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    Auction Finds

    Finding “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”

    At a recent auction, I had shuffled through a table of books – big, heavy books on a range of subjects. I didn’t see anything among them that grabbed my eye. So I wandered off to see what other interesting finds were hidden among the tons of items on the other tables.

    uncletomback As the auctioneer got around to the books, first asking buyers to choose the ones they wanted and clearing the table in the process, I spotted it. “It” was a small thick book, a little tattered, with a burgundy and beige cover. In gold script was the title: “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”

    I picked it up and flipped through the pages. The paper inside the front cover had turned beige and three previous owners (apparently) had written their names: Beatrice G. Dyke in fountain-pin ink. E. Speers in pencil. Ida E. Allen, also in pin & ink.

    The book was the Brunswick Edition, printed in 1893 by Houghton, Mifflin & Co.

    I held onto the book, afraid to put it down, waiting to hand it to the auctioneer so I could bid on it. As I waited, a man standing to the right of me asked my auction buddy if I had bid on the book. She asked me; I said not yet. Darn. I had a competitor.

    uncletominsideI handed the book to the auctioneer, he started with a $5 bid and asked for 7.50. My competitor took the 7.50 bid. Then the auctioneer motioned to me for $10 (I nodded yes), then him for $12.50 and then me for $15 and then him for 17.50 and then me for 20, and then him for 22.50. He did not nod. Instead, he backed off.

    I got the book, but for $15 more than I expected. It’s a nice little book.  I don’t think I’ve ever read “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” but I do know its history.

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