Just over a week ago, on June 9, I picked up what I estimate to be 400-500 books at an estate sale right here. It was a Friday, and friend called me at work and told me there were boxes and boxes of s-f books at the sale. The widow of a local man who passed away in Oct. 2004 put his library in the sale. When I took a quick look at the books, I realized this man and I had very similar tastes. I offered $75 for the lot and she took it. There were ten boxes and they nearly filled the back of my pickup. I spent until almost midnight looking through the boxes and reorganizing my library at home. The new books created a number of duplications, but I used a number of them to upgrade my library, i.e. swap out paperback versions for hardcovers. The previous owner apparently belonged to the SFBC for years.
Amomg the books I was happiest to see (which I didn't already have) was the first edition of "Dangerous Visions", the "Wandering Stars" anthology, and the Galaxy 30th anniversary anthology. There were also some Omni magazines from the 1980s and copies of F&SF and Aboriginal S-F from the '90s.
This fellow even had a paperback copy of James P. Hogan's
"Inherit the Star". I have a copy I bought in 1984 - it's actually the "oldest" book I have in my personal library (in the sense that I actually bought it for myself - when I was a teenager I always read books from the city and school library).
If you had told me in 1984 that 22 years later James P. Hogan and I would both be guests at the same convention. I would have been stunned - yet that's exactly the case with Conestoga in Tulsa next month.
I was already planning to bring my old copy of "Stars" for Hogan to autograph - but now I'll bring the other fellow's copy. And N.B. He was more on the ball than I was. The edition he bought came out in 1981, so he was three years ahead of me.
I found out later that, sadly, the man who assembled the collection commited suicide. This was before I moved here, and I don't know the details - and really, I don't think anyone else does, either. It's a shame - without sounding maudlin, suicide is such a sad and final thing. I'm glad I have the opportunity to keep the collection mostly intact - although its impossible for me to put all the books up in one place. In addition to those in my office at home, I now have boxes in a storage building behind the house. I also have boxes of non s-f books in a cabin we own near Cedar Creek Lake.
If Patricia and I retire to that cabin in 20 years or so, it may just become one big library.