'I never saw a U-Haul following a hearse."

Discuss the historical aspects of magic, including memories, or favorite stories.
Diego
Posts: 341
Joined: June 16th, 2008, 11:29 am

Re: 'I never saw a U-Haul following a hearse."

Postby Diego » July 12th, 2018, 1:51 pm

Recently, I saw a movie, "Nostalgia", which themes touch upon the subject of this thread. The movie has an impressive cast, (Bruce Dern, Ellen Burstyn, among others) and is very well written and acted.

Not an upbeat, feel-good movie for a Saturday night out, it has a lot of awful truth, that is difficult to avoid...thought provoking, sad, real.

User avatar
AJM
Posts: 1187
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Scotland

Re: 'I never saw a U-Haul following a hearse."

Postby AJM » July 12th, 2018, 4:57 pm

I saw Nostalgia a few years back and enjoyed it and caught up with it again recently but didn’t enjoy it so much second time around.

I suppose that proves that Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be...

I thank you

I’m here all week

‘Taxi for Murphy please’
Corner-person Begrudger

Diego
Posts: 341
Joined: June 16th, 2008, 11:29 am

Re: 'I never saw a U-Haul following a hearse."

Postby Diego » July 12th, 2018, 10:58 pm

The movie I'm referring to, came out just 2-3 months ago. Was it the same movie?

Jack Shalom
Posts: 736
Joined: February 7th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Brooklyn NY

Re: 'I never saw a U-Haul following a hearse."

Postby Jack Shalom » July 13th, 2018, 2:06 am

I asked Copperfield about arrangements for his collection after he passed. He gave a short vague non-answer and quickly changed the subject. I then asked one of his right -hand assistants the same question, and he said he didn't know what, if any, arrangements had been made.

I interpret those replies as "none of your business."

I can think of several very good reasons he would not want his plans to be public. I feel certain, though, that he has a well thought out plan.

Edward Pungot
Posts: 521
Joined: May 18th, 2011, 1:55 am

Re: 'I never saw a U-Haul following a hearse."

Postby Edward Pungot » July 13th, 2018, 3:34 am

We are hunters and gathers.
All this stuff is an extension of this drive and our brain's ability to catalog, edit, and expand.

It's ironic that we start and end with nothing. But in between there is much joy in the pursuit, acquisition, devouring, assimilation and eventual letting go.

Bill Mullins
Posts: 5107
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Huntsville, AL

Re: 'I never saw a U-Haul following a hearse."

Postby Bill Mullins » November 19th, 2018, 1:36 pm

The following is by a British bookseller from another forum. With his permission, I'm reposting here.

Re: Disposal of Collections
Sat Nov 17, 2018 1:39 am (PST) . Posted by: simonjpatterson

We try to specialise in rare and valuable titles in speculative fiction. We do have plenty of books around the £25-£75 mark, as these inevitably come in with large groups of books, and they're good and quick sellers (often), but our interest though is in titles £100+. This isn't us being elitist, it's simply how our business model works (storage, time, buyers, personal interest, free bloody shipping).

Our buying habits are therefore selective too. Here are a few examples of large SF collections we've purchased recently:

1. A collection of 2500 books. 1000 of these books were good - £25 and above. Whilst it's not rare to see so many good books it's rare to see a proportion of higher quality items. This was four years ago, we have sold maybe 75% of the 1000. The remaining 1500 went to another dealer I know for something like 25p a volume.

2. A collection of 1800 books, half of them PBs. There were around 150 hardbacks that worked for our stock. The remaining 750 or so hardbacks went to a local bookseller. The 900 PBs sat in boxes for two years as many I wanted for reading copies. I ended up keeping a good portion of them, the rest went on eBay in bulk and fetched next to nothing.

3. A collection of around 5000 books. The vast majority reading copies. I think we purchased around 400 of the books - essentially cherry picking. Of those 400 fewer than 50 were suitable for stock. 100 were SF reference / NF / Critique which we kept, the other 250 were PBs we kept for reading. The remaining 4600 the owner sold to a local bookseller. This was a situation where we wouldn't have taken the 5000 books, just to dump 4600 on another bookseller's doorstep. The logistics would not have been viable and the 50 books we ‘needed’ weren’t good enough to encourage the removal.

4. A collection of 1200 books that had been consigned to us. Long story short, around 900 of the books were offered on various eBay auctions at the request of the consignor - not the best way to dispose of books. I would estimate 5% exceeded the price I would've asked, 60% of the books achieved around 60-80% of their value, 20% achieved around 30-60% of their value. The remaining 15% achieved less than 30% of their value.

5. A collection of Centipede Press books. We assessed the value of each book and offered accordingly. These collections are our favourite, but also the least frequently found.

As to selling channels.

1. ABEBooks and Biblio - both decent enough sites, the former more so than the latter. It's a decent enough way to dispose of a collection. But, you have to be aware that if you have 1000 books to sell, then you have 1000 books to catalogue, photograph, answer queries on and pack and post. It will also take a good five years to sell even if you offer everything very cheaply. I know collectors who do this, and enjoy it. But, the important thing to remember is that the best stuff will sell, if priced right, quite quickly. After that stuff’s sold, even if the stuff remaining is decent stuff, it simply won’t sell well as a collection if that route is chosen later. We had a collection offered recently, where it had clearly been pored over by another dealer. There were clear gaps, and a distinct lack of decent titles.

2. eBay - we started on eBay 16 years ago. We stopped selling there four months ago. The site's a nightmare. I would not recommend anyone sell on there. I'm sure there are plenty of people who have had a good eBay selling experience, but for us it has deteriorated year after year. Sales throughput has always been good and we have made decent money from eBay, but their habit of restricting sellers and forcing particular selling practices has been enough to stop us from selling with them.

3. Auctions. Sotheby's and Christie's want books £1000 and above. If you have an exceptional collection, let's say £1m+, then they might take it assuming the average value is well above £1000 per book. If there are books around £100 or so, and you can persuade them to take them, they'll group them in job lots of say 25 books. You would have to have a fair few five figure books too.

Mid-range aucitoneers such as Swann, HA, PBA, Forum (I won't dare say Bloomsbury) are more entertaining to high-quality (rather than exceptional) collections. Again, though <£50 books will be grouped. There was an auction at Swann just this week, with Stanley Simon books - clearly a good portion was going to the public as the prices were frequently too high for dealers (I bought one book). This is suggestive of a good result. The reality is though, that very few sold for what one could call a retail price. Most were 50-80% of retail, before the seller's premium. An important caveat here though is that you generally have to have enough books in the auction to reach a critical mass without which the books will just get lost. This is why we no longer dump old / excess stock at auction. The last result we got was a book we'd had previously on our site at £750. We reduced it to £500 and then decided just to auction it. Other copies were available for sale £500+, but our copy was inscribed. It fetched £15 at auction. It was poorly catalogued, but [censored] the bed, £15!

4. Consigning with a dealer. If you can find a dealer to take a consignment, then it's a very viable method. The collector does little work, and receives typically 65-70% of value. A consignee will take somewhere around 20% (though I know dealers who take 50% of books below $100). There are expenses such as card processing, online fees (ABEBooks), trade discounts etc. It's rare that a bookseller gets £100 for a £100 book.

5. Selling to a dealer. This is obviously the route that we would like every collector to take, but it's not always viable. The two things to consider are a) which books the dealer will buy and b) how much they will pay. Dealers may cherry-pick the best books, or offer you a fixed price per volume. They will pay anywhere between 40% and 70% of value. Generally in the middle of that range. We often get people offering us a £100 for an £80 book. This simply isn't feasible. £20 could easily get taken off in costs. It could get taken in one fell swoop if someone in the trade buys the book.

Selling to dealers is often met with consternation and distrust. This is partly because there are bad seeds, partly because of the seemingly large premium added on, and partly because collectors feel they aren't getting the true value (they're not). By way of an example, I'll recount a conversation I had recently with a client. I'd sold him a book in 2017 for £650. He emailed asking if I wanted to buy it back. I said, yes and offered him £350. He replied saying he wanted more than he paid for it; "it was an investment". I told him that was not feasible.. He asked how he could make a profit on it. I pointed out that in my role as a professional bookseller with a good reputation, solid client list and a couple of decades' experience, the best I got for it was £650 and that took me two years. The moral is that books are collected for love not for investment. A good collection will be an investment, but it takes decades.

6. Donate. This is clearly the most magnanimous way to pass on a collection (though the magnanimity is often reduced when the requirement is that a building is named after the donator). The important thing here is picking the right institution or charity. Of course, the downsides are that the collector or their family will not benefit. If you have heirs or an overdraft, then you’d have a difficult time making that decision.

Ultimately, it comes down to the kind of collection. There are collectors I know who will not entertain a book under £200. There are collectors who want completion regardless of condition or value. There are collectors who have amassed thousands of books over several decades, a small portion of which are valuable, but a small portion of thousands of books is a good number of books. Seek advice from a number of dealers. Another little anecdote that I can add here involves a copy of Dune we were offered recently. Dune was key to our most recent catalogue, but we couldn’t find it at a decent price. A lovely copy was offered out of the blue. We offered $2500 for it, they were unsure so we asked what other offers they had received. They’d had an offer of $3500. The difference in our offers, I explained, was due to the other dealer having a very wealthy client base and thus offered books for more than we usually would. They also had an offer of $200 from a dealer. That offer was increased to $1000, payment was to be 30 days after receipt and was only valid for 24 hours. I guessed, correctly, who that was and suggested she tell him to [censored] right off. The point is, she needed advice. Had she not sought three offers, she’d have been worse off. The argument here is that if she’d only contacted me she would still have been worse off – and this is the salient point – it all comes down to effort; if she’d established a rare book firm 20 years earlier, and sold the book herself for $7000 she’d have been much better off.

The key is to compare your collection to that of the chosen dispersal method. Get a rough valuation and establish how much of that value you want to receive.

Diego
Posts: 341
Joined: June 16th, 2008, 11:29 am

Re: 'I never saw a U-Haul following a hearse."

Postby Diego » November 19th, 2018, 7:34 pm

Thanks Bill for sharing this. Good, honest advice, learned from real experience.

I recently thought of the subject of this thread when I went to a Washington, D.C., army retirement home, where my uncle had been staying and recently passed away. Being his POA and agent of his estate, I began the task of sorting out, his personal belongings, as well as his legal/financial affairs.

With declining health, and needing to be in the right care facility, he sold his house and loaded what he wanted to keep, in the back of his care and trunk, (no u-haul) left everything else in his house for the new owner to deal with, and drove to the retirement home. EVERYTHING he had when I arrived, was in his room. A good deal of his books, gadgets, and other things, had been sold, donated, given, and yes, stolen
over the years.
As I went thru piles of boxes, I looked at things that were important to him, (that's why they were still there) and had to ask: If I take that ____, back home, where would I keep it, do with it?...when I'm gone, would anyone in my family else want it? Photos of people I had no idea who they were, and no one living who could identify any of them?
(Easier was donating clothes, electronics, and power chair, etc. to be used by other residents who couldn't afford them.)
I was glad to find and preserve his medals, commendations and other items pertaining to his life and service.
But I couldn't help but wonder if he had a lot of magic stuff, and some clueless person looked at "that stuff" and discarded it as I was, discarding items of no interest, identity, or value, that I had to, already having downsized my own stuff back home the year before.

Most of us have been there, done that, what I've described above. When I left my uncle's now-empty room for the last time, to go home,
much of what has been discussed in this thread, came to the front.

User avatar
chetday
Posts: 65
Joined: March 13th, 2008, 1:45 pm
Favorite Magician: Jon Racherbaumer

Re: 'I never saw a U-Haul following a hearse."

Postby chetday » November 20th, 2018, 3:08 pm

Bill, thanks for posting that extremely informative article written by the British bookseller.

Now that I'm stumbling my way into my 70's, though still healthy, I find myself on occasion pondering what to do with not only my personal collection of magic books but also the hundreds of non-magic books my wife and I have purchased, read, and hoarded during our lives. Last year on a gloomy winter day when I imagined the Grim Reaper looking over my shoulder, I called the local library and asked if I could donate several hundred hardback and paperback novels, as well as a fairly serious collection of critical studies devoted to both English and American literature. Although the head librarian didn't laugh at my offer, I could see I'd asked a dumb question because she politely declined accepting any of the books "other than unblemished hardback copies of best selling novels." Since I didn't have any hardback best sellers, I asked her what most people do with large book collections they won't need in the grave. She suggested trying Goodwill or the Salvation Army. "It's hard to get rid of books these days," she told me.

I'm hopeful my grandson will get interested enough in magic so I can give him my wonderful collection of magic books, but these days his major obsessions involve karate and football cards. And all too soon, Lord help him, he'll no doubt be thinking about girls a whole lot more than mastering a decent double lift.

I'd naively thought that the day might come when I'd try to sell a lot of our books on eBay, but I too have soured on that outlet and the article that Bill posted put the final nail in the coffin of eBay as a money-maker.

Getting old really is a pain in the ass in a lot of respects, and I hate the thought of not being able to take my magic books with me into the Great Beyond.

MagicbyAlfred
Posts: 1087
Joined: June 7th, 2015, 12:48 pm
Favorite Magician: Bill Malone
Location: Myrtle Beach, SC

Re: 'I never saw a U-Haul following a hearse."

Postby MagicbyAlfred » November 22nd, 2018, 9:46 am

Chetday Wrote: "I'm hopeful my grandson will get interested enough in magic so I can give him my wonderful collection of magic...And all too soon, Lord help him, he'll no doubt be thinking about girls a whole lot more than mastering a decent double lift."

And thank the Lord for that.

"Getting old really is a pain in the ass in a lot of respects, and I hate the thought of not being able to take my magic books with me into the Great Beyond."

My philosophy: If you can't take it with you, don't go...

Joe Lyons
Posts: 180
Joined: November 13th, 2017, 8:27 am
Favorite Magician: Wonder
Location: Texas

Re: 'I never saw a U-Haul following a hearse."

Postby Joe Lyons » November 28th, 2018, 8:10 am

Not having the resources of a Copperfield or an Albo, I wonder sometimes if I shouldn’t sell my current collection and purchase one item at a time. I could then, after reading the book or studying the apparatus, take a photo and add it to an album and consider that my collection.
It would enable me to “own” many more items in my lifetime and solve the problem for my heirs.

Bill Mullins
Posts: 5107
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Huntsville, AL

Re: 'I never saw a U-Haul following a hearse."

Postby Bill Mullins » February 11th, 2019, 10:06 am

Another post on collecting, copied with permission from the author (Walker Martin) from another forum. Is it tongue in cheek? You be the judge . . .

XXXX's question may seem innocent after my tales of midnight smuggling but he has a point. Where can a non-collecting spouse live when the other spouse is a serious collector?

Now, I am not talking about a perfectly sane person who collects a few items or has everything in one room. I am referring to a true bibliofile, a bibliomaniac if you please who loves books and yes, has multiple copies of his favorite books or magazines. I once had two completed sets of ADVENTURE magazine, 1910-1953. 753 issues in each set and I still would have two sets since it's a big favorite, but I need the space and I want other magazine titles also. A few years ago I was the winner of Frank Robinson's set of PLANET STORIES. A set so expensive and so beautiful that I'm afraid to read it. So I had to go out and buy a banged up set to read.

I could on with more insane stories of bibliomania but I'm sure most of you have your own stories and know what I'm talking about. The average person who is a non-collector would think us all crazy or suffering from severe mental problems. The vast majority of citizens are not collectors, in fact they are not even really readers or if they do read it is just an occasional book, etc.

I've had to stop conducting tours of my collection because even other collectors get quiet and silent and I rant and rave about the beauty of this book or cover painting or the rarity of this or that magazine. Even some of them think I've gone too far and maybe they are right. But collectors live to collect. They want more of their favorite books, more sets of great magazines, more artwork.

Every 3 months I have to pay some ridiculous NJ property tax bill. Ok, I'll come up with the money to pay taxes but then why shouldn't I come up with money to buy books and magazines? Recently my wife and son and I went out for dinner. The bill came to over a hundred bucks. Why shouldn't I pay a hundred dollars for my collecting fetish, whatever it might be?

At least that's the way I think. I know, I know, there are plenty of collectors who try to control themselves and just pay their bills. Well I am not one of them and I imagine some of you are not really control freaks either. You feel like I do, come hell or high water, you will find a way to get that item for your collection. I've juggled budgets, obtained bank loans, gone into credit card debt, borrowed money, all to get items I had to have. Another example, and I could give hundreds, 30 years ago I had a chance to get over 400 ALL STORY and CAVALIER pulps. Price only $2500 which would be like less than $5 per magazine. I pulled the trigger and put it on my credit card.

Most people would not have done so. I have the same bills, mortgage, car payments, all the stuff involved with raising a family with children. And I'll pay those bills. But I also intend to not forget my want list and collection needs. Most people live lives of quiet desperation as they blow their money on all sorts of addictions. Well our addiction are books, magazines, art, etc. It will not ruin our health like other addictions: drugs, alcohol, smoking, gambling, chasing women. Chasing women? When I was working that seemed to be one of the major activities of my fellow workers. I'd rather chase books!

So, to answer XXXX's question, where does my wife live(my children have already decamped). I just went and checked and she is still in the house doing things that non-collectors do. She watches a lot of TV, she reads some, she bitches about political matters, and she complains about my collection. She shops also but while I buy books and magazines, she buys non-collector stuff.

Sometimes, in fact quite often, the non-collecting spouse gives the Ultimatum. I put that word in caps on purpose. Every serious collector knows the words. "Choose the collection or me" and "Which is more important, your collection or me?" Gentlemen, we all know the answer to those loaded questions.

It is very difficult for collectors and non-collectors to co-exist. But it is possible. However when collectors are backed into a corner and told to get rid of their houseful of books, well you can always get another spouse but you often cannot get another collection. That's a simple fact and most collectors know it especially after a lifetime of collecting. Like all addictions, most of us are forced to choose the addictions. Can the drug addict stop taking drugs? Can the gambler stop gambling even though he is losing everything? Can the alcoholic stop drinking?

MagicbyAlfred
Posts: 1087
Joined: June 7th, 2015, 12:48 pm
Favorite Magician: Bill Malone
Location: Myrtle Beach, SC

Re: 'I never saw a U-Haul following a hearse."

Postby MagicbyAlfred » February 11th, 2019, 10:35 am

My take on the piece, judging from the passion with which it is written and the points that are made, is that is genuinely heartfelt, as opposed to tongue in cheek. The part indicating that one can replace a spouse but not a collection, may be tongue in cheek (But maybe not, because who knows what goes on behind closed doors in a marriage - it seems he gets consistent unbridled pleasure from the collecting, but not so from his wife, who nags him, at minimum, about his passion and joy). I detect genuine resentment on his part over paying a $100 dinner bill for three. I mean, after all, the pleasure from the dinner (assuming it was even good) is but a fleeting moment. But just think what $100 can buy in the way of a magic publication(s)? an acquisition that can last a lifetime.

I think the ultimate sign of addiction to collecting would be to see the hearse following the U-Haul. But like I always say, if you can't take it with you, don't go...

Diego
Posts: 341
Joined: June 16th, 2008, 11:29 am

Re: 'I never saw a U-Haul following a hearse."

Postby Diego » February 11th, 2019, 11:45 am

Walker Martin's piece can be taken different ways and depending on how far he takes his collecting and how it effects himself and his family is the point. It used to asked, "Are you doing it, or is IT doing you?"

Somehow, I wondered how Frances Marshall dealt with Jay Marshall's collecting of everything, that filled their home and a separate warehouse as well. Did she understand/tolerate it? Ever fight it? Or support it? (those who knew them better might know)

I'm thinking if I could spend JUST a $100 to have dinner with family/friends who are no longer here, or spend it on a book I will put on a shelf with the OTHER books, I would do the former...that additional book's presence on my shelf being of hollow reward.

Yes, addictions, or any activity that is adversely affecting someone can be stopped...not always, cured of, but knowing one has a choice, make the choice to do something, or NOT do something.

Spouse vs. collection? Some have found themselves in divorce proceedings with their collection sold, against their wishes, as part of the settlement
On a more dramatic note, for me, the decision, to sell my collection,(if needed) to pay for some a loved one's medical bills, would be a no-brainer.

Leonard Hevia
Posts: 1870
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Dai Vernon, Frank Garcia, Slydini, Houdini,
Location: Gaithersburg, Md.

Re: 'I never saw a U-Haul following a hearse."

Postby Leonard Hevia » February 11th, 2019, 9:12 pm

Diego wrote:I'm thinking if I could spend JUST a $100 to have dinner with family/friends who are no longer here, or spend it on a book I will put on a shelf with the OTHER books, I would do the former...that additional book's presence on my shelf being of hollow reward.


Books are for me far more than a hollow reward. The wisdom and knowledge they contain are immeasurable. Some books, like The Magic Rainbow, contain the sum of a lifetime of experiences. Voracious readers understand when I say that those who don't read much live on a superficial level.

Diego
Posts: 341
Joined: June 16th, 2008, 11:29 am

Re: 'I never saw a U-Haul following a hearse."

Postby Diego » February 11th, 2019, 9:26 pm

I meant, in comparison, a hollow reward. Yes, books can be very enriching and beneficial...both in reading and possessing them.
But that book may always be around...but those people that matter in your life won't.

I have heard different people remembering a parent/relative/friend, saying how devoted and passionate, they were about _____.....and they add, "I only wish he was as devoted to spending some time with me."

Each situation is different of course, dealing with different people.

As I noted before, when I go to magic collector/historical gatherings, I don't miss things I didn't buy or those that got away. I miss those whose conversations we won't have, and who I won't see again.

Bill Duncan
Posts: 1528
Joined: March 13th, 2008, 11:33 pm

Re: 'I never saw a U-Haul following a hearse."

Postby Bill Duncan » February 11th, 2019, 10:37 pm

Leonard Hevia wrote:Voracious readers understand when I say that those who don't read much live on a superficial level.


That has to be, hands down, the funniest damn thing I have every read on Genii. Or in a book, or a blog, or the back of a cereal box, or on one of my three Kindles.

Leonard Hevia
Posts: 1870
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Dai Vernon, Frank Garcia, Slydini, Houdini,
Location: Gaithersburg, Md.

Re: 'I never saw a U-Haul following a hearse."

Postby Leonard Hevia » February 11th, 2019, 11:58 pm

Bill Duncan wrote:
Leonard Hevia wrote:Voracious readers understand when I say that those who don't read much live on a superficial level.


That has to be, hands down, the funniest damn thing I have every read on Genii. Or in a book, or a blog, or the back of a cereal box, or on one of my three Kindles.


Thanks Bill! Kind of you to say that. Dick Cavett might approve as well. Or even Twain...


Return to “Magic History and Anecdotes”