Thursday, 8 May 2008

Car Boot Season

The fine weather cometh and what does that mean?

Car boot sale season is upon us again.

Last year was a bit of a wash out - too much rain, too many muddy fields, too few boot sales so I've got pent-up treasure-hunt energy and am particularly looking forward to this year.

It's a bit of a triumph of hope over experience; the fact is that you almost never find anything special at car boot sales these days. Gone are the (albeit rare) days when you would come across a box of pristine matt books - fresh from their time-warp. Gone are the days of turning over a dust-jacketed copy of 'The Party', 'In the Country' or 'A Little Silk Apron' in a box filled with bits of curtain pelmet and sewing patterns. I was spectacularly lucky when acquiring the 6 books in the original Tasseltip series - 474. I found all of them, one after the other, in car boot sales or neglected in bookshops and never paid more than £5.00.

Now people know that Ladybird Books are collectable. My local charity shop has 3 rather scruffy 'Words for Numbers' books in the window, priced at an optimistic £5.00 each. So the chances of coming across that Benny Smith haul are frankly not great. But hey ho!


E S said...

Oh is not often this 35 year old man gets teary eyed but finding your blog and website did. Someday I'll tell you how during an exaptriate childhood in the Sahara, Ladybird books were the only touch of literary civilization for us. Never thought I'd ever find those books I remember from decades. Bless you!

Helen said...

Hello e s

I'd love to hear about it. If you don't fancy posting the details here, please email me - the email link is on the website. And in returen, perhaps I could send you a copy of the books you best remember.

Helen said...

e s did get in touch with me. Here is what he said:

"Hi Helen!

I was the 'e s' who left a post on your blog..and I just sent the link to your website and blog to my mom who I know will be delighted. For two decades I have been looking for the book 'Soldiers' in the Leaders series and witht eh internet now I make enquiries every few months. Alas, last night I tumbled onto your site and a flood of memories came back. My brothers and I spent part of our childhood in remote Libyan towns where our parents worked. During 1980s, when the country got more and more isolated, the only children's reading materials were Ladybirds passed around from home to home, family to family amongst the large expat community. Some of the collections we had, we were able to bring with us when we left Libya. Much was lost..and along with it the indelible memories of the cousin John and Simon[ie cousins of Peter and Jane] series, the Leaders (my faves were Bridges and Soldiers), the biographies (managed to take my copy fo Capt Scott). Such wonderful times they were when Mom we got us a newer book. Now in the United States, I have looked far and wide and never had too much luck in bookstores here or online."

Tonya said...

I recently decided to collect old Ladybird books and just this morning found 5 of them with dustcovers in good condition, for a total of £1. I believe 2 are first edition but not rare. This was in an independent charity shop that doesnt put prices on things. I'm going back soon to rummage through their books, its such a small shop that if more than 2 people are in there, its crowded.

Helen said...

Ah Tonya. There aren't many charity shops left like that. Sigh. I mean, it's good that they are increasingly getting their act together and are able to price things to maximise profits for their charity - but from the collector's point of view it's not quite so much fun.