IN all this rush for bargains in first editions, and the feverish anxiety on the part of many collectors, pseudo and genuine, there is a natural desire to look ahead, and to discover the big writers of to‐morrow, because it is their books of to‐day that will be the rare and valuable items of to‐morrow. But there's the conundrum It is easy enough, if we are rich enough, to buy, shall we say, Arnold Bennett's Old Wives Tale for £50 or more, because we are constantly learning how few copies there are about, and because it is really a good first edition to have. The same may be said of the rare things of Shaw, Barrie, Wells, Galsworthy and others. To select an unknown writer, and to say to oneself: his first book is going to be a notable and closely sought for book to‐morrow, is, indeed, a difficult task which few of us can encompass. Yet it is done. There are those happy ones who said it about Shaw in his early days, of Tomlinson in his, and they now possess real worth in two ways. I do not ever want to forget the literary value of these, and other writers: there is, indeed, value there; but there is the other way—the economic value. Some wiseacres, in their shrewd vision and intelligent and intellectual anticipation, hug themselves in bibliographic glee in that these two ways are theirs. Fads and fashions, conventions and popularisms, come up and pass these good people by. They blazed their own trail, and, in their quiet and contented way, they proceeded to their own contented end, and now they may justifiably revel in their own fore‐sightedness. Blessed are they among the growing army of book collectors.
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