Try going to estate sales when you get a chance, and buy up whole LOTS
of books at a time. You'd be amazed at the stuff tucked away in the
About 9 years ago, I hit an estate sale, bought up a big boxful of old
books (c. late 1800s), which cost me about a hundred bucks. The books
were all leather-bound with gilt covers and spines, in fabulous shape, and the subject matter — the Theosophical Movement — was just arcane enough
that the seller didn't know what he had. So, $100 was a bargain for the lot.
First thing I did with the books was flip through the pages, locating old bookmarks, which can be anything
— people back then used playing
cards, locks of hair, old news clippings, pressed flowers and you-name-it.
I knew I was onto something when virtually all
the bookmarks were 19th Century news clippings about Madame Helena Blavatsky
of Theosophy. Whomever had originally owned these books was, obviously, a member of the early Theosophical Movement.
. In the very back of one book was a twice-folded newsletter
on slick stock, an 1892 publication called New England
(which was a short-lived newsletter dedicated to the Theosophical Movement). The entire contents of the newsletter dealt with the death of
one of the other founders of Theosophy.
Intrigued, I Googled New England Notes
but could find nothing, aside from a link to the modern Theosophical Society, which is based in Sydney,
AU (I think). I contacted them, was referred to their library, and spoke to the keeper of their archives. After a little back-and-forth, confirming
dates and publication info, I was informed that, apparently
, I was in possession of the only known surviving copy
of New England
And they wanted it. Bad. They meekly suggested that I donate
this one-of-a-kind document to their library.
However, having not fallen off the turnip truck within the previous 24 hours, I made them an alternative offer — I would provide them with modern
reproductions of the newsletter, in both BW and color output, with the stipulation that I be given credit for the find.
They somewhat reluctantly agreed.
So, I'm still in possession of the last surviving New England Notes
, the Theosophical Society has copies of it in their archive, and — as I
expected — I've been approached several times over the years by members of the Society, offering to buy the thing from me. The price keeps going
up, by the way — not because I'm raising the price, but because they keep offering more and more for it.
Someday I'll let it go, but for now I'm just waiting for the price to level out.
— Doc Velocity
[edit on 6/8/2010 by Doc Velocity]