When did I become a “Buy Anything Cheap” guy???

Over the past few weeks, I have been lending a hand at sorting the collection of a rabid fan of the Fugitive Poets and Presidential signed books.  In addition to scouting in these worthy subject areas, the collection, which began over twenty years ago, took on more of a “buy anything cheap” label.  Due to the eventual lack of focus on subject area and the apparent fun the buyer was having, the count of books quickly went from a few dozen to over ten thousand.

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MY JOB in a few short trips up north over the past few months has been to help the family sort the daunting mass of material. 

The piles have gone something like this:

  • Really good stuff that is going to find an institutional home via donation.
  • Really good stuff that we should sell and/or find someone to sell.
  • Really “not bad” stuff that we should sell and/or find someone to sell.
  • Pretty unsaleable stuff, but worthy of use by someone out there
  • Really unsaleable stuff, but worthy of finding a home at one of the big-box book, video-game, cd warehouse type places.
  • Stuff that is free to anyone willing to take it and we’ll pay you for gas if you take a bunch of it.


The list above, and the past few months, have been a stark reminder to get a handle on my own collecting.  As with many dealers out there, the “selling” of rare books and manuscripts just came as a sidebar to my own passions.  At some point, you start to sell in order to feed your own hobby.  While we want it all, we must realize that we just can’t have it all in most instances.

SPECIALIZE, SPECIALIZE, SPECIALIZE…  Just a friendly reminder from the “glass is bone-dry guy”
here at Back in Time.  If you don’t, I may be sorting your collection using the above checklist someday!

As an aside, if you have the time, space and money, who cares…  Do what the hell you like!  You only live once!

Mike Cotter

The Transforming World of Collectible





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