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Re: Encyclopaedia of Ferns for sale

  • Subject: Re: [ferns] Encyclopaedia of Ferns for sale
  • From: Johnscott302@aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 7 Jan 2005 10:07:04 EST

In a message dated 1/7/2005 5:54:11 A.M. Eastern Standard Time,  
Wim.dewinter@wur.nl writes:

A last  remark on ebay, for that's little to do with ferns anymore:  different
people have different opinions as to what is included in shipment  cost. I
would say postage and, if you have to buy an envelope, that one  too. But
another seller once explained to me that she also paid one to  bring it to the
post office. Also, some people insist on using Fedex ($35)  instead of US-mail
($5)... This is not exclusively an ebay issue; the same  applies to the
Amazon-related used-book stores. Sometimes I can get the  same book shipped 
for
$20 and $6.


Before we get of the subject of books. I buy a lot of fern (rare and not so  
rare) books on the Internet. In searching the used book sellers and ebay, it 
is  truly buyer beware. The book dealers are either ignorant of value or try to 
get  as much as possible from their equally ignorant buyers. On several 
locations I  told the sellers that they were asking too much for the book or the 
shipping  charges. The standard reply is I can get it from someone.
 
On good example of ignorance is 'The fern herbal' by Elfriede  Abbe.    
She printed 150 copies in 1981 and it was reprinted by Cornell Press in  1985.
The original was apparently hand printed on handmade paper. The reprint is  
slightly smaller and on normal paper. 
 
I searched for the original for 15 years! I found it in several libraries  in 
the Philadelphia area and in my naive days tried to buy it from the libraries 
 suggesting that the original wasn't of much use to anyone but a fern  nut. 
One library indignantly replied that their book wasn't even  cataloged as a 
fern book -- but was in their collection of specially printed  books.
 
Back to the Internet.
 
I regularly scanned the online catalogs like  ABE.com with the  usual 
listings of "Abbe Fern Herbal" getting 25-30 listings as FH 1985 Cornell U  Press and 
even 1981 Cornell U Press (Obviously not the original). The  usual price 
$20-30.
 
Then one day buried in 36 listings was one that stood out. Fern Herbal -  
1981.
Checking it out the listing stated 'number 90 of 150 copies'. Could this be  
it -- finally.
I don't know what I was willing to pay. But it was only $45 -- within the  
range that day the other 35. Did this dealer know what he had!  
 
John Scott
Rockland Botanical Garden
PA Zone 5.5

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