Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Custom Build A Fishing Or Hunting Library
Fishing and hunting has become more sophisticated these days. The people who participate often are well-schooled, have graduated from college and are accustomed to learning new things in their leisure time.
Many anglers and hunters strive to stay well informed. They want to read things they can learn from, and over many years, I’ve worked with many people to build an excellent outdoor-related library.
It’s no brag, just fact: I have collected fishing and hunting books for more than 50 years, and am in the midst of compiling a major bibliography of fishing and hunting books published in the English language. This research book is only half finished, and the bibliography features some 1,300 typewritten pages that list between 25,000 and 30,000 titles.
I know what books are out there, I know what is needed to go into a research library for an angler or hunter, and I’m accustomed to doing research. A teacher friend wanted an obscure book to show his class, but didn’t have the book and couldn’t find it. He knew the author’s name and book title, and asked for help. It took 15 minutes to find the book.
It’s not always that easy, but I’ve spent years searching for some rather obscure titles, and this is a service some people need. They need help determining which books to buy, learn how much the books will cost, and have someone do all the search service work.
Other people want to have their present collection checked out, and determine its value for an estate sale, for insurance purposes, or to determine what the value is for a gift donation. I perform such appraisal work as well on a fee basis determined by what a collector wants to have done.
And work is the right word for doing appraisals. It is a laborious, long and time consuming task.
Of the two, I most enjoy working with people who are just beginning to establish a collection of books on their favorite fishing or hunting topic. I’ve worked with some to build their collection of muskie fishing titles, and helped others who collect deer hunting or turkey hunting books, and some who specialize in Atlantic salmon, tarpon or trout fishing. One thing I don’t do is stray out of my field of fishing and hunting titles.
Finding books for clients can be easy, very difficult, nearly impossible, or a thrilling challenge. The challenge topics are the most fun because it is like hunting for a diamond in a coal pile. It’s dirty work but look how much fun it can be when you find one.
I just found 12 muskie books for a client. When we spoke, and I told him of my finds, he sound just like a child at Christmas. He was happy, and now he want’s me to find several others Those will belong in the challenge category.
Before we start I try to sit down, or next best, via email or a phone call, and discuss what the client wants or needs from a particular genre. I’ve helped a few collectors locate some very scarce and rare African hunting books, but each collector is different in his or her wants.
But find a key book, and their joy is similar to taking a first-time trout fisherman out and putting him or her into a 10-pound steelhead. It’s fun for me and for them.
There is, as is true with all types of work, some expenses involved. Doctors and attorneys have been good clients, and their busy fast-paced work life doesn’t leave much time for looking for books. They give me a list of titles, or ask me to prepare a list, and I go to work.
I’m helping a muskie-book collector finish up his collection right now. Many of the books are reasonably common; some are hard to find; a few are most difficult to locate, and two or three are nearly impossible.
There is a general theme to my advice for budding book collectors. Try for the hardest books first. They are very difficult to find now so get them while they are still available on occasion, and fill in the collection of lesser valued books as time goes on and money is available.
Many people I’ve dealt with provide me with a value guide that tells me how much they can spend over the period of a year, and I begin looking for key books within that range. In every genre, there are cornerstone books that are very important acquisitions. I always suggest a new collector decide which books they want first (with some advice from me), and we work toward that goal.
One of my collectors wants only books written by some of the gun writers from 50 years ago. Guys like John Jobson, Elmer Keith or Jack O’Connor. Many of their book will range in price from $50 to $400. Those $400 books this year could be $600-700 in two or three years as the demand for them rises while the supply dries up.
I’ve learned that although there are many people who are interested in deer hunting, there is a plethora of titles to choose from. I determine which authors and titles are most collectible. I edited and published a book last year of 26 copies, lettered from A-Z, and those books are the scarcest deer books ever published. Of course, they are $200 each.
Books—good books—appreciate at 10-12 percent yearly, and sometimes as much as 15-20 percent for a few books. I would never suggest that people collect fishing or hunting books as a means of making money, but only a fool would ignore the fact that good books increase in value while poor books do not.
My thought is to help a new collector pursue this hobby with an eye toward acquiring very difficult books whenever possible. I urge them to enjoy the books while they are alive, and when they pass on, the books will probably be sold. I can lend assistance in planning ahead to this unfortunate day when the beloved books will eventually pass into someone else’s hands for a tidy sum of money.
Planning ahead is what makes precision collecting not only a hobby, and provide good reading while allowing the sportsman to acquire more angling and hunting skills, but in the end, provide loved ones with a significant investment if they choose to sell.
I buy fishing and hunting books, sell them, and will help collectors get started or improve their collection.
If you are interested, drop me a note at < >. I’ll be more than happy to help anyone.