A Medical Antique Collector’s Dilemma: What to do with spare items bought at auction when you’ve won a large lot at auction?

Feeling a bit of a sore throat coming on, I locked myself in my apartment determined to get rifdof some inventory. Once you start collecting just about anything, the line between collecting and hoarding gets blurred, if not, demolished. My step dad is a hoarder although he would say he fills his home with nostalgia. I have no desire to have piles of items to the ceiling and a narrow walkway between them.

Don’t get the wrong idea, while I would like to say I have a minimalist home and office, it is quickly being overtaken by piles of antique medical books bought in huge lots at auction–I am talking 75 to 100 books from the 1800s and 1900s which I “stole” at auction for $200 USD only to discover that it would cost me $600 USD to have them shipped to me in NYC. I bought this lot as I am trying to complete a set of the well known Civil War Medical Book series Medical and Surgical History of the Rebellion. These books can retail new for $300 to $600 each and I noted 3 of them in this book lot.

I put the desired books on my shelves and was left with a bedroom full of antique medical books of all different subjects but all pertaining to medicine, surgery, history of famous UK hospitals, etc. I had no idea what they were worth if anything.

I went to work checking ebay.com, abebooks.com, amazon.com, and biblio.com. These are the best sites in my opinion to get an idea of retail antique book value. Most of the books were of little value, that is, retailed for $20 to $50 meaning that if I wanted to quickly get them out of the apartment, I needed to donate them to charity or sell them. Having the time and wanting to learn a bit, I decided on the latter.

Long story short, I researched each title and have them listed on ebay.com. A few of the books are “worth” $250-500 retail–we’ll see if I can get close to that. Most of the books are not worth much so I bundled these into lots, took the best photos I could with my smart phone in my kitchen where lighting is the best, and now have them posted on ebay. I already have 3 bids so I have a guaranteed 100 dollars coming back to me, not gonna make me rich but not bad work for a lazy day in sweat pants. I will keep you posted on how the sales go. This is not “my first rodeo” in trying to at least break even on antique medical purchases–and let me say for the record, if you have broken even and collect medical antiques and antique books, you are ahead of the curve in my experience.

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