Member Blogs > Read'Em Again BooksTen Days in Colorado - 18 Aug 2014

  • Mon, 18 Aug 2014 09:08:42    Permalink

    We drove out west a couple of weeks ago and set up at the Rocky Mountain Book & Paper Fair in Denver.  While traveling, we still stop at antique malls to scrounge for “treasures;” it’s a habit from our early years of bookselling that’s hard to break even though we seldom find anything to buy for resale.  That’s partially because we no longer sell the same type of materials that we did fifteen years ago, however it’s also because the establishments along Interstates 81, 64, and 70 (east of the Mississippi) seem to be pretty well picked clean of sellable books and ephemera. 
    Not so, though, while driving through Missouri and eastern Kansas heading to Denver from St. Louis on Interstate 70. I'll bet that we found a large antique mall every three exits or so.  And . . . they appear to have been missed by eBay booksellers.  Lots and lots of children’s series, illustrated books, cook books, and history books that still routinely sell for up to $30 on eBay are available under $5-10, and there are hundreds of different high school yearbooks as well - as far as we know, it's all still there.  Although there wasn’t much in the way of better books, we found a number of interesting ephemera items including a photograph album with around 300 photos of a central Missouri farming family and a piece of Betty Boop sheet music from 1934. 
    The Rocky Mountain Book Fair was a good one for us; probably because we’ve never set up there before.  There was a steady crowd throughout both days of the show, and our sales were very strong.  They were equally divided between booksellers who set up at the show (special thanks to Jeffry Marks and Rob Rulon-Miller), booksellers visiting the show, and regular old civilian customers.  Although most of what we sold was ephemera, a goodly number of books left our shelves as well.  Among the things that sold were a Milton Bradley Panorama from the 1860s, Studor's Birds of America, Walt Disney's Pop-Up Silly Symphonies, and a selection of Ellsworth sheet music.   

     From Denver, we headed south to Colorado Springs and spent a day sightseeing before Gail started the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar on Monday.I never attended the seminar, but I wish I had; it surely would have made my first years of bookselling a lot easier.  I can see why it gets such rave reviews.  The faculty kindly let me audit a few of the classes, and I must say that I learned a number of new-to-me tricks from Dan Gregory’s scanning/photography class and that Brian Cassidy’s block of instruction regarding bookselling finances was right on the money.  Outside of an undergraduate managerial accounting class, he gave the best explanation of turn-over rates and their importance to any business that I’ve ever heard.  Lorne Bair’s class on Pricing & Selling was both fun and cogent, but I don't quite remember what he was explaining about My Little Ponies. I think it had something to do with Dick Cheney, library book sales and heart attacks.    Next up for us is the Baltimore Summer Antique  Show and Book Fair at the Inner Harbor, 21-24 August.  We hope to see you there if you can make it.  We’ll have some nice new acquisitions with us including a 19th magic show broadside, a run of pages from a War of 1812 unit journal, an incredibly comprehensive WWI Officer's scrapbook, a logbook saved from a sailing ship that went down in a storm, and a 1914 poster advertising the Georgia State Colored Fair.  Or, if any of these items interest you, but you can't make it to Baltimore, just send an email to  

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