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06-15-2007, 09:47 PM
Posted By: <b>Max Weder</b><p><br /><br /><a href="http://cgi.ebay.ca/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=280113971328&ssPageName=STRK:MEWA:IT&ih=018" target="_new" rel="nofollow">http://cgi.ebay.ca/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=280113971328&ssPageName=STRK:MEWA:IT&ih=018</a><br /><br /> From ABE<br /><br />Constitution and Playing Rules of the National League of Professional Base Ball [Baseball] Clubs. Official -1876 [The founding document of Major League Baseball]<br />National League of Professional Baseball<br />Bookseller: Gordon Hopkins Americana<br />(Yardley, PA, U.S.A.) Price: US$ 65000.00 (!!! Added by me)<br />[Convert Currency]<br />Quantity: 1 Shipping within U.S.A.:<br />US$ 3.50<br />[Rates & Speeds] Add Book to Shopping Basket<br /><br />Book Description: Reach & Johnston 1876, Philadelphia 1876, 1876. Original Wraps. Book Condition: Very Good. First Edition. 16mo - over 5" - 6" tall. 48p; Extremely rare and historically important, original 1st edition of the 1st publication of the National League of Professional Baseball Clubs. This is one of only a handfull [4 or 5] of original examples of one of the rarest and most important 19th century Professional Baseball publications. Published by Reach and Johnston shortly after the meeting of the baseball teams that would form the National League, and only weeks before the start of the first National League season. This pamphlet has 48 pages, with 6 pages of pictorial advertisements for baseball uniforms, bats, hats, shoes, bases, baseballs [both Dead Balls and Reach's New Double Ball], etc. The first 24 pages are the first printing of the Constitution of the National League, followed by 18 pages of the Official "Playing Rules." This is followed by the "Official list of the Officers and Players of [the 8] Clubs belonging to the 'National League of Professional Base Ball Clubs' for the Season of 1876." It has been speculated that as few as 200 copies were printed of the founding document of Major League baseball, and 4-5 copies known to exist before this was found recently in northeastern Massachusetts. This is probably the finest condition example: bound in original pictorial paper wrappers, complete and tight. There are no tears, chips, corner loss, or repairs. A piece of baseball history in very good condition. Photos available upon request. Bookseller Inventory # 000568

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06-16-2007, 09:49 AM
Posted By: <b>barrysloate</b><p>That's the world of rare books. They don't like to work with normal profit margins. 500-1000% is standard.<br /><br />A young book dealer in NYC had the same constitution for sale a number of years ago. I inquired about his asking price and he responded 250K!!!<br /><br />I immediately invited him to purchase my entire baseball library, and of course he bought nothing. People call the baseball memorabilia business the Wild West, but in comparison the rare book business is Bonnie and Clyde!

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06-16-2007, 09:54 AM
Posted By: <b>Max Weder</b><p>Barry<br /><br />Just remember to add the $3.50 shipping <img src="/images/happy.gif" height=14 width=14>

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06-16-2007, 10:29 AM
Posted By: <b>barrysloate</b><p>For 250K you need to hire a Brink's truck with two armed guards!

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06-16-2007, 10:37 AM
Posted By: <b>Joseph</b><p>AbeBooks giveth, AbeBooks taketh away...<br /><br />Used judiciously, AbeBooks is a wonderful resource. The fact that the "Constitution and Playing Rules..." is listed there is great. I can't tell you how much $$ that web site has saved me by showing what is common.

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06-16-2007, 11:35 AM
Posted By: <b>Corey R. Shanus</b><p>Some people seem to operate under a selling philosophy akin to throwing as much mud as possible at someone in the hope that some of it will stick. As applied to selling rare items where it takes a fair degree of knowledge and expertise to know a reasonable price, the strategy is to pick some stupid number in the hope someone will counter at a much much lower price (perhaps even offered as a polite way of rejecting the initial offer). Then lo and behold the seller will accept the "counteroffer". I actually did this one time many years ago when I offered to sell something to a dealer. The dealer, it seems, had recently rigged an auction which resulted in a card selling for literally 10-15 times (it sold for $33k) what people thought it was reasonably worth. About a month after that rigged auction I had a rare card I wanted to sell. I thought it had a retail value of $4k. I offered it to the same dealer for $25k, arguing that it had to be worth around that given his $33k sale of a month ago. He of course knew the auction was a sham and therefore could not pay me anything close to my asking price. However, not wanting to lose face and therefore giving some BS reason how my card differed from the one he auctioned, he said the best he could do was offer me $7k-$8K. He obviously felt there was no way I would go down from $25k to $7k-$8k. So you can guess what I did. Without hesitating I told him I would take the $8k and I would ship the card to him that day. I then quickly got off the phone, not wanting to give him a chance to rescind his offer.<br /><br />

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06-16-2007, 12:39 PM
Posted By: <b>Joseph</b><p>Corey,<br /><br />Finish the story! Did the dealer come through with the offer?<br /><br />Thanks

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06-16-2007, 12:40 PM
Posted By: <b>barrysloate</b><p>Corey- the book trade can be particularly galling.<br /><br />There is a major rare book company that advertises nearly every Sunday in the New Times Times Book Review section. They always have an offering of several dozen rare books, all with very flowery descriptions. Recently they had a 1911 Spalding's America's National Game. As many know this is a book that is fairly easily found in our hobby, and a nice copy is typically $300-400. Their asking price was $2800.<br /><br />Now I don't mind marking something up aggressively, especially if you have well heeled clients. But do others agree with me that there is something unseemly about gouging unsuspecting customers to that degree?<br /><br />And if you had a copy to sell them, I've been told they might pay you $400 for it on a good day. It's a free market and you may ask what you please, but there is a point where I feel ethical considerations come into play.<br /><br />Edited to add Joseph, I know the story and Corey's customer bought it.

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06-16-2007, 10:50 PM
Posted By: <b>leon</b><p>I usually go by fair market value in pricing stuff. If someone asks me what I paid for something I generally will tell them $1, now do they want it or not? Not being mean on that but fair market value, maybe a little more, is the way things should be priced, imho. If things are priced way too high they won't sell. Way too low and you will lose money overall as some things you buy you will lose on... I do think a seller has the right to ask what they want to..and I have right to say "no". I know we may differ a little on this but that's (note apostrophe and "apostrophe" spelled correctly) how I feel..I have always said if everything on my website were priced too low there would be nothing there. Since I do sell cards every week I must be close. The things that don't move are either museum pieces (not intentionally) or I lower them........you asked....best regards

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06-17-2007, 08:12 AM
Posted By: <b>barrysloate</b><p>Hi Leon- here's where we do disagree.<br /><br />The people who look at your website are fairly sophisticated collectors. Some may be more so than others, but they have the general idea of the market. And if you want to price some of your material aggressively, then I do agree a buyer has the option to play or pass.<br /><br />But when a rare book dealer prices a Spalding book at $2800, his target audience is the collector who has absolutely no idea what the book is worth, and is trusting the reputation and expertise of the seller. If 100 advanced baseball book collectors saw it at $2800, not a single one would pick up the phone to inquire about it. But for a wealthy collector who is clueless, that might sound like a reasonable price for a 100 year old book.<br /><br />When your business model is based on taking advantage of people with a lot of money who don't have the time or interest to check and see what something typically sells for, I think there is a major ethical question.<br /><br />Do you think if a share of stock XYZ trades for $20, Bill Gates would have no trouble paying $150 a share because after all, he has the money and he is a busy man?

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06-17-2007, 08:30 AM
Posted By: <b>Corey R. Shanus</b><p>I agree that the ethics exhibited by the book dealer in the example you describe are putrid. However, throughout the collectibles universe the adage has to be don't do something unless you either have the expertise to know a fair price or have consulted someone who does and who has no economic interest in what you do. Collectibles is a microcosm of the business world in general, where there will always be no shortage of unscrupulous people and where the only real protection is knowledge. A collector looking to put together a collection of anything will in the end pay too much for many items as well as buy a few fakes if he/she relies exclusively on what the sellers are saying. So if a well-heeled individual ends up paying multiples more for a Spalding book than it is reasonably worth, I would say the lack of ethics exhibited by the seller is matched by the abundance of stupidity shown by the buyer.<br /><br />Edited for spelling (thanks Barry)

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06-17-2007, 08:48 AM
Posted By: <b>barrysloate</b><p>We are in 100% agreement (except for the spelling of microcosm). But here's a question I have. Suppose I am interested in the book, and I call the seller and ask the following: I would like to purchase the book, but I have never seen it before and just want to know if $2800 is a reasonable price for it? How does the book dealer respond?

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06-17-2007, 09:07 AM
Posted By: <b>Max Weder</b><p>Barry<br /><br />There have been a number of occasions where I have inquired about the price of the book, and the bookseller's reaction has been to raise the price of the book, after I have passed on the first price as already being too high.<br /><br />That particular practice completely baffles me.<br /><br />Max <br /><br />

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06-17-2007, 09:48 AM
Posted By: <b>barrysloate</b><p>Max- I truly believe that the rare book business is among the most disreputable I have ever seen. It's all about the fact that most buyers have no idea what a book's true market value is, and that very busy and very wealthy people buy the most expensive books.<br /><br />The one thing that escapes me is let us assume somebody buys the Spalding book for $2800, grows tired of it, and then a year later puts it up for auction. When it then sells for $400, exactly what does that do to the long term relationship between buyer and seller?

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06-17-2007, 10:30 AM
Posted By: <b>Jason Mishelow</b><p>I think that one of the book trades major advantages is really what I will call geographic supply problems. I live in Milwaukee WI a mid major city. I have pretty much exhausted all of the bookseller within a 100 mile radius- and didn;t find much there in the 1st place. None of the sports seller in my area carry and books and no shows have a signifiacant selection. Therefore my only option is a bookselling site like ABE. I am really at the point that if I would want to buy I either find an undiscovered gem, I overpay or I just hope that something shows up on EBAY. I think that is how ABE gets away with it- for many people if they want the book its the only option <br /><br />Also to follow up on a different but related thread- Max that 1863 book- I think the suspense has grown enough <img src="/images/happy.gif" height=14 width=14>

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06-17-2007, 10:39 AM
Posted By: <b>barrysloate</b><p>Jason- regardless where you live or how much time you have to shop, in the end you want to be treated fairly. We are all willing to pay a little more for something special but nobody wants to get hosed. That just leaves bad feelings all the way around.

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06-17-2007, 10:59 AM
Posted By: <b>Max Weder</b><p>Jason<br /><br />ABE is of course a series of booksellers who upload their inventory. If the price is too high on an item, the buyer simply can choose not to buy. So ABE doesn't "get away" with anything; a buyer has to gain knowledge as to what price should be paid for a book that is offered. There are several baseball books listed on ABE that I would love to have, but the price is simply too high--by a factor of 10 in one case. <br /><br />The baseball book market is also very thinly traded, much more so than cards. When one collector completes his interests, the prices will drop off considerably on subsequent titles. I believe that there are far fewer book collectors entering the market than card collectors.<br /><br />That said, I don't even know if there was suspense over the 1863 title. It's called The Bobbin Boy. No game illustrations, and I can't say there is an abundance of a baseball plot, but there is at least one chapter on a baseball game, and for the price, is worth a pickup.<br /><br />Max

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06-17-2007, 11:21 AM
Posted By: <b>barrysloate</b><p>Max- you remember what happened to the baseball book market when Steve Cummings dropped out. Many book dealers took a direct hit when he left. It is sad how few people collect baseball books, and it is no coincidence that my current auction has 96 lots and all of them are slabbed cards. I used to always have a book section but I gave that up a while ago.

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06-17-2007, 11:37 AM
Posted By: <b>Jason Mishelow</b><p>Now Max- I doubt that this is going to happen often but I have to correct you on one point- The Bobbin Boy is acutal 1860 not 1863. I picked up a copy a number of months ago on ebay for 7 dollars. The baseball content is intersting but I am not sure it is really baseball. It sounds like an early rounder's form. When reading the books baseball chapter you have to remember that the events in the book are recalling the childhood of the character and therefore would have been occuring in the 1820's or 30's. But your right, at 10 dollars it is well worth the pickup if for no other reason it may contain the first example of showboating as the character runs out a "home run" backwards with flips

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06-17-2007, 11:54 AM
Posted By: <b>Max Weder</b><p>Jason<br /><br />The book on ABE is an 1863 reprint edition<br /><br /> The Bobbin Boy or How Nat Got His Learning.<br />ANNYOMOUS.<br />Bookseller: Babylon Revisited Rare Books<br />(East Woodstock, CT, U.S.A.) Price: US$ 10.00<br />[Convert Currency]<br />Quantity: 1 Shipping within U.S.A.:<br />US$ 3.50<br />[Rates & Speeds] Add Book to Shopping Basket<br /><br />Book Description: J.E. Tilton and Co. Boston 1863, 1863. Early Reprint Edition. An adventure novel for young people. With several illustrations. VG boards with edge and spine wear and slight slant to book. Bookseller Inventory # 9945<br /><br />As you can see, prices are soaring on the book, as it is a 42.9% increase over your ebay price <img src="/images/happy.gif" height=14 width=14>

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06-17-2007, 06:20 PM
Posted By: <b>Corey R. Shanus</b><p>Barry,<br /><br />The book dealer will of course not say the price is unreasonable. If he is short-sighted he will say the price is reasonable (then will risk losing his customer should down the road he learn the book's true value). If the book dealer is far-sighted (from an unscrupulous perspective ) his response will be that $2,800 is the price he feels he can get from someone else.

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06-17-2007, 07:17 PM
Posted By: <b>barrysloate</b><p>There is this whole theory that very wealthy people are too busy to shop around, so they don't mind overpaying for something they want. But I don't entirely buy that. Nobody likes to be taken advantage of, especially when they put their trust in someone to do them right.<br /><br />There are many wealthy collectors who will go to a book dealer and request that he put together a significant library for them of first editions, for example. But implied in that request is the hope to be treated fairly. That is what I think is missing when a common book worth $400 is listed at $2800. It's disrespectful to the buyer.

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06-17-2007, 11:44 PM
Posted By: <b>davidcycleback</b><p>There was a Japanese billionaire who duct taped his shoes instead of buying new ones.<br /><br />The opposite end of the spectrum was Howard Hughes who, when threatened to be kicked out of a hotel, bought the hotel just so he could keep his room.