RARE BOOK GUIDE - THE RUNNERS, THE RIDERS & THE ODDS

04 July 2008

House Calls 6 / Box Clever / Drug bust etc.,


Things to take to a house call--mobile phone, boxes, tape, marker pen, cheque book (sometimes cash.) People are often way off in their estimation of quantities-- we went to a house in Harrow said to be bulging with books. On the phone the earnest young man claimed there were 10000 or more academic books from three generations of nuclear scientists, economists and religious scholars. There were less than 500 rather dull books which we suggested they donate. We had bought 200 'flats' in readiness - 'flats' are the technical term for boxes that have not been made up.

On the subject of eventful calls, our now ennobled colleague (noted earlier for doing a house call during an orgy) found himself getting arrested during another house call. His patch was South London - which explains it. He was at the appartment of some fallen posh boys, like something out of 'Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels'. He was up a ladder looking at some pretty decent leather bound sets (not just Scott, but Wilkie Collins, Hardy, Le Fanu, Gissing etc.,) the last gasp of a country house library. Suddenly the police burst in and arrested the half dozen upper class layabouts and hauled them off with our friend who was ordered to come down off the ladder and shut up. He protested vehemently about having nothing to do with it all. Later that day he was released with an apology, his father being some kind of Q.C. Apparently the lads had been importing hashish from Morocco. He never got the books.


A great rival in the auction rooms and occasional on house calls was the late great George Jefferies whose family had run a bunch of book stalls on Farringdon Road, London for most of the 20th Century. There is a photo of the stall in Mary Benedetta's THE STREET MARKETS OF LONDON (John Miles, London 1936--photos by Moholy-Nagy and worth about £300 nice in jacket, half that for lesser copies sans jacket.) George always paid cash and cleared the books in sacks which didn't do them much harm but certainly didn't improve them. The perfect size for a box is a matter of some dispute but I can report that the former ABAA president Peter Howard (of Serendipity in Berkeley) has his boxes made up specially and they are 'double wall' and 16 by 9.5 (deep) by 12.5 inches; he is also very keen on sturdy grocery bags with string handles and once moved shops using only these bags. We are of the 18 by 12 by 10 school. A former president of the British ABA eschews boxes entirely and loads the books in phalanxes in the back of a large estate, claiming you get more in that way. The debate continues...

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

The perfect box is 18 by 12 by 8. Any more and they get heavy, any less is inefficient. If you only dealt in paperbacks you could have bigger boxes. If you dealt only in art books you might have to rethink the whole thing. Gertrude.

manoj said...

A delightful children's book. Ride, Willy, Ride! is a Follett Beginning-To-Read Book dated 1970. It tells the story of a young boy riding his horse faster than anyone and saving the day. This book is in great condition- the front and back covers are slightly worn, the pages are in excellent shape.
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Dinesh

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A White Bear said...

This film arose from his deep passion over drug addiction that touched is life well ripped into his life, like addiction always rips into families and he decided to try to do something about it. Although he is not a film maker he owns a health food company, he pointed out some painful truths about our including my homes in Happy Valley, that our low crime rate, masks one of the Highest prescription drug abuse rates in the country double the national average, the an average of one teenager a week dies of an overdose.
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Shakira

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mikesmith said...

A fabulous children books, you providing all having to readers. Nice movie image too.
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Mike
MLS

Anonymous said...

Tossers to a man