Do you take pride in your book collection? Is your bookshelf filled with rare printings, first editions, antique books, novels, pulp magazines, etc.? Are your book cases covered by doors with glass treated by UV protective film, out of harm's way from outside light as well as inside light in a climate-controlled environment?
Some of us are very sensitive to the sensitivity of our books. I am, not only for my books that date back to the mid-1800's but even my newer novels, both hardback and paperback, so that they may last me the rest of my lifetime and hopefully can be passed down to future generations for them to enjoy.
Pawn shops, garage sales, Abe's Books and Half-Price Books are some of the places I find some nice little gems and treasures. Occasionally I will lurk around E-bay, but how many times have you seen "One-of-a-Kind; Rare; Unique" in bold letters and twenty more copies of the exact same item are listed directly below the item you are looking at? Not to mention trusting a lot of people to know how to fairly/properly grade a book as well as a book jacket (yes, there are two grading scales for the quality of a book)? That's not to say that some people aren't honest and/or knowledgabe, but the common person has no clue. When I worked in a comic book store it was amazing how many people thought their comis were in perfect, "near-mint" condition and has always been in the plastic mylar sleeve. Nine times out of ten it was a comic older than the debut of mylar sleeves and, quite honestly, if human hands that contain natural oils; not to mention dirt, grims, Cheetos, etc., have touched the pages, then the book or comic is not in near-mint condition.
7 SciFi/Fantasy books available as one lot up for auction.
Another place I have enjoyed and trusted for the past few years is Heritage Auctions. Similar to Sotheby's and other high-end auction houses, Heritage is an auction house based out of Dallas, TX with another venue in California. Most of the times, witht he exception of their rare coin auctions, items up for auction (i.e. music, fine arts, jewelry & timepieces, original illustrations & drawings, natural history, rare letters & manuscripts, comic books, rare books and more) can be viewed at the Heritage offices or their viewing gallery on Slocum Drive if you get on their invitation list, which isn't difficult to do if you are a bidder on their auctions.
This is one of the rare cases that one of their Rare Letters & Manuscripts as well as their Rare Book Auction is happening based out of Beverly Hills, California. Although they have a live floor auction and live Internet auction, you can bid in advance online through February 10, 2010. To sign up is free of charge. Their site is very user-friendly and their descriptions and grading system are very fair and reliable. Just because they are a higher end auction house and not E-bay doesn't mean you can't find some great items for a decent price. I've many pieces of original comic book art, illustrations/paintings from books as well as antique books for under $50.00. Granted, their are items on the site that are way out of my price range, but it's still fun to look at these items, see their value and even learn a little about the items.
One of the Jules Verne books up for auction.
Not all of the books in this auction are going to be Speculative Fiction, but there is a nice percentage of Horror, SciFi, Fantasy, Mystery, Fables, Poetry, etc. These include Jules Verne, Earle Stanley Gardner, Walt Whitman, Washington Irving, Ellery Queen, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Theodore Sturgeon, Jack Williamson, Phillip José Farmer, Frederik Pohl, J. K. Rowling, Ian Fleming, Dashiell Hammett, Arthur Conan Doyle, Charles Dickens, Isaac Asimov, E. B. White, Anne Rice and many others. Some of these are first prints and/or signed editions.
Although Heritage has a weekly comics auction, the big auctions for comics, rare books, fine art, etc. are event sthat happen 2 - 3 times/year through Heritage. The next Rare Book Auction is scheduled for June, 2010. If you have items you are looking to consign, contact them now to see about getting your books into the auction.