One Friday Morning 08.12.11

Note: Many thanks to Gail Shields and Karen Shinn of NASMM member, Downsizing Diva! in Ontario, Canada, who told this story in their most recent company newsletter. I enjoyed it, and wanted to share it with you.

All about books . . .
No person who can read is ever successful at cleaning out an attic.
    ~ Ann Landers

We’ve been helping people organize, downsize and move for over 10 years. After all this time, there are two things we can count on: 1)  At some point in the conversation, every client will tell us they are “overwhelmed.” & 2) Every client will have books!

This is Karen’s (Downsizing Diva! Karen Shinn’s)
Freddy the Pig book-downsizing story:

This particular story begins at a contents sale (estate sale) in 1983. That was where I saw the entire collection of Freddy the Pig books and had to buy them. You see, this vision immediately transported me back to Saturday mornings when my Dad used to take us to the library for story time. After story time, my brother and I raced to find one book to take home and Stu always found the latest Freddy the Pig adventure!

When I saw these books, I figured Stu’s daughter would be interested in reading the same books her Dad had read all those years ago. Besides, the books were a bargain at four for a dollar! Total purchase price: five dollars!

Unfortunately, Stu was not as excited about my book purchase as I was, so the books remained at the back of my bookcases for nearly 20 years.

It was June 2002,  and I was clearing my bookcases and came across the Freddy books again. Now, it was time to do something with them, but what?

As luck would have it, I was meeting a friend, who worked at a children’s bookstore, for dinner. When I asked Elaine about my books, her only question was, “Is there anything special about the books?”

Not sure, but when I returned home, I checked all the books again. What a surprise to discover most were FIRST EDITIONS, many had ORIGINAL DUST JACKETS, and some were even SIGNED BY THE AUTHOR!

My goal now was to find out if these Freddy books had been a sentimental purchase or, by some fluke, a shrewd investment. First things first! I created an inventory of the books — title, condition, dust jacket, signed, first edition!

Then it was time to take the books to a used book store for an appraisal. After a long examination by two book experts, they made me an offer. “One thousand dollars!” Of course, I said there were others involved and I would have to check with them before selling the books.

It got me thinking . . . my Freddy collection just might be worth something!

Next, I searched the internet and stumbled upon two sites – one was a “Friends of Freddy” website and the other was AbeBooks, a company selling books online. AbeBooks, a Canadian company, is an amazing resource to give you an idea of the value of any books you might have. www.abebooks.com

I checked all the listings advertising Freddy books for sale and emailed my “Freddy Inventory” to about 40 dealers and waited. After a few weeks, I received two emails, each asking how much I wanted for the books. I did not respond.

Several months later, I received an offer of $4,000 for the books. I was in the process of drafting an email saying “Yes, I’ll sell!” when I received another email from one of the two people who initially had responded to my AbeBooks search. When I told them someone had offered me $4,000 for the books, they immediately counter-offered with $5,200. I was flying!

The $5,200 cheque arrived in the mail in July 2003. I immediately packed the books in bubblewrap and shipped them to their new owner. My purchase had turned out to be a shrewd investment: I had turned a $5 purchase into $5,200 cash, and I also had one heck of a story to tell!

Thanks again to Gail and Karen of Downsizing Diva!
for today’s One Friday Morning post.

2 thoughts

  1. ABE book search is a wonderful site! I always use it when I think a book may be of value. When downsizing a client recently, I found her collection of Junior League cookbooks and discovered that one was worth $4,300 and others were of high value too. It never hurts to put some extra effort into quickly looking up book titles at this website. Great story, gave me cause to chuckle.

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