Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Burnin' Down the House

Well, this isn't very good is it?

A prized collection of antiquarian books - including a rare edition of works by Sir Walter Scott and a complete collection of the writings of Rudyard Kipling - was destroyed.

Mr Linklater said the destruction of irreplaceable bound manuscripts of books by his father, Eric Linklater, was "a devastating loss".

Bloody buggery bollocks, as I seem to remember they used to say in Ab Fab.* Not a very good way to see in the new year.

Apropos of not a lot, I'm often interested by how little even quite important manuscripts sell for. Rick Gekoski estimates the handwritten manuscript of Lord of the Flies at the high end of a £50,000-250,000 estimate, were it to go to auction, which seems to me to be very little money. Well, it's an eye-bulging amount of money obviously. But were I, for example, a Captain of Industry or generic Bond Villain, it seems to me that I could happily spend that and then some and not come away feeling I'd been fleeced. The top carbon from the typescript of The Kraken Wakes was on sale not so long ago for a low four figure sum. Even given that it was the carbon, it doesn't seem like that much to me, if you've got the disposables. I think I'd prefer that to a plasma screen TV*. Of course I can't afford either, but that's not the point.

*Though that may have been part of a fevered dream, I'm not sure.
**Which is why I will die alone and unloved, possibly known by local youths as "The Scary Book Guy".


Blogger Alex said...

He lures them in there and shows them these weird things with paper in and they come back different...let's lynch him!

Nothing like a mix of Fritz Lang and Ray Bradbury to start the day...

5:11 AM  

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