Thursday, December 6, 2012

"Can" B. Worth - Epilogue - Part Ten

"Can" B. Worth
Epilogue - Part Ten

            Without shadowing a doubt or engaging hesitation, I proceeded to glance my hand off protruding spine end number two; the dark olive green publisher’s cloth octavo with gilt title as “too expensive – drop it”, a brusque and stupid action taken.  I, greedy with optimism, moved my hand to the candy box while mentally configuring a “price attack” position… with equally brusque… and stupid… arrogance.
            “Position”.  (?).  I had discovered the clutch of Maine folding “pocket” maps in the box with NO PRICE or PRICES on any or all with the actual box being shelved to the …far left two shelves down… edge of the “Americana” wall.  I had quick scanned “nine maps”, did not examine ANY and … “KNOW” what all “ARE” to best quick scan “guess”.  “Gut”?  “Gall”?  About half guess, half gut and both of those frosted with …gall.
            “Not priced” can mean not for sale.  It can mean (“too”) expensive.  It can mean both AND a “hard to deal with” “on”.  “About”.  Or “ever”.  Take your pick, combine the options and determine a “price attack” “position”.  Skip the other book and take on this MAINE MOOSE of MAINE MAPS in their box by …grabbing the old Tyrolean’s antlers and wrestling him to his floor until he sputters and chokes “a price” out?   Quick scan gut continuing THESE ARE NOT RARE MAPS.  Commercially well vetted by dealers and collectors of… Maine Maps… the “PROBABLY” is “NO SURPRISES” (of an odd imprinted or historically pivotal rare map) amongst this candy box ACCUMULATION.  That “accumulation” word is gut-gall hedge bet number one.  Number two is “HE” “lucked into them” “over the years” therefore “low if no” cost bases… therefore “found money” possible (gut).  “Not TOO MUCH found money, Sir” (gall).  This “position” is all taking place in HOW MANY SECONDS as… I pass the whole unopened candy box to the old Tyrolean and say only “How much on these?”

            Gump, gump, squeaky chair moves, gump, bump, rolls forward, arm lifts the box cover off revealing a… treasure box load of “golden glow of GOLD” “remembers” “those”:  “OH THESE I HAVEN’T HAD FOR SALE.”  He says.
            “But today they are?”
            “But today?”
            “They are for sale?”
            “Well… NOT
I cut him off:
            “BUT are? …THESE your COLLECTION?
            “Not collection.  But that I found.  Never COULD sell ONE.
            “How much for ALL.”
            “Well… now.  NOT TODAY.
            “I’m here TODAY”.
            “Well… that.  I could let you know”.
            “Not really.  They’re not that rare.  You know that.
            “Yes but… I’ve had them for years.  Adding to it”
            “When WAS the last addition?”
            “Well not recently I KNOW but…”
            “I AM the first one to peek in that box in quite awhile.  YOURSELF included.  Right?”
            “Well, NOW.  OH yes …I guess… is fair.”
            “So TODAY would be a GOOD DAY for a price.  Today.”
            “Some of these are early” he says as he shuffles into the box with his old Tyrolean fingers.  Down at the bottom he stops and withdraws the fingers.

            “SOME of them ARE NOT that early.  Half”.
            “Four Colton’s”.
            “No four”.
            “Five Finley’s?”
            “Oh yes.”
            “Right; nine.  How much?”
            “Nine?”  Then he counts them.  Then he looks up a me from the chair with the box and its lid on his lap.  “I’ve said twenty-five hundred once”.
            “Ok.  Too much”.
            “I know that.”
            “Four.  Five.  Nine.  Twelve fifty”
            “Now wait.”
            “They’re not that rare.
            “Five are”.
            “And four are fifty-sixty.  The five.  What are they?  Thirty? (meaning 1830)”.
            “Thirty-one.  Thirty-two’s”.
            “Twelve fifty today.
            “That’s good enough”.  Whose buying them?
            “Why not SIXTEEN hundred.  For the nine.”
            “Too much.”
            “It is not.”
            “FOUR are TWO hundred.  That leaves FIVE at fourteen hundred.  That’s THREE hundred EACH.  That’s too much”.
            “It’s less than that”.
            “Twenty dollars off.  EACH.  I can’t drive over here for that.”
            “How about fifteen?”
            “Five and four.  Fifteen?  All nine fifteen.”  (Calculated tactful pause).  “OK”.

            He looked up at me from the chair.  The box, with the maps and the lid were on his lap.  He’d just sold that box of maps to me.  Somehow I’d strung a rope across the canyon and bought the box full for fifteen hundred.  It probably took him forty years or longer to gather that accumulation in that box AND… that last twenty years of that time has been just THOSE nine MAPS sitting dormant in THAT BOX on that shelf.  Occasionally, someone would actually be in the room and look in the box?
            “You know.  Carl always wanted those maps” the old Tyrolean said leaning back in the chair.  “He’d never pay the price”
            “Should have” I said.
            “Well.  At first there weren’t as MANY.  He’d want to buy ONE.  But still wouldn’t ever pay the price.  Later on he’d always look in the box to see what had been added.  He DID buy a few maps from me but none of those Maine maps.”
            Click-bang:  Dead Can wasn’t very good at flimflamming a barter.  Manipulation of price by illogical banter strayed from his factually correct professitorial vision … of rare books and the trading of them.

            In quick summary of the purchased lot; they are as has been stated except …that outside of the “rare books and the trading of them” community, “they’re not around”.  Within the rare book community, one may find an “old Maine map” “for sale”.  Otherwise, “they’re not around”.  This lot did not leave the rare book community.  It was never “on the loose” in the market.  Actually all that has happened to it is that the maps have had an “in the community” upgrade that “price attack position” them accurately in the rare book community “at date”.  Otherwise; try and find “one” “on the loose”.  I try to everyday.  And have been for over forty years.  I DO find them, but.. “they’re not around”.

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