That's right, since the 1980's Bruce Kahn has been quietly and diligently buying up the rarest and most pristine modern firsts on the market. Not only did Kahn go after a certain book by a particular author, he went after every book, in every collectible edition, for that author. So, for Paul Auster, the Kahn Collection boasts a copy -- 1 of 26 lettered and signed -- of Wall Writing ($1250.00); a copy -- 1 of 20 numbered and signed -- of Fragments from Cold ($1750.00); and a copy -- 1 of 26 lettered and signed -- of the New York Trilogy ($7500.00).
Tom Congalton, of Between the Covers Rare Books, jokingly describes Kahn as "a pain in the ass to sell books to. He always wanted his books to be in perfect condition, and even the slightest flaw would be either unacceptable, or even if he finally decided he could overlook some nearly microscopic flaw, it had damn well better be mitigated by being a unique copy or an exceptionally rare book, or an important association copy, or preferably both."
Bruce Kahn's persistence to perfection is evident in every single volume of his collection, from his edition of James M. Cain's The Postman Always Rings Twice, which is described as "essentially a flawless, perfect copy. While it is pretty much an unalterable rule that somewhere in the world there will always be a better copy, this copy breaks the rule" ($27,500.00); his "immaculate copy" of Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird ($35,000.00), to his signed copy of Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind which "is so fresh it appears to be facsimile, but it is not" ($55,000.00).
J.P. and Jerome who?
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