“Freddy the Pig” at the keyboard, not Karen!
For over 20 years, we’ve been helping people downsize move and clear estates. After all this time, there are two things we know for sure: 1. At some point in our conversation, every client will use the word, “overwhelmed” and 2. Every client has a lot of books!
Here is Karen’s story about her “Freddy the Pig” book collection:
This story begins in 1983 at a Contents Sale when I saw the entire collection of “Freddy the Pig” books and knew I had to have them. These books transported me back to Saturday mornings when my Dad would take us to the library for story time and, then my brother, Stu and I would select a book to take home to read. Stu always picked the latest “Freddy the Pig” adventure; I picked “Dr. Doolittle”.
When I saw these “Freddy” books, I imagined Stu’s daughter happily reading the same stories her Dad had read all those years ago. Besides, the books were a bargain at four for a dollar! Total purchase price: five dollars!
Unfortunately, Stu was not nearly as excited about my book purchase as I was, so the books languished at the back of my bookcase for almost 20 years.
In June 2002, I was clearing my bookcases and came across the “Freddy” books again. It was time to do something with them, but what?
That evening, as luck would have it, I was having dinner with a friend, who worked at a Children’s bookstore. When I asked Elaine about my books, her only question was.. “Is there anything special about them?
I wasn’t sure. I returned home and checked my books again. I was surprised to discover most books were FIRST EDITIONS, almost all had ORIGINAL DUST JACKETS and many were SIGNED BY THE AUTHOR!
Now I wanted to find out if my “Freddy” books had been a sentimental purchase or, by some fluke, a shrewd investment.
First things first! I created an inventory of the books - title, condition, dust jacket, signed, first edition... - and took them to a used book store for an appraisal. After a lengthy examination by two book experts, I was offered ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS for the books. With a straight face, I told them there were other people I had to check with before deciding to sell.
WOW… my “Freddy” collection seemed to be worth something!
I searched the internet and discovered AbeBooks, a Canadian company selling books online. AbeBooks is an amazing resource to use to get an idea of the value of books you might be interested in selling. www.abebooks.com,
I checked all the “Freddy” books for sale and emailed my inventory list to over 40 dealers and waited. After a few weeks, I received two emails, each one asking how much I wanted for the books. I did not respond.
Several months later, I received an offer of $4,000.00 for the books. As I was drafting a email saying ‘Yes, I’ll sell the books!”, I received another email from one of the two people who had originally responded to my AbeBooks search. I told them someone had offered me $ 4,000. for the books and they immediately counter-offered with $ 5,200. I was flying!
The $ 5,200.00 cheque arrived in the mail on July 4, 2003 and shortly after, I packed the books in bubblewrap and shipped them to their new owner.
My “Freddy” purchase had turned out to be a shrewd investment. Not only had I turned a $ 5. purchase into $ 5,200., I now had one heck of a downsizing story to tell!
Karen Shinn

Karen Shinn

Downsizing Diva Co-Founder. Toronto East & North York

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