One Solid $9 Investment

A few months ago, I read The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession by Allison Hoover Bartlett.  It’s the true story of John Charles Gilkey, who loves rare books so much that he steals them.  Gilkey doesn’t want to read the books, he simply wants to have them and since he cannot afford them, he steals them, he commits credit card fraud, he creates new identities… just to take possession of rare books.  Gilkey is a repeat offender and has been to prison more than once because of his obsession. As far as a book review, I didn’t care for the author’s writing style but it’s an interesting story.

I have always loved old books; the way they smell, a name written on the inside cover long ago, and the beautiful book jacket art. Reading The Man Who Loved Books Too Much spurred my interest in searching for first editions when I am in antique stores and I’m in antique stores a lot.

Over Memorial Day weekend, Deren and I went into an antique store in Bend, Oregon. The shop was a jumble of old jewelry, clothes, knickknacks and books. I saw a copy of The Caine Mutiny with a colorful dust jacket. I’ve never read The Caine Mutiny nor have I seen the movie. I didn’t know that it was written by Herman Wouk. I didn’t know it is set in WWII. I didn’t know it won the Pulitzer in 1951. The copy I found is in impeccable shape. It doesn’t look like it’s ever been read and it is a first edition. I picked up the book and had Deren plop down the $9 asking price and stuck it in my purse and we continued on to a restaurant for lunch.

Upon returning home, I looked up my literary find on and this website. The copy on alibris is selling for $1995 and you can see the range of prices on the other link.

OK, so it’s not a Picasso from a garage sale but it’s still pretty cool. I think I’m gonna sell it. Right?

Not bad for $9.


38 replies to “One Solid $9 Investment

    1. I have it wrapped up and put away but I took it out the other day to look at it. I need to find my camera’s battery charger so I can take photos to send to the appraiser I found.

  1. Awesome. I am book obsessed so I probably wouldn’t sell it, unless I really needed the money or something lol. But what a cool find! nice job!

    1. I can use the money and I am book obsessed but this isn’t one of the books. If it were To Kill a Mockingbird or Tale of Two Cities, I’d be a mess!!!

  2. What a cool story!
    I read this book in school and thoroughly enjoyed it. Maybe not $2000 worth though… so I would probably sell it too. Haha.
    What a great find!

  3. I’ve never read it either, but I remember seeing the movie (or at least parts of it) a long time ago. My mother loved the movie. That is such a cool find. Don’t sell it, it’s so cool to have and say you paid $9 for it!

  4. I love old books. Well, any books. I just like the look of them on my shelves 🙂

    I would probably sell it, to be honest…that’s a lot of money and if you really love the story, you can buy a new copy with a portion of your profit 🙂

    1. Thanks it was fun while it lasted but I just found out, it’s a Book of the Month club edition so worth nothing 😦 At least now I feel free to read it!

    1. Thanks but I found out it’s not a first edition, it’s a Book of the Month club edition 😦
      I just voted for you on Yeah Write, I really loved the post you submitted this week.

  5. Ahh first editions. . . You remind me of Selden and Percy Gryce with his Americanna. 😉

    I do love the book though! Yesterday my beau bought a first edition of T.E. Lawrence’s Revolt in the Desert (the book that Lawrence of Arabia is adapted from), and it has a great cover and nice pictures. I wonder how much that is worth? He paid $15. I’ll have to pop over to that website!

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