Ballpoint Blues…

A couple of posts ago I mentioned that I picked up a copy of Heinlein’s The Menace from Earth.  I paid $175 for it plus another $40 for insured shipping.  On the face of it, it’s not a bad price to pay for the second most desirable Heinlein title (if average price is any indicator) from the GP stable (Methuselah’s Children seems to be the most sought after GP Heinlein).  All looked good, and I was quite satisfied with what I paid.  Unfortunately a ballpoint pen had been applied to the front of the dust jacket.  The vendor never mentioned this and it wasn’t apparent in the image supplied.  In fact the description stated “There is no previous owner’s name or mark anywhere in or on the book or dust jacket.”  When in actual fact there is the pen on the front, and also there is a previous owners name on the front free end-paper.  Check out the cover.  First, the image as seen on eBay:

Come to think of it, if I was truly familiar with the cover image, I should have picked up the errant markings.  Now that I know they are there, I can see them well enough.  Can’t see the pen marks, but can see where the original ink has been removed in trying to erase them.  Now two pics taken by myself:

Clicking through on my images will get you a big size look.  You can see the markings quite clearly in the image above.  The pic below gives you a real in your face view.

It really annoys me when the vendor either a) doesn’t have a close look at what they’re selling, and for $175 that’s quite irresponsible, or b) chooses not to disclose any and all flaws, which is just plain dishonest.  Not sure into which camp he falls here.

The vendor did offer a full return refund though, including postage.  That’s still no excuse for any oversight or misleading of the customer.  I could just send it back, but I have it now, and I don’t really want to do that.  I’ve been interested lately in the restoration route so I’ve sent it, along with my now two-piece The Porcelain Magician jacket, off to a book restorer in the States.  They are going to give me a quote on restoring them.  Should be interesting.  No doubt the cost might exceed their true worth, but what the hell, it will be an educational exercise.  With regards to the Heinlein title, it might prove to be worth it in the longer term anyway.  I’ll keep you posted on progress…

UPDATE 26/01: I have corresponded with Jerry whom I bought this book off.  We have resolved this to my total satisfaction.  Jerry is jbs15 on eBay.  Jerry is a gentleman of integrity and cares about books and his customers.  Highly recommended.

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4 Responses to “Ballpoint Blues…”

  1. My second favorite author. The cover is amazing. I mean, covers these days are so different, it’s hard to imagine even being able to put a book out with a primitive cover like that anymore. I could make that cover. In fact, it looks like something I’ve drawn before. But I sure as hell wouldn’t try and put it on one of my books. Not that it’s bad, mind you, it’s just how things were then.

    • Actually, I thought you did draw this… But, I personally wouldn’t go so far as to call it amazing, though I do think it is probably the best Van der Poel cover work for Gnome. The evolution of cover art is a fascinating topic as it doesn’t reflect what’s inside the book, but is a reflection of what’s going on beyond the covers. I’ve been working on a post to this effect for a while now. God knows when I’ll get around to finishing it of putting it up…

  2. I’d be very surprised if Jerry had seen them when he sold the book. The guy is truly very reliable. Still, mistakes happen…
    But you’re right: $175 is not cheap and I’ve seen the book sell for less in better condition. His prices have become too Currey-esque…

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