Appraisal Video: (4:08)
Books & Manuscripts
Ken Sanders Rare Books
GUEST: I've been collecting for many years. This is a sampling of diverse items that I have. A lot of things that I collect are signed and/or numbered, including the doll.
APPRAISER: I was most caught by the two dolls you brought here today. This one's named Figbash, and it's a hand-designed Gorey doll, and it states that it's filled with rice.
APPRAISER: And you mentioned you have a lot of signed items here, which you do, and here we have Edward Gorey's trademark signature, where he invariably crosses out his name and then signs underneath the crossed-out name.
APPRAISER: I've hardly seen any Gorey signatures over the years that didn't follow that pattern. And tell me about the other doll here.
GUEST: The other doll is a Bah Humbug. And he came with the limited edition signed, numbered book.
APPRAISER: Which you also have. The books are rare and collectible in their own rights, but the dolls, particularly since Mr. Gorey's passing, have become very, very difficult to find and have escalated in value. The dolls just didn't stay with the books very well. You brought one Gorey item here today that I've never seen before. I believe it's called the Fantod, an Edward Gorey tarot deck?
GUEST: Oh, yes, the tarot cards. They're just a delightful assortment of his postcard work. And this is also signed and numbered.
APPRAISER: Edward Gorey was one of the most original and creative, if not oddly disturbing, artists and authors of the 20th century.
GUEST: Yes, one of the reasons I like him so well.
APPRAISER: He really has an off-kilter sense of humor, and what I love about it, from a bibliophile perspective, Gorey wasn't just interested in books. You brought us the Amphigorey play poster, signed by Edward Gorey. We have here also a pop-up book that's quite nice. And then you brought one very early book of his, over by your side, there.
GUEST: Oh yes, The Green Beads.
APPRAISER: That's one of his earliest books, and that copy is also signed. One of my favorites is, over here, The Dancing Rock, and this is by Ogdred Weary, which anyone that knows Gorey would know that that's one of the endless names that he made up. And this is a back-to-back, or dos-‡-dos, book, with The Floating Elephant by Dogear Wryde on the back. And this charming little book is also signed by both of his aliases on each side of the book. May I ask you what you might have paid for these items?
GUEST: The Figbash doll, I bought that at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and they were $20 apiece. The tarot cards I bought when they were first issued, and I believe I paid $50 for those.
APPRAISER: So pretty much most of this material you acquired new, as it came out, and got at the issue prices.
GUEST: The Green Beads, I didn't. I paid more for that. I paid about $150 to $200, perhaps.
APPRAISER: I think The Headless Bust here with the Bah Humbug doll, could be the centerpiece of your collection.
APPRAISER: And I would estimate that its value, at retail, would be approximately $1,500 for the book, for the dust jacket, (laughs) the box, the doll, Sorry... and of course, the all-important autograph.
GUEST: That's nowhere near what I paid. I am very surprised.
APPRAISER: I would estimate a fair market value, at retail, for your entire collection would be $5,000-plus.
GUEST: (laughs) Oh, my gosh. It's very hard to believe, and I have so much more at home that I didn't bring.
APPRAISER: Well, yeah, we should mention this is just the tip of the iceberg.
GUEST: Yes. I'm very pleasantly surprised.