Member Blogs > Read'Em Again BooksIt's Been a Busy Three Months - 22 Nov 12

  • Mon, 24 Jun 2013 05:56:30    Permalink

    Its been a number of weeks since I last posted anything, but that isnt because nothing has been going on around here.  Rather, its been just the opposite. 
    First, after running the Marine Corps General Alfred M. Gray Research Center for the last fifteen of years and totaling over almost forty years of combined military and civilian service, I decided to retire.  It was surprising how time-consuming the retirement process was; not all that difficult, but it did require a considerable amount of information to be gathered, telephone calls to be made, accounts to be transferred, forms to be filled, and signatures to be signed.  At last all the red tape has finally been snipped away, and I have to say, it feels great to no longer put on either a uniform or coat and tie in the morning, not to be tied to the job for ten to twelve hours each day, and--most importantly--to be responsible only for myself.

    In my much younger days as a Company Commander in the 3rd Infantry Division, no doubt watching something unravel

    Anyway, while I was churning through the retirement process, the tenants of a townhouse I jointly own with my daughter, decided to skip town after falling behind on the rent.  They were nice people, but the breadwinner wife had to leave to take care of her sick mother in New York, and her husband and sons sort of fell apart without her there.  Unfortunately they left the place filthy and pretty well trashed.  
    So, Ive been well occupied repairing and cleaning the place, and have finally gotten it back in tip-top shape with an almost entirely new kitchen and flooring.  Although, I have a tentative tenant, the lease isn't finalized yet, so if anyone is looking for a great rental in the DC area, let me know, and if the current plan falls through, I'll be in touch.
    Additionally, the book business has been busy too.  I spent some time finalizing a deal with The Mariners Museum in Newport News for my Civil War journal by the paymaster of the USS Wachusett documenting the entire Peninsular Campaign from a Navy officers perspective.   Ive also done a bunch of shows: a book fair in York, Pennsylvania, antique shows in Gaithersburg, Maryland and Virginias Shenandoah Valley, and the DC Big Flea near Dulles Airport.  Sales were good, not great but certainly better than simply acceptable, and many of the things I sold had been gathering dust for months including a first, but dampstained, hard-cover printing of the Gettysburg Address, some Civil War correspondence, a scarce Baldwin locomotive photo reference, and a couple of Kobonusha fairy tales.  I even sold my carpenters toolbox that one of these days will probably make it on screen in an episode of Market Warriors.
     To cap off the year, last weekend I journeyed up to Boston to set up a small booth at the shadow show (officially, the Boston Book, Print,and Ephemera Show) and, boy, was it worthwhile.  
    Marvin Getman really had things organized.  Load-in and pack-out were both easy and smooth.  He brought in the customers too.  I've never done this show before, but I understand that the crowd was triple the size of the one last year.  People bought too, and sales were terrific.  I was nearly overwhelmed by a tidal wave of customers shortly after the show opened on Saturday; at one time I counted over fifteen people jockeying for position in my little space.  Of course, most of my high dollar business was with ABAA dealers who spent the morning with us before heading back for their noon opening at the Hynes Convention Center, but I had several good institutional sales as well as quite a few purchases from individual collectors.  Some of the nicer things that sold included a dust-jacketed set of Catlins North American Indians, a beautiful copy of the Savoy Cocktail Book, a WWI photo album documenting the training and operations of one of the first American units to land in France, several Meggendorfer and Kubasta movable books, and some Houdini ephemera.     So now Im taking a short breather for the holidays.  No shows until after the first of the year, but I have a stack of things to put on-line, and Im looking at setting up a permanent booth at one of the nicer antique malls in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

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