20 January 2008

Gertrude Lintz. Animals are my Hobby.1942

At the end of this I mention an ebay item. I was struck by the name of the dealer selling the above book. He had about 5000 feedbacks to his or her name which was something along the lines of 'luckystoragefind.' There is a whole mythology around storage/ warehouse/ lock-up finds and some great lots and collections, even the foundations of businesses, have come from these secret places. Someone dies or goes broke and their goods are held in storage, sometimes for years. Their goods are sometimes unclaimed and eventually they get sold off. We were called to one where the storer had failed to pay the rent and after many notices the books were sold. As I recall we paid a deal more than was owed. The attraction of these collections is they are often like a time capsule. One we bought consisted of books on fashion with nothing after 1979 so the world of taste ended with punks and neo romantics but stretched back as far as Beau Brummell. There was also a box of books all with textile samples laid in. Kind of thing you don't see much any more-- just like this book of Ms Lintz:-

Gertrude Lintz. ANIMALS ARE MY HOBBY. Robert M. McBride Co, NY 1942.

Current Selling Prices
$180-$550 /£100-£280

True tale of upstate NY socialite who in the late 1920s transformed her mansion onto a menagerie and was especially keen on Chimpanzees. She kept several animals in her Brooklyn home, including several St. Bernards and the famous gorillas Gargantua (called Buddy at that time) and Massa. She was known to drive around Brooklyn with a fully clothed gorilla or chimpanzee sitting in the passenger seat. She believed that apes would only thrive if they received proper mothering and thus treated them as her children - dressing them, teaching them to eat at the table with cutlery and so forth. Something that was picked up in the early PG tips TV ads. The book has become rather desirable since the story of Gargantua was filmed ('Buddy' 1998) with Rene Russo as Ms Lintz, apparently portraying her as 'daffy.'

The book is listed along with other desirable gorilla books at the excellent Gargantua website ('a hairy handful of GARGANTUANLY rare gorilla books.') There is even a photo of a woman suckling a small ape--as Ricky Gervais might say 'CHIMPANZEE THAT!'

VALUE? One of those books it would be nice to find at a car boot sale for nada or less. It is obviously quite scarce and hard to buy for less than a £100 note - Ebay is recommended for the patient Gorilla punter on a budget. Early last year a copy of the US 1942 first in a chipped jacket failed to attract interest at $349 as a Buy-it-Now (or Bin-it -Now as one wag called it.) At the time I thought this indicated that the book in a genteel decline but a recent look at Addall shows the Museum Press 1945 paperback at over $350, one stray good+ McBride first at a similar price and 3 dealers holding out for $750 + (one signed). Meanwhile it is likely that copies are quickly sold at more modest prices and the above copies stick around like hardy perennials. Our photo is not from the first edition, the McBride first is red with an orange jacket with an ape--looks like a hard to sell nature book of the kind done later by Armand Denis etc., Below is a German poster for them movie which as well as the russet Rene also featured 'Cracker' himself - Robbie Coltrane.


Anonymous said...

First US edition in nice jacket sold for only £31 on eBay 14.01.08

Anonymous said...

a copy sat on the shelf of ridicule, beneath zadie smith's rabbit at the marvelous book and comic exchange in notting hill for many months with no takers until it reached £3...