standard.  Unfortunately that’s not exactly what happened.  You see, bloggers, I discovered something very interesting.  Bugger me, but collecting Hardback Three Investigators books is much more fun than collecting paperback editions.  And with the best will in the world I just couldn’t muster the same enthusiasm I had for the HB collection so the paperback collection ended up generally stagnant.  That’s not to say I stopped buying Three Investigators book s completely, in fact far from it.  What I have been doing for the past year or so is buying up all of the Collins dustjacketted editions I could find.  If they were an upgrade for me, that was fine, if not, on to eBay they went, sometimes for an awesome profit.  The result has been twofold; 1: I have upgraded many of my Large Collins editions and 2 I have made enough cash selling these books that the entire collection is now in positive equity for me, ie they cost me nothing and I have money left over to buy more books.  How is this possible I hear you ask.  Well, if you can sell a Deadly Double with DJ for over £250, and numerous other editions for between the £100 and £200 mark, it doesn’t take long to recoup your investment and more. 
As we enter the 50th anniversary year of The Three Investigators, I feel it’s time to get on with things and get this collection finally completed.  The first thing to do is to take stock of what I have and calculate exactly what is needed, so here we go.