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Post Office First Hard Cover #195 - $799 (1 Viewer)

hank solo

Just practicin' steps and keepin' outta the fights
Reaper Crew
Moderator
Founding member
Yes, that's cheap. Would no doubt make more in a PBA type sale, despite the spine.
 
There's been one on Ebay for Buy It Now $1,000 or Best Offer for a long time (gone now). Could have been the same book, with the seller trying a different approach. He rejected a $600 offer from me 2 months ago. Given the recent auction results though, I'm surprised it even went as far as $799 to be honest.
 

Pogue Mahone

Officials say drugs may have played a part
I threw a bid at it, but when it got higher, I dropped. I always think about reselling. And I've read a lot on here about collectors who won't touch a book with that type of damage. If the person bought it to own it for the rest of their life, they're probably feeling very good about the purchase. I would.
 

mjp

Founding member
And I've read a lot on here about collectors who won't touch a book with that type of damage.
That title is probably one of the few exceptions. It's unusual to find it without the faded spine, so new-looking copies tend to bring a premium.
 

bospress.net

www.bospress.net
Yes, clearly the cloth was very sensitive to light. Most people would not have bought a pricey book and then set it in the window. I'm convinced that just normal light is enough to turn these. I think that I have seen one copy without a faded spine.
 

Pogue Mahone

Officials say drugs may have played a part
Yeah, my cock just shrank up a little more than normal... But there will be others and Buk is up there laughing at us anyway...
 
I've not posted for quite some time. Didn't want to deal with all the log-in stuff, etc. But this one got me going. This is evidently the same exact book that was offered at an admittedly cheap price, earlier on. - even with the fading as noted. It would certainly appear that Ohio dealer purchased the book from the New England seller who was offering it at what most would agree was a bargain price - even with the noted flaws.

But clearly the current asking price of the Ohio dealer is way out of line. My hypotheses, thus, are either 1) He/she has some REALLY good shit in the pipe and has managed to develop some reality testing issues as a result; 2) He/she belongs to the P.T. Barnum School of Business, vis-a-vis the "sucker-born-every-minute paradigm"; and/or 3) He/she needs to get up-to-speed with regard to how information travels these days - with remarkable transparency (if one knows how to go fishing in cyberspace) - and rapidity. I could have added, 4) He/she loves this book so much and REALLY DOES NOT WANT TO SELL IT. But we are talking about a book dealer here. So Option #4 is not an option. I cannot help but wonder what Buk's take would been on all of this, if he were among us today. This is truly a surreal stretch of reality (the book, particularly in it's mildly compromised condition MIGHT fetch as high as $1000-1500 from well-heeled collector who with lots of Franklins to burn, and who doesn't give a shit if he/she over-pays by a few hundred bucks).

But at this asking price, one has to wonder. I wind up going back to the #1 hypothesis. Said dealer might wish to consider cutting loose some of that good ganja instead, perhaps...
 
I was intrigued by the faded spine issue, and since I happen to own this limited first, I decided to study my own copy. In the forty years that I've owned this book, I've never bothered to examine the spine for fading. I bought it at Baroque Books, down the street from where I managed a classical sheet music store. $35.00, mint, as Red received it from Black Sparrow. Red did not have it in the window at any time (he never put any of his more expensive books in the window, as he knew about sun damage), and I can confirm with certitude that it went to Baroque Books directly from Black Sparrow. I had had my eyes on that book for at least a year, hemming and hawing because in those days, I had to work an entire day to pay for it. In checking my copy, I see that the spine is also faded. The book is in MINT condition, however; I had a paperback trade edition as my "reading" copy. The attached image shows the pristine condition. I am inclined to think that exposure to ordinary room light caused the fading, because my copy has never seen direct sunlight and has been housed in glass-door book case in a fairly dark room.

I did a quick Google search and found a copy at a local (relatively local) bookstore in Altadena for $3750, from a bookseller by the name of Whitmore Rare Books. I did a little more searching and found another listing from a "Captain Ahab Rare Books." This one is priced at $6250, evidently because the rare prospectus is laid-in. But this one evidenty has "a touch of very faint, scattered foxing." I'm baffled as to why any copy of this book would have foxing, given that it is printed on acid-free paper. Here's their description:

POST OFFICE - WITH THE RARE PUBLISHER'S PROSPECTUS
Bukowski, Charles
Los Angeles: Black Sparrow Press, 1971. First Printing. About Fine in the original acetate wrapper; a touch of very faint, scattered foxing to the upper edge of the textblock and upper board edges, else Fine. This is number 162 of 250 copies signed by Bukowski on the colophon page. This copy comes with the very rare publisher's prospectus, measuring 5.5 X 7 inches, letterpress printed in navy blue and red on light blue paperstock. The prospectus bears a single 1.5 inch tear, and ten unnecessary pieces of tape have been expertly removed from the margins. Despite the flaws, a rare piece of paper which seldom turns... more information
Price: 6250.00 USD

If only Buk could be here to see this astronomical pricing of his book. Same applies to my old friend Red Stodolsky. I don't know what to make of the whole thing, really. There is more than a little irony here. I guess I managed to pick a winner, because I was a regular at Red's store, picking up signed firsts of Bukowski whenever I could manage it. When I ponder all those years that he had to work at horrific dayjobs, until John Martin walked into his life and changed everything...it boggles the mind...

My copy of Bukowski Post Office.jpg
 

hank solo

Just practicin' steps and keepin' outta the fights
Reaper Crew
Moderator
Founding member
That's a nice book you have there Gary.

I think the book dealers you mention are all F.T. Barnums - ie. FULL TIME sucker hunters. Obviously, books like the Post Office 1st HB are harder to find today but still, that kind of mark-up is clearly targeting the well-healed sucker. I'm sure (s)he's out there now, looking for these bargains...
 
I am inclined to agree, unfortunately. I understand that they are in business to make money. But there is a certain line of reasonableness to consider, methinks. Of course, the whole thing gets rather complicated an ugly in the context of our societal malaise - i.e. the gap between the "haves" and the "have-nots" is growing exponentially. And the ironic thing is that Bukowski didn't have an easy time of it, from a financial perspective, for most of his adult life. As he once said (probably more than once, actually): "Nobody suffers like the poor." Fortunately, the "have-nots" have access to his work - just not to the highly collectible stuff. I get this feeling, though, that if Buk were around today, he'd be a bit conflicted about the ridiculous pricing of some of the high spots like the limited first of Post Office. On the one hand, he'd feel vindicated after all the shit he took from his father, and then all those asshole employers, and then the newspapers that rejected him, etc., until finally one very perceptive John Martin changed all of that. And on the other hand, he would likely also be thinking that his stuff doesn't necessarily belong in the hands of wealthy book collectors and/or book dealers who haven't the slightest clue as to what he was really all about. I'm thinking of one of his hilarious poems (or maybe a story?) just now..about some furniture store owner (if my shitty memory serves me) who goes to a concert, probably at the Hollywood Bowl. And waxes happy-poetic about the beginner-melody shit that they serve up over there, year after year. An overfed, over-soft rich boy singing praises of the 1812 Overture amidst a sea of boxed dinners, furs, etc. So there's an interesting conflict/juxtaposition going on. I suppose at the end of the day, it is a nice poetic justice that his stuff goes for MUCH more than the doggerel of all those tidy professors in the hills with their piano playing wives..
 

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