Richard Kaufman wrote:
To some collectors having a low number seems to mean something, though I can't imagine why. I think the "low number" mentality is something that has been propigated by sellers of rare books as increasing the value
Richard, I agree with you. The number on a book has nothing to do with the order in which it is produced, i.e., printed, collated and bound. It's possible that the last book bound could be numbered "1". The fact that some sellers hype a low-numbered book is an indication (to me at least) that they think buyers are stupid or gullible.
When I numbered and signed my 200 copy edition of HGCR #1, the very first copy I signed and numbered was "#200" - making copy #1 the last one to be numbered and signed.
To me, a low number only has significance if it is within the range of numbered copies which were somehow distinguishable from the other copies. Case in point: copy numbers 1-25 of Eddie Dawes' The Barrister in the Circle
are more valuable because they were bound in leather. Another example (although not exactly on point) would be Kurt Volkmanns and Louis Tummers [/b]Bibliographie de la Prestidigitation[/b](Bruxelles, 1952). Apparently, 275 copies were printed, but copy numbers 1-25 were printed on better paper (only these 25 copies were numbered).
I suppose another example where a low number might be of greater value would be the case where it was retained by or given to the author, publisher, editor, etc. Seems like most authors and publishers reserve the lowest numbers for special folks. But of course the value is not in the low number, but in who owned it.