Seeing is Believing

In the course of our days in the Antiquarian, Rare, and Collectable Books (ARC) section at Better World Books, we come across a number of gems and treasures. At least once a day, one of our bibliographers or cataloguers will excitedly share the latest and greatest tomes to come our way. I suppose one could liken it to Christmas morning: each box that we open is sure to contain a delight, though unknown until the moment it is revealed.

When I was a young child, I recall an oft-heard response from my mother: “I’ll believe it when I see it.” While she was mostly referring to my empty promises to clean up my room, practice the piano, or finish my homework, I usually find myself expressing that same sentiment when one of our ARC team members describes the latest ‘find’. Sure enough, once I see it, I am in awe.

We’ve taken that adage to heart and, for the last 8 months, have been putting a number of finer items up for public inspection on eBay. I know, I know, eBay?! It wasn’t until I obtained some obscure items for my personal collection of ecclesiastical history on eBay that I really became a believer. There are lots of advantages to eBay: a plethora of images, unlimited text descriptions, an open forum for Q&A, not to mention lots of exposure for obscure items and open-market competition. We’ve found such great success there that we have hired a full-time ARC Specialist with a focus on the eBay market.

So far, ARC’s presence on the eBay marketplace has connected a collector of antique Chinese drawings with an extensive collection of rare facsimiles. It has found a home for a hand-made collection of Walt Whitman photographs and a volume of plates from medieval Gospel books. And, it significantly augmented the collection of one researcher with the addition of facsimiles of the Washington Manuscript of the Minor Prophets in the Freer Collection and the Berlin Fragment of the Book of Genesis to his private collection. And, lest you think that all that we offer is from dusty and little known nooks of libraries, we’ve also been known to list limited edition prints of Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley, along with collectable editions of Popular Mechanics, TIME, and Harper’s Monthly – ok, ok, and a few MAD magazines and comic books as well.

While we will continue to list our entire ARC collection on – now more than 60,000 items – be sure to visit our eBay auctions and store where you will find some of the more interesting items that just have to been seen to be appreciated.

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