In every issue of The Avid Collector, our Expert Booksellers will answer your questions on rare and collectible books. Ask the Experts is compiled in cooperation with Fine Books & Collections magazine.
Q. I can't seem to find the issue points for the first edition of What Makes Sammy Run? a Hollywood novel by Budd Schulberg (Random House 1941). Can you provide some pointers on the first edition? -Bob
A. The first edition should state "First Edition" on the copyright page. There is an issue point on the dust jacket. In first state copies, on the rear panel are printed "Two letters concerning Budd Schulberg's WHAT MAKES SAMMY RUN?" The first letter is from F. Scott Fitzgerald addressed to Bennett Cerf and dated December 13, 1940. The second letter is from John O'Hara and is addressed to "Gentlemen" at Random House. It is dated January 28, 1941. The printed price on the front flap is $2.50.
–Dan Adams, Waverley Books, Santa Monica, CA
Q. I have a hardback book collecting issues of In Ruhleben Camp. It starts with issue 1 (6th June 1915) through to Christmas 1915. What is it worth? I read somewhere it was a rare book. –Patricia
A. In Ruhleben Camp was one of two periodicals produced and printed by the (mostly) British prisoners held at the Ruhleben camp during the First World War. The camp, located near Spandau, Germany, imprisoned civilians from countries at war with Germany. As far as I am aware, ten issues of In Ruhleben Camp were issued, plus a Christmas number for December 1915. There was also an unnumbered Bye-Election issue and a Pantomime Words issue. In Ruhleben Camp was succeeded by The Ruhleben Camp Magazine (published in 1915 and 1917). All issues of these are rather scarce in any sort of condition, and runs are even less common. As with all collectable items, the value of In Ruhleben Camp is determined by condition.
–Geoff Klass, Collectors Treasury, Johannesburg, South Africa
Q. I recently moved and came across Rugger My Pleasure by A.A. Thomson, a book about rugby. When I opened it up, there was an inscription that read, "To PG Wodehouse, With a gratitude the author will never express in a lifetime." It is then signed "A. A. Thomson 21st Nov 55." I am sure it may be worth something, but what? –Millie
A.What you have is called an "association copy," or a book that links two writers. For book collectors, good association copies are among the most prized of books. If you had a book inscribed by the beloved British humorist P. G. Wodehouse to A. A. Thomson, it would be rather valuable. A book presented by Thomson to Wodehouse is somewhat less interesting.
Famous authors regularly receive gifts of books from less well-known writers in the hope of a nice comment or a bit of publicity. The value of your book will depend on how closely linked Thomson and Wodehouse were. Thomson wrote some comic novels that show the influence of Wodehouse, and Wodehouse apparently said that Thomson's book Cricket My Happiness was one of his favorites on the sport. That compliment may be what Thomson is referring to in his inscription. To a Wodehouse collector, your copy of Rugger My Pleasure would be worth somewhat more than an uninscribed copy in the same condition.
–Scott Brown, Fine Books & Collections Magazine
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