Friday, January 27, 2006

Watch Collecting – Dive! Dive! Dive!

The Seiko dive watch stands as proof that collecting watches is not just a pursuit for the wealthy.

Seiko began producing dive watches in 1965 with their 6217-8000 model (also known as the ’62 MAS’), and has kept an unbroken stream of affordable, durable dive watches coming ever since. Popular with soldiers, police, outdoorsmen, office-bound ‘desk divers’, and rock stars as well as divers around the world, the Seiko line of dive watches has become the Toyota Pickup of watches.

Toyota pickup? Known for their value, abundant used parts, and variety of customized after-market accessories, the Toyota pickup was long a favorite for 4WD enthusiasts. The 4-cylinder 22-R engine standard in the Toyota is known for its robustness – lasting for hundreds of thousands of miles.

Likewise, the Seiko dive watch has become a favorite platform for watch collectors wanting a custom look at a realistic price.

The hands-down best online reference for this much collected series of watches is maintained by Kevin Chan at Seiko Divers Reference. A detailed chronology of models, years of manufacture, variations, hundreds of images, and collected knowledge on these outstanding watches can be found there, and it is THE place to check up on that watch you’ve found at auction to make sure it is authentic.

Many of the linked articles on the Seiko Divers Reference are gleaned from The Seiko and Citizen Forum, a place filled with friendly and knowledgeable collectors. The site also maintains a Sales Forum, a good place to start a collection, without getting taken for a ride.

Current model Seiko divers like the base-model SKX007 can be had for less than $150 for Asian market models from vendors like Chronograph.com, and U.S. models like the base SKX173 can be found new or nearly new on sales forums a for less than $200, around $100 less than you might pay at a jewelry store in the mall.


A Seiko 6309 from the ‘80s on aftermarket rubber strap

Older models, like the 1988-1996 7002 series, or the 1976-1987 6309 series can also be easily found in great condition for less than $200 on sales forums. Collecting all but the pre-1975 models won’t set you back much at all.

But like the Toyota, where the Seiko diver really shines these days is in the customization and aftermarket parts department. Bill ‘Yao’ at MKII Watches has become almost synonymous with ‘custom Seiko diver’ (although he is now producing a variety of custom watches). If someone advertises a ‘Yao’ Seiko, you know it’s something special.

A ‘Yao’ customized SKX007 with bead-blasted case and GMT bezel

Likewise, Jack at International Watch Works (IWW) is well known for awesome customization. Jack takes it a step further as well, offering refurbishing and movement servicing.

Both sites have loads of pictures, as do most watch collecting forums these days. Seiko divers provide a great example of the diverse collecting opportunities that can be found even within one series of watches - and they are solid, usable timepieces as well.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Collecting Blog Subscriptions...

I just wanted to drop a quick note here about Bloglines.

I track around 50 blogs, and it would be impossible to keep up on all of those updates using browser 'Favorites'. Bloglines allows you to 'subscribe' to any blog that has an RSS feed (and most do), and allows you to sort, classify, and arrange them. It also indicates when a blog you subscribe to is updated.

Check it out.

Coin Collecting – Installment I

I’ve spent a lot of time on watches and books, and consequently it’s taken longer than I anticipated getting to Numismatics – better known as coin collecting.

Coins are art for the masses. Handled daily, their artistic value is often overlooked. They are, however, one of the last great examples of civic art in the country. Sculpture in miniature, coins are perhaps the only sculpture that most people will ever own.

It’s no secret that the field of coin collecting has really taken off in the past few years, after what was considered by some to be a long period of stagnancy. The front (obverse) of the Lincoln cent has been with us for nearly 100 years – since 1909 – and the back (reverse) of the cent has shown the Lincoln memorial since 1959. The art of the Roosevelt dime has remained unchanged since its debut in 1946, and that of the Kennedy half dollar (ignoring the bicentennial coins of 1976-77) has been the same sine 1964. A good overview of U.S. coinage during the 20th century (though now slightly dated) can be found at Circulating Coin Designs of the 20th Century by Dr. Thomas Fitzgerald.

The mint dabbled at introducing new coins with the Susan B. Anthony dollar in 1979, and the Sacagawea dollar in 2000. It wasn’t until the 50 States Quarters program began in 1999 that Americans saw frequent design changes in their coinage.

The State Quarters program highlights five reverse designs every year through 2008, one for each of the 50 states. The quarters have encouraged millions of Americans to look at their pocket change once again. Capitalizing on the success of the program, the mint has begun to produce new obverses and reverses for the Jefferson nickel with the Westward Journey nickel series. This series consists of two obverse variations, and four reverses, including an homage to the hugely popular ‘Buffalo Nickel’ of 1913-1938.

And it looks like design variation in our coinage will continue. There is talk of a nickel series portraying each of the Presidents, and the future of the Lincoln cent is a hot topic as it approaches its 100th anniversary.

What to collect?

In the past, the most common type of collection has been the ‘series’ collection. In a series collection, a collector tries to gather one example of each year and mint for a specific series, e.g. Lincoln cents. A collector may focus on one series at a time, or may maintain more than one series collection simultaneously, e.g. Lincoln cents and Washington quarters.

Less common is the series-year collection, where the collector tries to collect one example from each year of mintage, regardless of the mint that example comes from. For example, instead of collecting one 2005 Roosevelt dime from each of the mints (Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco), the collector keeps only one 2005 dime. This type of collection is often marketed on cable shopping shows, or in print by coin sellers. It is rare that dedicated collectors are content with year sets.

For some series of coins (and for the hard core coin nut), collectors may choose to collect by die variation. In any given year, a number of dies will be used at an individual mint for a single denomination. The dies are made, used, and replaced with a new die when the old one becomes worn or damaged. A collector who specializes in die variations would want one example from each die, at each mint, for each year! The Morgan Dollar is arguably the best documented series in this regard, and attracts more die variant collectors than any other series.

“Filling holes” in an album for a series may be the most common way to collect, but the new collector shouldn’t be a slave to tradition. The State Quarters program has some people collecting one quarter representing each state, one from each mint (P and D), or the clad and silver proofs as well (more on these terms in the future).

Since 1964, all coins struck for circulation have been clad. Coins before 1964 were predominantly silver. Many casual collectors will check their pocket change for coins before ’64, and keep them regardless of series or condition.

Some collectors do not restrict themselves to coins of the U.S., but gather whatever interests them from around the world. The introduction of the Euro has changed the face of European coin collecting in much the same way it has changed in the U.S. Countries participating in the Euro have abandoned their previous coinage, and all new series have resulted.

Other collectors gather coins with wildlife, ships, or commemorative issues. What you collect is strictly up to you.

I enjoy ‘Type Set’ collecting. In type set collecting, one coin is collected representing each series (or major change in each series). I will collect one Morgan dollar, and one Sacagawea dollar – and so on, for each of the series struck since the U.S. has struck its own coinage. An alternative would be to do the same for each coin minted in the 20th century, for example.

Resources

What does a collector need to know in order to get into numismatics? There are many resources available to aid the beginning collector.

Print

A Guide Book of United States Coins 2006: The Official Red Book by R. S. Yeoman

This is the coin collecting ‘bible’. Updated annually, the ‘Red Book’ contains information on collecting, grading (or determining the condition of coins), and coin values. It is worth every cent of its $10-$15 dollar price tag to the new collector.

Numismatic Art in America: Aesthetics of the United States Coinage by Cornelius Vermeule

Though published in 1971, I believe that this is the most approachable and enjoyable history of U.S. coinage ever written. It details the artists and evolution of coin art, including design influences from countries abroad and designs that didn’t make the cut. Out of print, it can still be found secondhand at places like Bookfinder.com – and finding it will pay off!

Internet

Coin collecting has spawned a massive array of websites, with varying degrees of usefulness.

The obvious place to start is the U.S. Mint. On the Mint’s web site you can purchase the newest minted coins, and find some information on coinage in general.

Other good resources include the web site of the American Numismatic Association (ANA) the largest coin collecting organization in the United States. A good site for links and information is CoinSite, and a series of useful articles can be found at Numismedia.

One word before parting for now – coins are often touted for their investment value. My collections focus on the enjoyment and education I derive from them, because I have found that unless you are a professional dealer, in any collecting field, there is no guarantee that what you collect will appreciate. The best appreciation a collection is likely to see, is the appreciation of the collector, and those who he shares the collection with.

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Thursday, January 19, 2006

Book Collecting III - Focus

As I have stated in previous posts, some authorities on collecting feel that anything short of a collection with laser-like focus on a single subject, which contributes to the scholarship and understanding of a topic, is nothing more than an 'accumulation' of objects. Collector's Progress by Wilmarth Lewis illustrates this approach in the author's pursuit of a peerless collection of material pertaining to the author Horace Walpole.

Other people feel that, while such goal-directed collecting is a worthwhile endeavor, it is pedantic to discount less focused collections. Some people gather what pleases them, without regard to focus, and have no qualms calling it a collection.

I fall somewhere in between. I have many interests, and constructing many 'small collections' of good material on several topics is my approach. I think the key to naming your accumulation a 'collection' revolves around discernment.

Discernment means choosing the best items you are aware of and can afford. As you grow as a collector, the information about what constitutes good material on a given topic matures. Knowing which works are the landmarks and canon of your chosen field comes with time. Knowing what condition is typical for those books, and their values, is acquired knowledge. What you learn in the process of collecting, through mistakes, advice, and research, and how this information guides you purchases - this is discernment. Developing a discerning eye is a side-benefit of thoughtful collecting, and the knowledge gained through the process can become as valuable as the physical collection.

What are my book collecting interests?

The fields I collect are topics which have influenced my life and thought, or those which have sparked my imagination and taught me something about the world and humanity. I call them 'small collections' because the number of items on any given topic may be small, but they are the best works on the subjects that I could identify and afford.

My small collections include:

  • 'Books on Books' and Book Collecting - You didn't think I came up with all this on my own, right?
  • Books on Numismatic art and specifically A.A. Weinman, the art-nouveau sculptor resposible for some of America's most beautiful coins - the Mercury dime and Walking Liberty half.
  • Books on Naval History and the U.S. Marine Corps - An interest sparked by my time as a U.S. Marine.
  • Books by favorite authors: Thomas Merton, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Jose Saramago, Patrick O'Brian and Philip K. Dick.

These may seem like pedestrian interests, and too many topics to collect, but I have tried to excercise discernment to build meaningful small collections.

Another collection I have been building for the past ten years is more obscure, larger, and closer to what purists may call a true collection. These are books by and about the early Methodist Church in America, and the O'Kelly schism of 1792. I say closer to a true collection, because it is an area that is not well travelled, and may contribute to a field of scholarship one day.

In any event, what you collect need not be dictated by the standards of others. The two keys are that you collect with passion, and that you choose your items to the best of your ability.

Will you make mistakes along the way? Purchase 'common' books, or pay too much for them? Almost certainly. But those mistakes are vital to the evolution of a collector, and the knowledge they impart is yours, and it is priceless.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Book Collecting II - A Select Bibliography

My purpose here is to suggest a few books I have read and enjoyed, and would recommend to fellow book-lovers and collectors. As I stated at the outset of my blog, this is by no means exhaustive; it is rather an eclectic selection which I think others will enjoy.

Further, this is not a formal bibliography, but is instead a list with the barest of information that will allow an interested reader to find good books. I invite comments and additions by readers.

The Best of the New

Nicholas Basbanes

The dean of modern bibliophiles, Basbanes explores the height to which book collecting can rise – and the depths to which it can fall.
  • A Gentle Madness: Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes, and the Eternal Passion for Books
  • Patience and Fortitude: A Roving Chronicle of Book People, Book Places, and Book Culture
  • Among the Gently Mad: Strategies and Perspectives for the Book-Hunter in the 21st Century
  • A Splendor of Letters: The Permanence of Books in an Impermanent World
  • Every Book Its Reader: The Power of the Printed Word to Stir the World

Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone

This husband and wife team recount their path into collecting and illustrate waypoints recognizable to evolving collectors.

  • Used and Rare: Travels in the Book World
  • Slightly Chipped: Footnotes in Book Lore
  • Warmly Inscribed: The New England Book Forger and Other Book Tales

Mid-20th Century

Jean Peters (ed.)

  • Book Collecting: A Modern Guide - An expert collection of essays on book collecting.

John Carter

  • Taste and Technique in Book Collecting – With Peters (above), two books no collector should be without

Lawrence Clark Powell

  • A Passion for Books
  • Books in my Baggage

Jack Matthews

  • Reading Matter
  • Booking in the Heartland

David McGee

  • Infinite Riches

The Old School

Charles P. Everitt

  • The Adventures of a Treasure Hunter - An unapologetic memoir of an Americana dealer.

Edwin Wolff and John F. Fleming

  • Rosenbach, A Biography - Bio of (arguably) the most famous book dealer of all time.

Thomas Frognall Dibdin

  • Bibliomania, or Book-Madness: Containing Some Account of the History, Symptoms, and Cure of this Fatal Disease - Book collecting roads lead to Dibdin.

Diversions

Harold Rabinowitz

  • A Passion for Books: A Book Lover’s Treasury… - Excerpts and essays to entertain.

Please include your favorites!

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On the importance of books

I just thought I'd post a quote for all the book collectors out there:


The life of a good book, is far longer than the life of a man. Its author dies, and his generation dies, and his successors are born and die; the world he knew disappears, and new orders which he could not forsee are established on its ruins; law, religion, science, commerce, society, all are transformed into shapes which would astound him; but his book continues to live. Long after he and his epoch are dead, the book speks with his voice. - Gilbert Highet

This view may explain why everyone wants to write a great novel before they die - books are a sure path to immortality.

More than that, the book itself, as a physical object, becomes a primary source of historical insight into the period in which it was produced; from it inferences can be made into the state of the world in another time and place, seperate from the lesson the book is trying to communicate.

I took this quote from A Passion for Books by Lawrence Clark Powell. Powell was a librarian's librarian, book lover, and authority on writing about California and the Southwest. His books are great reading for the book collector, and are in turn collectable in their own right.

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Friday, January 13, 2006

When you can't buy another watch...

There are times when a new collector is between watch purchases. What does a collector do to keep himself busy?

Change the appearance of the watches you have.

The easiest and most popular way to do this is to change the bracelet or band. In order to do this, only one tool is necessary, and it is the first tool any watch lover should buy - a springbar tool.





These two springbar tools are representative of what you'll find out there, and are available dirctly through Otto Frei, or through Otto Frei via the Timezone Tool Shop. The two differ in that the top tool is a Bergeon 6111, a 'top quality' (read, fancier) tool, while the bottom tool is a no-frills Standard Bergeon tool. Both are up to the task, however when buying your watch tools, remember that an investment in quality tools will yeild divedends in the long run; a better tool will last longer.

Most straps and bracelets are held on by springbars. The forke end of the tool is inserted between the neck of the springbar and the case lug, and the springbar is pulled toward the center of the strap until it is clear of the hole, allowing the bar to be removed. The springbars are placed in the new strap, and the springbar is replaced into the lugs. Piece of cake!

There are pictures on all the watch forums of people trying out different watch/strap combos. Some make quite a difference, while the changes in my pictures here are subtler.




A change from a bracelet to a strap can make a watch sportier, and more comfortable in the winter.




Some bands, like the NATO style bands shown on the modified Seiko 007 below, don't require removal of the lugs to interchange straps.


I find my bands at GlobalWatchBand and The Watch Prince. Bracelets can dress a watch up, but are generally a bit more expensive. In addition, a bracelet sizing tool is necessary to adjust new bracelets to your wrist. Otto Frei carries a variety of tools to remove bracelet links, in a range of quality, complexity, and price.
Changing bands is easy, and one of the first customization tasks a collector can pick up. Adding deployants, changing buckles, and similar tasks can be performed with just a springbar tool.
Ultimately, many collectors will chose to learn to change batteries, redial watches, add custom hand sets, and service their own mechanical movements. An outstanding on-line watch school is maintained by Timezine - the TZ Watch School. Those with patience, steady hands, and a driving interest in horology are encouraged to apply!
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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Wristwatches and the disposable society

An interesting poll is being taken at WatchUSeek, namely, are inexpensive mechanicals becoming 'disposable'.

My reply:

Yes and No

I think watches have followed the trend that most consumer products have experienced in the past 10 years or so - we do live (in the US at least) in a disposable world. This applies to all products that have seen a drastic decrease in the cost of production: VCRs, televisions, small appliances - all products formerly 'repairable' but now more cost effective to replace. It also applies to electronics and other items where technology outpaces the useful life of products: digital cameras, computers, and MP3 players, for example - why fix an outdated product?

A very small percentage of the watch-buying community buys mechanical watches. Quartz watches have always been largely disposable. With the advent of low-priced mechanicals, particularly of asian origin, more people are wearing mechanical watches. However, these mechanicals suffer from the same syndrome as the VCR - cheaper to replace than fix.

Where the exceptions occur are with the collector and enthusiast. If an individual sees enduring value in a piece for something other than utility, the watch may be worth fixing.For example, I recently bought a Marathon GG-W-113. An uncommon military watch, the Marathon exhibits an early entry of the company into military watch production, and has design elements uncommon for a watch of its type. It has a case similar to to the UK G-10, unique in US service, and houses a mechanical movement which would soon become obsolete in US military watches. So, although I spent $200 for the watch, I had no qualms in spending $70 to service this interesting watch.



If it were an unremarkable Seiko 5, I would probably not have had it serviced.

So, collector value trumps monetary value for a watch collector. If my collection focused on Seiko 5's, even a watch whose retail is low might become repairable for me, if it is no longer a production item.I do not collect VCRs, so I have no problem with a disposable mindset in that context. But for a VCR collector, who knows?

There are many vintage mechanicals that are out of repair, and are no longer worn. This is due in many cases to the perception of the owner that the style or technical features of the watch have been superceded. In this respect, mechanicals have been disposable for some time. A collector might love to fix them, however.

In the end, I guess the feasability of repair depends on the percieved value of the item to the owner, and is influenced by maitenance cost, but is not solely determined by it.

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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Wristwatch Accuracy and the Penultimate Timekeeper

Watch aficionados - did this happen to you on New Years Eve? Midnight is near, and you set your certified chronometer against your atomic radio-controlled Casio earlier in the day so you'd know WHEN to kiss your date. As the moment gets closer people start counting down - but they are no in synch with your watch. You KNOW your watch is right, so you begin to count down the correct time, trying to get the crowd on your beat. Too late - they're already too loud, and they ring in the New Year a full three seconds early. Peeved, you forget to kiss your date, and another year starts off badly...

Well, it seems people don't care about watch accuracy all that much, even when it counts. Watch collectors are holdouts in this world gone metrologically mad - most collectors have some concept of timekeeping accuracy, and each has their own tolerance for deviance in his or her timepieces. "How accurate should my watch be?" is one of the most common threads on watch collecting bulletin boards, especially among new members.

In an interesting thread on WatchUSeek , a poll was taken asking how accurate members expected their watches to be. It turns out that 70% of respondents felt that COSC standards (+6/-4 sec/day) or a slightly looser +/-10 sec/day was acceptable. A laissez-faire 15% said that +/-30 sec/day was fine, while precisely 4.72% demand atomic clock accuracy.

I fall somewhere in between, finding a 10-20 sec/day deviation in most mechanical watches okay for me. I don't mind resetting my watch every few days. I think many collectors who own several mechanical watches, and who don't keep them constantly wound, will ultimately fall into the easygoing range that I accept. However, in my mind brand new or high dollar watches should produce COSC-like rate results.

Aside from what a collector will accept, what is realistic? Well made mechanicals, using in-house or modified commercial ETA movements, should realistically keep time within COSC standards. However, a buyer should not assume any given accuracy not claimed by the manufacturer; big names do not always ensure that a manufacturer will adhere to the consumer's expectations of accuracy.

Some unmodified ETAs might do as well as a COSC certified watch, and rates for identical models can vary on a watch-by-watch basis. For an ETA or most Seiko mechanical movements, 10-15 sec/day is not unreasonable. In my experience, Miyota (Citizen) mechanical movements are in this range as well, but may vary a bit more on a per watch basis. Timekeeping performance can degenerate over time, and a slow watch is a good sign of a watch that needs service. Performance can also quickly degenerate if the watch is subjected to shock, temperature, or moisture beyond its design limits.

Collectors can find lots of technical information on the ETA SA regarding their movements, but nowhere are any accuracy claims made. The final adjustment and performance of the movement is the province of the watch manufacturer.

Quatz watches are inherently much more accurate than mecanical ones - some collectors like quartz, some don't. The ocillation of the crystal in a quartz watch is many times more regular than any counterpart balance in a mechanical watch; quartz crystals are not subject to positional error due to gravity, and are not subject to rate change due to the winding/unwinding of a spring. They are, however prone to loss of accuracy due to temperature and moisture. Quartz watches are commonly accurate to +/-15 sec/month.

The ultimate timekeeper would be an atomic wristwatch - atomic clocks are so accurate that scientific notation is required to express accuracy. The best a conventional quartz watch can do is link regularly to an atomic clock standard, usually by radio. A quartz watch that loses half a second per day, but re-sets itself to an atomic clock every night, is effectively always on time.

The penultimate timekeeper is the thermocompensated quartz watch. Keeping time within +/-15 seconds a year, without reference to an external standard, these watches are engineering marvels. For the last word on thermocompensation, I would refer the reader to the outstanding article by Bruce Reding at the WUS High-end Quartz Forum.

There are a few ways to improve the accuracy of a watch. As has already been noted, keeping a watch clean and oiled through routine service is a good place to start, but watchmakers and enthusiasts can do more. Adjusting the accuracy of a watch by changing the rate of oscillation of the balance is called regulation. Regulation makes fine adjustments to the rate a watch beats, so that fewer beats are gained or lost per hour in relation to the ideal rate a watch is geared for.

"How accurate should my watch be?" The short answer is 'as accurate as the manufacturer specifies.' Buying a watch and expecting it to perform beyond these claims can lead to heartache. Determine what is comfortable for you, and buy accordingly. Once bought, keep the watch maintained, just as you would your car or any other piece of important machinery. Then, wear and enjoy it!

How does this help us in our New Years Eve scenario? Unless everyone is wearing a radio controlled atomic quartz, or a thermocompensated quartz watch....not at all. Just lighten up and join the countdown with everyone else. Your date will thank you.

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Used Books - As Good As It Gets

My grocery store has placed anti-bacterial wipes near the carts so that shoppers can clean the handles. Restrooms now routinely have trashcans near the door, so people who use paper towels to touch the handles won't throw their trash on the floor. Gas stations near my house now have boxes of plastic gloves for consumers.

It seems that more and more people are turining into neurotics, a la Jack Nicholson in As Good As It Gets. I'm not completely innocent here, but one place I'll surely draw the line is books.

An insightful post on a bookseller mailing list was recently provided by Larry Burdick of Book Oasis . Larry is a top-notch bookseller, and had an interesting encounter with a pair of customers:

I had an interesting experience a few days ago. Some customers had asked me to get them a copy of a Wallace Stegner book. I told them I could certainly do that, and then the husband leaned forward and said,

"It has to be a real book. Not a used one, a REAL one!"

Used books aren't real? What a distinction!

Have we really reached the point in our society where something that's not newly minted or wrapped in shrink-wrap loses all meaning? Or is this a subtext of the shopping mentality? It also begs the question about books and their place in reality!

To my mind, books are the quintessential form of reality. They comprise the thoughts and the feelings of the author. A book is the ultimate form of art, for it is one person's representation of events, experiences, ones which most of us will never do. More to the point, the fact that these same experiences have already affected the life of a previous reader makes them all the more valuable, because we know that the book has a valid effect! It is for this reason that the best books are secondhand!

As to used books not being "real", I would quibble with that as well. To me there is nothing more real than a used book. It has creases on the spine from being held up or folded back during a marathon reading session late at night. There may be a soil mark from a drop of soup during a sickday, or a drip of coffee. Forgotten bookmarks can be discovered between the pages: boarding passes with markings like London or Bangkok; sales receipts from fifteen or twenty years earlier; betting slips; tissues; fragments of torn up Dear John letters; and sometimes even money! A used book is not just the book itself, it represents a portion of someone's life, someone whom you will likely never meet face to face.

Added to which, the average run of a book in print these days is about two years, meaning that most of the books you see for sale in new bookstores won't be there for long. They will soon make the run of their scheduled printing, pass through hands of friends and families in a few years, and be relegated to secondhand bookshops. But at that point they will be carrying the creases and marks of loving hands, and carry in their pages the aforementioned cards and slips which will tell silent tales of passage around the world before landing on the shelves of a used bookstore.

In closing, I'm reminded of the story of the Velveteen Rabbit, who insists that he is 'real' because the little boy who owns him says he is. At the end, the stuffed toy has absorbed so much love that he achieves reality. In a like fashion, the books which pass through our own hands build up a sort of "charge" by virtue of the stories they tell, and the interest they build up in those who read them. A sort of "dry cell" effect, if you will. Brand new books don't have a charge, because they haven't interested anyone, yet.

So, if you want a REAL book experience, buy a used book!


I agree! The reality is, there are far too many books filled with interesting and relevant information that are now out of print, and becoming increasingly hard to come by. Libraries are less the archives of yesteryear and are now 'information resources', where the primary goal is not preservation of books, but 'customer service'. In this environment, the collector is more important than ever; but to have these books saved, someone has to be willing to TOUCH a used book.Categories: