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We Were Robbed

October 8th, 2008  |  by  |  published in What's Up Online

While neglecting my own blog recently, I have signed on as a guess blogger at Foreword Magazine. I wrote about a recent theft at my bookstore, and the lesson I'm taking from it. Philobiblos isn't impressed.


How Cool Is Blogging

July 2nd, 2008  |  by  |  published in Uncategorized

Hendrix
All the big ad agencies are developing blog strategies for their clients. Apparently, if your product hasn't been mentioned in a blog, you're on the road to bankruptcy.

Yesterday, my wife and I received FIVE – count 'em, 5 – green boxes with odd labels. Actually, two were addressed to Fine Books contributors, two to my wife, and one for me. In each box we found a small bottle of Hendrick's gin, a cucumber, and a card with a web address.

Originally, we only opened the ones addressed to us, but once we realized gin – our alcoholic beverage of choice (I've had two today – it was a rough day) – was enclosed, we purloined all five. I'm sure the other Fine Books folks probably didn't want theirs, but I'm not about to ask.

It turned out to be a promotion from Hendrick's, one of our top three gins. Amy and I prefer Beefeater, which I know is a cliche, but it's also the best gin for martinis. Hendrick's is probably our second favorite. (Is anyone from Beefeater reading this – we can be bribed. Really. We once knew an employee of the firm that represented Beefeater, and we really enjoyed the relationship.)

I'm not sure what we were supposed to do with the cucumber. The cocktail recipe Hendrick's provided called for gin (which they kindly sent), mint, soda, ice, and a bit of sugar – ingredients that cost me close to $5. It was a nice cocktail. The recipe didn't include a cucumber, so I sliced one thin and floated it in the drinks.

What does this have to do with book collecting? We're featuring early cocktail books in the next issue.

Bombs away.


London Illustrated News

June 26th, 2008  |  by  |  published in Prints

Londonnews
Just in: Nineteen bound volumes of the Illustrated London News, the most elaborate British news magazine of the 19th century. Each weekly issue had dozens of engravings and many had large, fold-out maps and views of far-off cities. The bound volumes (dating from the 1850s, 1880s, and 1890s, each contain roughly 26 weekly issues). We’ve put a sampling on our central table. It’s hard to imagine the work that went into hand engraving each of the thousands of images in every volume.

You will also find on the central table a nice (but quickly dwindling) collection of books on Japan and Japanese art. These are flying out of the store. We also acquired this week a large collection of Talbot Mundy, a smaller grouping of Gene Stratton-Porter, and a handful of Elizabeth Goudge titles.


Vintage Shasta Photos

June 22nd, 2008  |  by  |  published in Photographs

Since there are so few antiquarian bookstores north of San Francisco, we at Eureka Books are trying to expand our holdings in materials related to the entire region between Santa Rosa and Eugene. Along with the A.W. Ericson photos we lucked into recently, we also picked up five Charles Miller images taken just over the mountains, near Shasta. These are images of the McCloud Lumber Company, the McCloud River Rail Road, and Mt. Shasta. They date from ca. 1908-1915 and are priced between $150 and $275.

Miller is probably the most important early photographer on that side of the hill, and he’s the subject of a recent book: Mt. Shasta Camera – The Photographs of Charles R. Miller. Click the image for a larger view.

Crmiller


Vintage A.W. Ericson Prints

June 20th, 2008  |  by  |  published in Humboldt County

Pardon my Internet slang, but OMG!

We just acquired four vintage A.W. Ericson albumen photographs dating from the 1890s, each with a handwritten caption. Two of the image are iconic Humboldt County pictures, which have been reproduced endlessly, but very few originals survive. These are behind the desk – they just arrived on Friday afternoon and I didn’t have time to get them ready for display – and are priced from $400 to $750.

Here’s a sampling (click
for a slightly larger view):

Ericson_2


Book Expo

May 31st, 2008  |  by  |  published in Bookselling

I'm in Los Angeles today, getting ready to head out for my second day at BEA (Book Expo America), the annual convention that brings together publishers, bookstore owners, and everyone else interested in the new-book trade. It fills the LA convention center. The coolest thing for me was seeing Fine Books among the two-dozen or so sample titles that our distributor brought to the fair. Perhaps most interesting to collectors was the dramatic reduction in the number of Advance Reading Copies in evidence, compared to past years. In past years, it was not uncommon to see dozens of people staggering under the weight of the free ARCs they picked up. I only saw one yesterday. I've written about publishers' concerns about the collector's market for advance copies here.

I stopped by Amazon's large Kindle booth, and there was a bit of excitement, but not nearly as much as I expected. And they only seemed to have six sample machines, which made it hard for gawkers to get a look at it. I've tried one before – it was pretty good, but hard to hold without accidentally turning the page.


Rare Alcohol Novel – 1907

May 7th, 2008  |  by  |  published in Uncategorized

Dscn5536
Caine, Hall. Drink: A Love Story On A Great Question.

New York: D. Appleton, 1907. First edition (?). 91 pages.

Good in irregularly faded wrappers and a chipped spine. Discard stamp on title page. No other library markings. Fragile condition. A rare novel about alcoholism. OCLC records fewer than 10 copies of this edition. COPAC records one copy of a 1907 London edition and two entries for a 1908 London edition, each with one holding.

Dscn5537
This moralistic tale of the evils of drink is followed by a report on the depravity of "underground London," "sinful New York" (with a subsection on white women in Chinatown), a temperance lecture by Rev. T. DeWitt Talmidge, and a list of Keeley Institutes. Keeley Institutes were a predecessor to the AA movement and sought to treat alcoholics with the Keeley Cure, injections of a substance of unknown composition.

Caine was one of the best-selling authors of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He was also Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s secretary for a time. The Library of Congress records a microfilm copy of an 1895 edition (a date given on the copyright page of this copy, along with the 1907 date), but no physical copies are recorded. A 1901 biography of Caine (Hall Caine by Charles Kenyon) states, "Mr. Caine has the intention of dealing with the drink question in a novel…yet he has been unable to see his way to treat it in a work of fiction." It’s possible that the 1895 copyright refers to the section on New York vice, which was prepared for a newspaper.

We believe this to be the first edition of the book or the first American edition, assuming the lone 1907 COPAC record for a London edition is correct.

$125


Lighthouse Photo Post Card

May 5th, 2008  |  by  |  published in Ephemera, Humboldt County, Photographs

Lighthouse

We just acquired a great real photo post card of a California lighthouse. The lighthouse is New Point Loma, in San Diego. The note on the back mentions "the new fog signal under construction." This refers to the small cinder-block building in the foreground, where a loud horn was being installed. The picture above of the front of the card accidentally cuts off the
top of the lighthouse. The condition of the card is very good, with a
few creases at the corners.

There’s a local hook, too. This 1913 post card is addressed to a Mrs. M. Cady, care of the Lighthouse at Capetown (Cape Mendocino). The card refers to "Alice & Babe," presumably an Alice Cady and her mother Mrs. M "Babe" Cady, but we haven’t positively identified them. There are still many Cadys living in the area.

The price is $40.


McMurtry on Bookselling

April 28th, 2008  |  by  |  published in Bookselling

Mcmurtry_2
Larry McMurtry will receive the Los Angeles Public Library Literary Award this week. In an interview posted online, he talks mostly about being a bookseller. "I just don’t think about my work at all. I think about being a bookseller. I don’t think about being a writer," he said.


Collecting Newspapers

April 25th, 2008  |  by  |  published in Book Collecting

A recent email from one of our readers who collects historic newspapers, lead me to a small cache of YouTube videos about two leading newspaper dealers, Timothy Hughes and the Mitchell Archive. Hughes is definitely the leading dealer in his field and has a great many newspapers in inventory. His business turns out to be a family affair that has taken over what used to be his father's machine shop. This video shows it to be ephemera dealing on fork-lift and heavy-lift scale.

The Mitchell Archive video is a nice presentation about collecting newspapers. Mark Mitchell specializes more in highspots:

More videos are also available:

 

Timothy Hughes on Newspaper Collecting

About Mark Mitchell

Behind the Scenes at the Mitchell Archives

Guy Heilenman, President of Timothy Hughes Rare Newspapers

More Hughes Videos on Their YouTube Channel

 


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