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17th c. Scandal: 14 Yr Old Girl Falls for Baron, Writes Rare Tell-All April 1, 2010

The modern world’s embarrassing, cringe-worthy, candid memoir-as-novel that dumps upon an ex-lover/spouse is nothing new. In 1931, Jack Kahane, a writer of novels that nobody read, launched Obelisk Press. In a few years the imprint  would gain international notoriety for publishing Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer. In the interim, it stayed afloat with  racy fluff such as Daffodil by Cecil Barr (Kahane’s pseudonym), one of the imprint’s best-selling titles. But before Kahane got Obelisk Press…

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First Edition of Jane Austen’s “Emma” Sells For $489,747 March 31, 2010

A first edition of Jane Austen’s classic novel Emma has fetched £325,000 ($489,747) in a private transaction between Jonkers Rare Books of Henley-on-Thames, U.K., and a British collector. Why the high price? It is the most spectacular presentation copy of the book known to exist. There are presentation copies (a copy of a book given to someone by the author or publisher) and then there are presentation copies. This copy is a double-whammy jaw-dropper: a…

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First Auction Exclusively Devoted to British Spy Novels Coming Soon March 30, 2010

Journey into Fear (1940). Estimate: $2K-$3K. On Thursday, April 8, auction house Swann Galleries in New York will offer The Otto Penzler Collection of British Espionage and Thriller Fiction. The sale represents a select portion of the private library of the well-known mystery fiction specialist and proprietor of The Mysterious Bookshop in New York City who amassed his collection of rare spy and suspense books over 40 years. In that time, Penzler befriended many noted…

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When Horses and Human Keisters Collide March 29, 2010

Thirty-thousand years ago, horses began to appear in cave-paintings. Their domestication occurred between 4000-3500 BCE. The Botai culture of modern Khazakstan, land of the superb Cossack horsemen, were early masters of horseback riding. The Blackfoot tribe of Native-Americans of the Plains were noted for their expert horsemanship. Nations stood or fell upon the back of a horse. The trade in horses was lively, and sharp salesmen could make a killing: “A horse! A horse! My…

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"Sex Life of a Cop" Chows Down Big Donuts at Paperbacks Show for Record $ March 22, 2010

Saber Books SA-11, true first edition, first printing. In 1959, a trashy paperback was issued by Saber Books. Thirty years ago, when I began to take a collecting and scholarly interest in soft- and hardcore erotic pulp literature, if I paid 50¢ for it I was under the influence of something. Yesterday, I saw a very attractive copy of the true first edition, first printing of Sex Life of a Copy by Oscar Peck (pseud.),…

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