I suppose — and I have said this before — that the best time to figure out what to collect is before you begin collecting. Unfortunately, that is almost impossible to do. If I had really “known what to collect” before I started collecting card-game booklets, I suppose that my collection would be very different.
For example, if I were to start over again, I might collect De La Rue booklets with the same dedication with which I collect Goodall booklets. (I doubt it, but it’s a possibility.)
More likely is that I would have collected booklets on Bezique without regard to the publisher. There have been quite a few that I missed out on.
But, if someone is going to collect booklets, I still think the best single way to do it is to collect Goodall booklets. There is a great range of common booklets and scarce or rare booklets, and it is unlikely (or seems unlikely) that anyone will ever have a complete collection of them.
I just reviewed my eBay purchases for 2013 up until now. I made a total of nine eBay transactions. Two of them were Goodall-related. The only booklet was an 1895 edition of Rubicon Bezique, by Professor Hoffmann. I did note probably a half-dozen or so items that I thought were really nice and interesting, but adding any of them to my collection would not have improved my collection much. For example, one dealer offered a nice Bridge set with a Bridge booklet. Even now, I believe that the same dealer has a Piquet set, which is probably a good deal at the $47.50 price.
But then, the booklet is dated 1920, and carries mainly the Angelo Lewis name (though the pen name appears in parentheses), and I already have a few copies of the booklet (though not that version). That, and the fact that I have made a bit of an effort to reduce my eBay purchases, kind of decided me against it.
Still, when one has seen a zillion card-game booklets, or maybe 150, one tends to become jaded, and something which once seemed fabulous can seem like vin ordinaire. But viewed reasonably, “freshly,” that Piquet set could be the centerpiece of someone’s collection.
And, there is a sort of “fewer purchases, less searching” spiral. The fewer things I find and buy, the more lackadaisical I tend to be in my searching. So, though I often search for Goodall items (maybe once a week, or so), I don’t search all that much, so I have likely missed seeing some things.
The nine purchases is way down from the 77 eBay purchases I made in 2012. But I think very few of those were booklet related. I have a few other main collecting interests in addition to card-game booklets. Those interests are Frank Godwin (an artist), Professor Hoffmann, and some kinds of old photographs.
As to Frank Godwin, I think I probably know more about him and his works than any other collector, and I can tell almost immediately whether something is an item that would be important to my collection or not. In the past year, I have only bought one Godwin item on eBay — a beautiful copy of of a book I already had in lesser condition. I suppose it is likely that I have a far more complete collection of books illustrated by Godwin than anyone else on the planet — so it is really seldom that something unusual comes up.
There is, of course, tons of Godwin stuff that I don’t have — for example, his illustrations appeared in countless magazines. I have pretty much given up trying to gather a representative collection of them, though I have boxes of them.
I guess that what I am saying is that when a person collects in rather specialized areas, there can come a time when one has kind of hit the high points (or acquired the commoner items as well as many scarce items), and the scarcest things may never materialize.
October 10, 2013
(About 664 words.)