Are the Days of the Real Book Numbered?

Brian W. Webster

Antique French books
(The Invisible Agent in Paris)

I can feel the tremor of fear that runs through the book world with the advent of computered books and, to be honest I felt it too.
But a thought came to my head from remembering a friend I had in ages past.
He owned a very well known Antiques Store on Madison Avenue in New York.
I was in his store one day and he had a new collection just delivered and he was one the phone describing parts he needed.
“Can you get those parts”, I asked, “these days’?
He explained that there was a whole industry turning out table legs, hand pulls, locks, all imitations of the real thing.
He took me over and showed me a table, rickety looking and one leg shorter that the three others.
“It’s going to cost me about $1,000.00 to fix this, varnish it, replace the hinges etc., to make it saleable. Now it’s worth about $4,000.00 as it stands and I paid almost that to get it. When I’m finished, at Auction, it should go for abouy $15,000.00 or more.”
I was stunned. “But that’s cheating.”
“Certainly not. I’m merely bringing it back to its original condition, and the buyer understands that. Do you know that most Antiques on sale are only 40% original? 60% have been refurbished? Even Artwork is cleaned and retouched.”

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