Saturday, October 30, 2010

AZ Sleuths: Nancy Drew Halloween Party Part 1


I threw my annual Nancy Drew Halloween party on Sat. Oct. 30 with a classic Nancy Drew #15 The Haunted Bridge combined with a Legend of Sleepy Hollow/Headless Horseman theme. I set up the scene with the following short tale that I created--more pictures to follow tomorrow of the event...

NANCY DREW and her chums are visiting quaint Deer Mountain Inn near the historic village of Sleepy Hollow. An eerie haunted bridge in the spooky woods of Sleepy Hollow beckons Nancy Drew to solve the mystery of its ghost. Meanwhile, Nancy's father Carson Drew is on the trail of a ring of jewel smugglers pulling off thefts at wealthy inns around the area. Nancy must contend with pest Mortimer Bartescue, a guest at the inn who takes a fancy to Nancy and interferes in her sleuthing. Is he harmless or is he mixed up in the strange goings on around Deer Mountain Inn? Nancy's boyfriend Ned Nickerson doesn't take too kindly to Mortimer's schemes. While trying to avoid Mortimer, Nancy must help her father search for a woman carrying a mysterious jeweled compact who lost a trunk of jewelry, while she gets to the bottom of the ghostly business in the woods of Sleepy Hollow.

Legend has it, that a Hessian soldier in the Revolutionary War was killed when enemy cannon fire decapitated him. His ghost rides through the woods of Sleepy Hollow at night searching for his head. Lone travelers have found themselves stalked through the woods and chased--barely making it across the haunted bridge to safety. Some years ago in Sleepy Hollow, a strange fellow named Ichabod Crane met such a fate and was never seen or heard from again.

One spooky night at Hemlock Hall, Nancy and her chums assemble for a Halloween masquerade party. Nancy is costumed as the famous Katrina Van Tassel from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and Ned makes a delightful Brom Bones. Whether by coincidence or fate, Mortimer finds himself costumed as Ichabod Crane. Nancy proves to be the belle of the ball and to Ned's frustration, is claimed for many dances by Mortimer Bartescue. Mortimer's penchant for superstitions is aroused when Ned dramatically tells the ghostly tale of the Headless Horseman and the demise of Ichabod Crane. Spooked, Mortimer begins to dread the long ride back to the Inn.

Long after the delicious food disappears and the apple bobbing and fortune telling subsides, the witching hour of midnight is at hand. Mortimer finds himself on horseback heading for Deer Mountain Inn. An owl hoots, the cry of a lone wolf pierces the night, and the moonlight glitters among the shadowy woods creating a sinister glow.

Rounding a bend, Mortimer spots the haunted bridge up ahead and begins to feel relieved. However, he fails to notice the hoofbeats of another rider just joining him along the trail. As the hairs on the back of his neck begin to prickle, he hears the angry snort of the Hessian soldier's horse bearing down on him. A chase ensues with Mortimer hanging on for dear life. If only he could make it across the bridge in time...

Nancy and her chums never did see Mortimer again at Deer Mountain Inn after that fateful night. All that remained was a smashed pumpkin and Mortimer's hat, found near the old haunted bridge. Was it the stuff of legends or a dastardly prank gone awry? One can never be too sure when traveling alone in the spooky woods of Sleepy Hollow...


Pictures of the party and how it turned out tomorrow...


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Nancy Drew: A Mysterious Icon Turns 80

I will be speaking about Nancy Drew at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, AZ on Monday, November 8 at 7pm.

If you're in the area, please stop in and join us for a fun evening of mystery and nostalgia about our favorite sleuth!


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Nancy Drew & Hardy Boys T-Shirts at Out of Print Clothing

There's a new Nancy Drew licensee - Out of Print Clothing - who has come out with a Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys shirt for their line. Check them out here.

The Nancy Drew shirt features the vintage Russell H. Tandy art from The Sign of the Twisted Candles and the Hardy Boys features the last art cover for The Mark on the Door:


Nancy Drew Events at 2010 Bouchercon Mystery Convention

Sleuth Lea With Her Collection Of
Nancy Drew Foreign Editions

Nancy Drew Sleuths had a booth at the Bouchercon 2010 mystery convention in San Francisco, I was on a Nancy Drew panel along with Penny Warner, Kate White, and Cornelia Read, and there was also a Nancy Drew 80th anniversary party.

I arrived to Oakland airport and Lea picked my mom and I up and gave us a great tour of her fabulous collection! Then a great tour around the San Francisco area including Coit Tower. We also stopped by the Yoda fountain at Lucas Films.

NDS Book Room Tables

Journals & Goodies for Sale

Buttons and Jewelry

Frame Necklaces & Bags

Totes and Bags--they were a hit!

In book #75, The Emerald-Eyed Cat Mystery, Nancy briefly visits San Francisco and goes to a restaurant in Chinatown where she wants to talk to the owner but he plies her with food and then hypnotizes her so she won't remember a thing! Lea, my mom and myself, plus Joanna and author Meredith Cole and her husband ate at Hunan Home's in Chinatown, shared several dishes, and then I tried to "hypnotize" Lea ;)

Bess says yum!

Our last big event was the Nancy Drew 80th anniversary party which was a come-and-go event in foyer of the Hyatt complete with mini cupcakes that Penny made picks for.

Bcon Party Sign

Meredith, Lea, and Joanna in front of Lea's Display

Lea's Nancy Drew Display

Great Foreign Editions!

Some Mysterious Decor

We had a mystery to solve at the party--see if you can solve it. Name one of Nancy Drew's famous cases and the villain she caught from the clues below--I'll post the solution in the comments in the coming days...


Saturday, October 09, 2010

A Tale of Two 1st Printing Nancy Drew Books Part 2

Ending today were the 2nd of the the recent first printings of The Secret of the Old Clock and The Hidden Staircase. Compared the ones that recently ended in the Blog posting below this one, these books were in really poor shape and condition. They were being sold by the same seller of the recent books #3-#6 that had mold/mildew problems. However, these two books were even in worse shape than those as can be evidenced by the images above and below.

The dust jackets show discoloration and staining from moisture which correlates to the hellacious shape that the books are in as can be seen in the photos.

All that white is mildew and mold for the most part and I'm not sure you could even get that out of the book? I Googled and found this website with some instructions on removing mold/mildew from books. I'm not sure how much of the mold/mildew from these books could be removed or the discoloration? As you can see below the pages inside have moisture damage and that really cannot be undone.

Moisture damage has ruined this frontispiece

These two books sold today at eBay for $7633.88 and $4361.00 respectively. The Old Clock book sold for even more than the previous good condition Old Clock book and it's in far worse shape which surprised me! This one went to a reseller though.

The Hidden Staircase book sold for quite a bit less which would be expected due to the condition of the book but still higher than I expected for the shape these are in. The bidding was in the 500.00 range up until this afternoon and the end of the auction which it shot up considerably.

I'd love to know if it's feasible to get out this kind of mold/mildew from these books? I'm guessing it would be a difficult task. Of course there may have been those bidding on these for the dust jackets to go with naked first printing books. That's always a possibility.


A Tale of Two 1st Printing Nancy Drew Books Part 1

The Mysterious Case of the Suddenly
ppearing 1ST Printing Nancy Drew Books!

Sold in the last couple weeks on eBay were 2 each of #1 The Secret of the Old Clock and #2 The Hidden Staircase--in addition to the other recent firsts of #3, #5, and #6 (see this Blog entry for details.)

How often in the past 13 years of eBay Nancy Drew auction history that I've been around, have two first printing Nancy Drew books shown up at nearly the same time? And of the first two books?

Answer: NEVER!

So it was with extreme interest that I watched these auctions to see how these books would do at eBay, especially listed so close together. After all, in the past Old Clock has sold for over $10,000.00 in each auction and the last one over $11,000.00. In the past, most of the books auctioned were in pretty good shape for first printings. Of the recent auctions this past couple weeks, 1 was in good shape and the other not so much :(

Clearly the books are starting to come out of the woodwork and I hope to see more. What will this do to the value? Likely drive the prices down somewhat as has been seen with the recent ending prices--of course we do have to factor in the economy and the fact that eBay has been a buyer's market for quite some time. Another thing that has driven some collectors away from that forum has been the circular reseller's market at eBay--a clique of resellers who run up prices to buy books and then resell in the same market. Many disapprove of that and won't bid on those books.

Pictured in this Blog posting are the good condition Old Clock and Hidden Staircase books that sold for $7257.98 and $6233.00 respectively. The shape was very nice over all and worth the prices. In fact the buyer got a good deal on these considering past auctions. Hidden Staircase did sell a bit higher than I expected though.

One thing that is a minor irritant to major irritant depending on who you talk to, is that when these books get listed on eBay this seems to be the typical pattern:

1. Book gets listed, seller typically doesn't know what they have or how much it could be worth.

2. Several collectors contact the seller trying to get them to end the auction and sell to them for a lowball figure. Sometimes sellers do, but many times they let the auction run.

3. At the same time, some collectors run to e-mail the seller to beg them not to end the listing or accept any offers as the auction will sell well and high for the seller.

4. Then you typically have some people for whatever motive they have, who e-mail the seller gushing and singing the praises of the book and declaring that it's worth at least $10,000.00 and the seller should be so THRILLED that they are going to make a mint basically. Collectors get very irritated by these kinds of "friendly helpers" - as it's not like we're all millionaires out here, sometimes it's nice to get a bargain, especially when this kind of books sells so high to begin with!

5. And then there are those who post at a public forum or group who say, guess, what did you see that first printing of Old Clock listed at eBay!?? I can feel a subset of collectors collectively groan when that happens as typically everyone hopes that no one else has seen an auction they are planning to bid on! :)

6. And then typically the bidding doesn't jump up a lot (other than newbie bidders who live and learn after putting in bids and bidding a lot in the beginning) until the last couple days and then of course that last minute of the auction when it goes crazy! That's what's fun to watch.

Oh the drama! I tend to be mildly amused by it, as I usually am not even in the running to bid on expensive books like this so I sit back and enjoy the ending and see how it does. It's nice to see them coming available--I suppose kids who had these back in 1930 who may have been born around 1917 to 1920+ would now be in their late 80s to 90s and so these may be coming out of estates--let's keep our eye out and maybe more will show up soon!


Sunday, October 03, 2010

Bouchercon 2010 - Nancy Drew in San Francisco

The Bouchercon World Mystery Convention will take place Oct. 14 through Oct. 17 in San Francisco. Being that this year is the 80th anniversary of Nancy Drew, they are devoting one of their panels to Nancy Drew and there will be a party too.

Sleuth Penny Warner and I will be on the Nancy Drew panel along with Cornelia Read, Hank Phillippi Ryan, and moderator Kate White. The panel is on Friday October 15 at 10:00am.

Penny and I will be throwing a fabulous 80th anniversary Nancy Drew party Saturday October 16 at 4:30pm with fun favors for those attending and a mystery to solve. And all through the event, I will be in the Book Room most of the time at our Nancy Drew Sleuths merchandise table with our Nancy Drew merchandise and info about our group and our conventions.

If you are in the San Francisco area, come and join us! Visit the Bouchercon 2010 website for info on registration and day passes.


Saturday, October 02, 2010

Nancy Drew Format One Printings Sell at eBay

Recently listed at eBay were 4 1930s Nancy Drew books--three were first printings and one was a 2nd printing. They were books three through six: The Bungalow Mystery, The Mystery at Lilac Inn, The Secret at Shadow Ranch, and The Secret of Red Gate Farm.

Upon looking at each book listed, the main comment from each description that stood out to me as a "red flag" on condition was this: "Mildew odor from basement storage. Book has a minor roll or curving in the middle. Rear cover has color spotting discoloration. Minor spine discoloration." Each book had "mildew" listed and "odors."

When it comes to a vintage book like these, and especially first printings with the dust jackets which come up seldom for sale, condition is very important. If you purchase a book that's not in tip top shape, you're always looking for an upgrade. A mildewy book is always in need of being upgraded, so is your initial investment one you could recoup if you find a better copy and want to sell it? It's iffy.

There are ways one can try to undo the effects of mildew odor such as microwaving a book, and that can help substantially, laying it out to air out too, but one that might be warped or pages moisture damaged can't be undone.

In accessing these books for sale the only one I would have considered bidding on was #3 The Bungalow Mystery as it appeared to be in the best shape of the four. It went to a collector among us. The other 3 books went to a reseller.

Here were the results of each auction and I've added in what Farah's Guide lists as a value in excellent condition:

Bungalow: Sold for $3305.00
FG Value: 5000.00/400.00=5400.00

Lilac Inn: Sold for $2330.00
FG Value: 3000.00/500.00=3500.00

Shadow Ranch: Sold for $2130.00
FG Value: 2000.00/250.00=2250.00

Red Gate Farm: Sold for $2130.00
FG Value: 800.00/400.00=1200.00

The two values for FG listed are first the dust jacket and then the book. Considering the mildew issues, the values would definitely be lowered off of those FG prices.

It's interesting to see that Shadow Ranch sold for just a bit under FG value but Red Gate Farm sold for nearly double FG value and it had the worst looking dust jacket spine of the four up for sale! Lilac Inn sold quite high for being a second printing too! The best pricing/bargain appears to have been Bungalow Mystery! Congrats to the winner :)