Missed out…

I hate it when that happens.  I forgot about an auction last Friday.  Actually, I remembered it about 15 minutes after it finished.  The book in question was a copy of The Porcelain Magician, a collection from Frank Owen.

I normally don’t forget these things, and usually set an alarm to remind myself about them.  My iPhone gives me an alert shortly before auctions finish in any case..  On Friday however, things were a little hectic.  Being the native-speaking English teacher at my middle school here in Seoul, I run the speaking tests for the students at the end of each semester.  I develop a test for each class and organize their prep and test classes – it’s a very hectic couple of weeks (two in each semester), and probably my busiest time of the year.  Well, that and developing the English vacation class programs.  But anyway, last week was preparation week and on Friday morning I happened to be running around like a blue-assed fly (a term my dead grandfather used to use…) and the alerts went off in my pocket, but I didn’t notice them.  At least not until I took small break and checked my iPhone.  So I was a little annoyed with myself after that (to say the least) and I still haven’t gotten completely over it.

The reason I was (and are still slightly) upset is that this particular book was in pretty good condition.  There are several GP books that for some reason seem to be notoriously difficult to find in even VG condition, let alone Fine.  This is one of those titles.  Many thanks to the seller who let me use his images here.

You can see that it’s a bit worn and has a couple of small tears.  Foxing and discoloration are quite visible.  Probably in Good condition at best.  It is all in one piece though, and a Brodart (or similar) cover would make a huge difference to the appearance.  A slightly faded spine was mentioned, and though not entirely visible here, from what little is, it doesn’t look to be too bad.  Just on the spine thing, is it just me or have any other collectors out there noticed that a few GP titles have a chronic problem with faded spines?  I mean it’s next to impossible to find a copy of either this, Castle of Iron, Pattern for Conquest or Minions of the Moon without at least a little, if not significantly faded spines.

Anyway, I would have been prepared to go as high as about $50, but there was only one bid, and it went for the starting price of $19.50.  This is, I think, an excellent buy for this title in this condition.  Congrats to the winner.  But it would have been mine if not for my lapse in attention….


3 Responses to “Missed out…”

  1. You shouldn’t have any regrets about this one. I don’t think it looked like a particularly attractive copy of this title. Jacket seemed to have more issues than you seem to deem acceptable and book looked soiled. I’ve seen much better… additionally, I found it a dreadful read… Never could finish it. 😦

    • Hehe… I’m not concerned about the read.
      I’m at a disadvantage over here in Korea. I have few options for picking up these books. I basically have only eBay and online dealers as sources for these books. On eBay, it’s pot luck as to what comes up and I’m in competition with other collectors like yourself. The dealer route is generally overpriced, sometimes a lot overpriced. This copy represented a fine price for this title in reasonable condition for me.
      It’s very frustrating at times that I don’t really have the opportunities that residence in Europe and especially the States can sometimes provide.
      But on the other hand, I probably have the biggest Gnome Press collection in all of Asia. Certainly here in Korea… 🙂

  2. I know there’s another pulp collector in Singapore, (ebay id marcuscpgoh) and he sometimes sells vintage hardcovers…not that it’s that close to you but…
    Believe me there’s absolutely no advantage whatsoever in living here for that kind of hobby. I had never seen a pulp “in the flesh” and didn’t know what specialty press meant before there was the internet…
    I think the last shop which dealt in vintage science fiction in London even closed its doors about 2 or 3 years ago…
    On one of the yahoo groups I’m following about pulps, there was a discussion lately on how many pulp collectors there are around the world. Most agreed the number is not over 1,000 which I find optimistic. I think that it’s a lot less for specialty press. A couple of hundreds? That leaves some room…
    I tell you, you’ll find a better copy for Porcelain Magician. It pops up once in a while…
    At least you know I won’t bid on this one! 😉

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