A Fortune for a Book

Philadelphia Times

"FIVE hundred dollars for eight pages of dingy reading! That's a good deal of money you will acknowledge, to invest in four small leaves of print paper," observed a Walnut Street dealer in rare books the other day. "However, that is the price I offered a man a few days ago. The eight pages wanted were of old Pennsylvania laws. My offer was declined with thanks, the owner being something of a bibliophile himself, and knowing that the scarcity of these pages would permit him to fix his own figure for his set. The pages would be passed over or destroyed by the ordinary reader, yet there is not another known copy in existence. You will readily understand that they are valuable when you consider the size of my offer.

"I bought a pamphlet for fifty cents from another bookseller several weeks ago, and sold it within a few days for forty dollars. That was merely a stroke of luck in business. The pamphlet was on this bookseller's shelves for sale at a stipulated price fixed by himself.

"Dealers in rare books seldom make purchases from strangers unless the latter can give satisfactory information of how the books came into their possession. This is done partly from a selfish motive, and partly from a desire to protect their customers.

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Relic of Revolutionary Days
September 12, 1901

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