This weekend, I finally found out why.
Al and Cordelia Faber opened The Book Trader in 1980. Both veterans, Al was active in the downtown revitalization movement. The couple lived in an apartment above their used and rare books.
Al passed away in 2007 and Cordelia passed earlier this year. Their children are selling the property (now worth more than 10 times the 1978 purchase price) and called in an estate sale company to clear it out. Everything must go! from shelving to kitchen wares, tools to typewriters.
I arrived early, pleased to find many more and better books than I had seen in that gloomy window. After the chilly morning walk, I shed layers and gloves as I went through the antiquarian books.
When I spotted old ledger books on the bottom shelf, I sat on the floor and went through each one. They were account books for a store and a furniture company, with lists of local names and payments made. I selected two that had older dates and provenance markings.
Back downstairs in the books, I found the North Carolina section and fell over the edge — that line between bookseller and bibliophile, where I start picking up anything that looks good and start forgetting about how much I can sell it for. Time to check out, even though I hadn't looked at everything.
I wasn't too bad. Aside from the ledgers, my finds included an 1884 Dickens, 1904 Naval ships, 1899 biographies of authors, a Buffalo Bill bio by Zane Grey, a 1930 biography of Mata Hari with photos (added to the "to read" pile), and a scrapbook (more about that later).
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