Is this book rare?
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I was browsing an antique market and found this book: http://www.archive.org/details/whichsanitations00pick
"Which? Sanitation and Sanatory Remedies or Vaccination and The Drug Treatment?" by one John Pickering, F.R.G.S, published in 1892 by E.W. Allen in London.
It's briefly mentioned here in this blog: http://blog.skepticaldoctor.com/2012/02/16/bad-sanitation-and-antivaccination.as...
After I bought it I actually discovered that there is a plate inside from the author presenting this copy to a "Charles Winn Er-something" (I can't read the handwriting) "through the kindness and liberality of Friends and Members of the Leicester Society for the Abolition of Compulsory Vaccination", and further on there is an attached photograph of the author and his signature "Yours truly, JN Pickering".
I bought it because I loved the historical value it has, but now that I've discovered the above, is it more valuable than I initially thought?
Thanks to anyone who can offer any ideas at all :)
BTW, I found an article on vaccination and religion which although does not mention this specific book or author, may have some relevance: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaccination_and_religion
Rare is relative. A book with a press run of ten copies that nobody wants is 'rare' but of no value. Is it both scarce and in demand enough to be valuable? There are two copies on Abebooks, both going for about $80.00 : http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?tn=sanitation&an=pickering&...
Most books with a personal note written and signed by the author are going to be worth more to a collector than one without that, but still, it's supply and demand, and an author not in demand for a book that's uncommon may still only fetch fairly pedestrian prices, even if the author did sign it.
To complicate things futher, the use of paper made from cheap cellulose rather than rag became quite common by mid to late 19th century, but they didn't know about the effect of pH on the paper. I have beautifully bound, late 19th cent. books by well known authors (still today) that I can't open because the pages will crack if turned. They are also so dark, that the text is very difficult to read. I assume you can tell if anything like this is happening to the pages of your book, so it may be no big deal. But I'm very careful about buying used books from that period due to the potential for the paper to turn to dust over time. And I try to only buy new books if they state on the copyright page that they are printe don acid neutral or archival quality paper.
I recall a woman I used to work with bringing in a 1914 "Memorial Edition" of a book about the sinking of the Titanic. I can't imagine how many of these things must have been printed, and how many must still be floating around.
She carefully handed it to me and asked how much I thought it was worth. I turned some pages and asked her how much she paid for it. She said five dollars. I handed it back and told her that it was worth at least five bucks.
I'm lucky she didn't fling the book at me.
But, I hasten to add, the association data you mention in your edition is pretty cool. The existence of the "Leicester Society for the Abolition of Compulsory Vaccination" just goes to show that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
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