The day after the last book sale ended, and for 365 days afterwards, preparation for this year’s 37th Annual Book Sale has been steadily moving forward.
Toni Earnshaw, one of the book sale volunteers, said that the most exciting surprises will be found in the Rare Book Room, where the crown jewel of this year’s sale is a crisply new, signed copy of “The Hunger Games”, which is priced at $2,500. The ladies of the sale mysteriously said, “We cannot divulge how we got the author to sign it, but we did.”
The inscription, which relates to the lottery in the story, reads, “May the odds be EVER in your favor. Love, Suzanne Collins.”
Denise Kaiser, manager of the sale, said, “We have confirmed that it is a First Edition and First Scholastic Printing. The book is in mint condition.”
Earnshaw, an enthusiastic, five-year veteran volunteer of the sale, said, “As far as we know, nothing like this is available for sale to the general public.”
The book was found among others, as the rare books often are. “When we started to get donations, we kept a special eye open,” Kaiser said.
Keeping their eyes open for special books is what it’s all about, according to the volunteers. “The sorters are all trained to see if the books are signed or are first editions. This year we have an unprecedented amount of signed books,” Earnshaw said.
Other books that will be seen in the Rare Book Room include the first six editions of Verve, a literary/art board cover magazine, printed in Paris in 1936-1937. The magazines are filled with intellectual articles and plates of artwork by the most famous artists of that time and are marked to sell for $1,200.
The late fashion photographer Helmut Newtown, best known for his work at Vogue, is represented with a first edition collection of 24 photographs. The collection is priced at $350.
For decorators, the prize might be considered a set of 400 chromolithographic prints that graced the likes of House and Garden, Supplement to the Gardeners Chronicle, and more. The traditional artwork collection could be considered a bargain at $1,000 if the prints were sold individually.
A book entitled, “Meeting Mrs. Jenkins,” was actually written and signed by Richard Burton, whose real last name was Jenkins. The book is about his meeting Elizabeth Taylor. That book was found by volunteer Jean Holms, who said she found the signature because, “I was nosy and I went through it.”
The quirks that make a book valuable can include an extra plate, or misprints, according to Kaiser. Earnshaw said that some of their volunteers have a gift for it, such as volunteer Peter Stern, who, she said, can “sniff out a rare and collectible” that might just be sitting in a box or on a shelf.
After the volunteers have gone through the books, they are all turned over to John Renjillian, who is an antiquarian and the sale’s true expert on books. Renjillian assesses the books and assigns the value.
Even as the list of rare books appears on the website, Kaiser said, “Everyday boxes come in, and sometimes we’ll find a gem mixed in with ordinary books you would overlook.”
With the sale just a week away, the 75 volunteers that it takes to prepare and run the sale are working diligently and with good cheer. The books will soon be brought to to fill the gymnasium and cafetorium, the hallways will be filled with LPS and sheet music. A collection of approximately 1,000 opera LPs, hundreds of them signed by the artists, will also be available.
“This is a 365-day-a-year project because the books never stop coming. There will be over 120,000 books, CDs, LPs, puzzles, and more. While we are selling books, people will be here at the library, donating them,” Earnshaw laughed. “When we are finished with the sale, we come back the next day to a roomful of donated books.”
The Book Sale benefits the and runs from July 14-18. On the weekend, the hours are from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Admission is $5 on Saturday only. Numbered admission tickets go on sale Saturday morning, July 14, at 7 a.m.