A Rare Find from a Grumpy Vendor



2016-08-25 09:18:05

My favourite find came with a little karma. We were on a long journey and pulled over to break the journey up as much as anything. We walked in and were met right away with contempt. I guess we didn't look like the types to spend a couple of hundred on an antique chair or horse brass. I smiled to the proprietor and asked if he had any books. I might as well have asked him to drop his trousers given the look I received. He point to a corner where a pile of magazines and books were dumped. I figured books weren't as highly-prized to this antiquarian. I shuffled through them and found nothing really or any interest, mostly battered and worn, most with foxing and the spines coming away. Underneath the stack though was a box full, oddly, with Russian magazines from the 1960s. Most of it I didn't recognise, but it was in decent shape. Mostly pamphlets and ephemera. There was one book that picqued my interest; a copy of Bulgakov's Master and Margarita. It was in Russian and printed by the YMCA, I recognised the wrappers though. I knew there were three issues and the third was in blue, meaning this was either the first or second. I knew the second was still worth a couple of hundred and the condition was a close to pristine as possible. I took the box to the proprietor and asked the price. He counted the items and said £250. There were ten items so I asked if that meant £25 each. He huffed and puffed and counted again, and nodded. I took out the Bulgakov, kept hold of it and handed him over £25. He sat down right away without offering a bag or a receipt. I thanked him and told him, a little cheekily, that I couldn't believe I'd found it. He raised an eyebrow at that. It's pristine. I recently had it valued at £5000.

(the photo's not my copy, just a similar copy)

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2016-08-26 13:45:11

What a find! It's a great book too.

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