At a yard sale recently a tattered paperback copy of Ernest Buckler’s book, The Mountain And The Valley, was selling for .25 cents; at a sale in the town library the same book, a well-used hardcover book club edition, was half a buck.
These prices aren’t unusual since the books of the renowned Annapolis Valley author have been re-issued over and over in various inexpensive editions. However, if you happen to own the hardcover first edition of Buckler’s, The Mountain And The Valley, you could ask much more for it than the yard sale price. A 10-year-old price list of first issue books showed that the Buckler book was selling for $75. And in the 10 years since this price list was published, this book had undoubtedly increased in value.
Another valuable Nova Scotia book is Marguerite Woodworth’s history of the Dominion Atlantic Railway. This book was published with a soft cover in 1936 and copies are scarce. The Odd Book on Front Street, Wolfville, recently had a copy on its shelves priced at $60.
While I have no idea of the going prices, some of the books of Thomas Raddall are sought after. The limited edition of Raddall’s history of the West Nova Scotia Regiment has increased in value since its release and copies are hard to find. Well, perhaps not hard to find, but try to buy one and see how much luck you have. A local book dealer has a waiting list for this history and a few other books by Raddall.
Other books by Maritime authors may be in the same category as books by Buckler, Raddall, and Woodworth. While they may not be “collector’s items” yet, the early editions of books by Esther Clark Wright may one day be valuable. Bliss Carman’s Low Tide On Grand Pre, especially the edition with his name misspelled, will bring upwards of $250. The edition with Carman’s name shown as “Carmen” was estimated to be worth $3,000 in 1989, which apparently was the going price at the time if a collector was interested.
The first issues of the works of Thomas Chandler Haliburton are unlikely to turn up at a yard sale. If you had an early issue of The Clockmaker you could ask for at least $700 for it and possibly more. In Book Collecting, a book about book collecting by Allen Ahearn, The Clockmaker was listed at $750 in the 1989 edition. The market price is undoubtedly higher now.
While this is speculation on my part, the early editions of books by Sir Charles G. D. Roberts, Will R. Bird and perhaps even Theodore Goodrich Roberts and Clara Dennis will one day be valuable. You won’t find collectible books by these authors at flea markets or yard sales, however.
In a recent letter, Douglas Eagles of Sarnia mentioned an earlier Kings County commercial enterprise called the Boot Island Fishery. He didn’t have much information about the business but Mr. Eagles said that it operated on or near Boot Island.
I’d appreciate hearing from readers who have information about this enterprise or who may have heard about it. Any tidbit you have, confirmed or otherwise, would be welcome.
An E-mail letter from Bev Keddy, Halifax, notes that it would be “nice if all (my) columns on local history could be online for all to enjoy.” Your comments are appreciated, Bev. Hopefully all my history columns will be available on my website in the near future.
Richard Pierik also writes via E-mail. Mr. Pierik is interested in Kings County postcards and Nova Scotia bottles and currency. He has an interesting display on his website at http://www3.ns.sympatico.ca/pierik-connors/page.htm.