Thursday, March 30, 2006

Ripped off by Oxfam

I have just been reading Chase me Ladies and he gives a quote by PG Wodehouse about ‘Gone with the Wind’ :"After an eternity of it, they fell into the embrace, and I was just reaching for my hat when damned if they didn’t start a whole new story".
Which reminded me that living so close to Hay on Wye, Town of Books, I did once dabble in collecting. I once came across among the old books in Oxfam a thickish hardback covered in wrinkley brown paper with ‘Gone with the Wind’ written upon it in a spidery ancient hand.
I opened it up to find that it was a 1st edition. Whoever priced the book knew it was a 1st edition too because they had written it in pencil on the inside cover and alongside it the price, £5. I knew that the price of a first edition ‘Gone with the Wind’ was at the time about £300 because I took ‘Book & Magazine Collector’. Should I tell them to reconsider the price it was a charity after all?
I glanced shiftily over my shoulder adopted a casual pose and bought it in silence for £5. Maybe I might send them something when I ve sold it on – perhaps.
Rushed back to the car and drove the 8 miles home.
Carefully removed the wrinkly paper and found that the wrinkley paper wasn’t to protect the book but more to hold it together. The spine was badly damaged.
But it was a first edition after all, I hunted out the relevant magazine. Yes there it was, £300 in very good condition ran my finger down the various categories of condition until I came to , “Poor £4. “. Ripped off by Oxfam!


Caerphilly said...

Hay on Wye........ I have thought of retiring there if I have to return to Blighty at all. I lived for many many years in Hereford and only stopped visiting in 2000 when mam passed on. Each time I was at home we went on a couple of pilgramages - one to HoW for me to scour the bookshops for 1st edition New Naturalists (now a rip off, silly prices; British Warblers, hardback GBP1,000) and the other to the Hawk Conservancy at Newent where Jemima Puddleduck-Jones holds court. Happy memories.

MacDuff said...

Hay on Wye is being built upon now.
The eccentric self proclaimed King of Hay, Richard Booth has had a stroke and doesn’t seem quite so active.
Likes Garage gone, Grant and Co the Newsagents where I once saw an intriguing advertisement which read. ‘ Brownies Uniform for sale – would suit large brownie’, now gone following the death of John Grant. The ‘Literary Festival’ attracts a lot .
Bill Clinton was performing here a year or so ago – I wont say the obvious .
More interestingly Stephen Hawking gave a lecture/talk which I attended and it was an eerie cyborg like performance.
You soon get sick of the purely literary stuff like eating 3 bars of Caramac when before taking the first bite of the first bar you already know it’s a sickener and a waste of valuable appetite.
I would imagine Hay on Wye is now well and truly fashionable but I don’t go there much as it is a job to spot the original inhabitants these days.