Rare Book Monthly

Articles - February - 2018 Issue

Bookshop Featuring Enormous Stephen King Collection Suffers Devastating Loss

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Flooded basement of Gerald Winters & Son's bookshop (from their Facebook page).

In one of the saddest tales related to books and manuscripts we have seen in a long time, a Maine bookseller suffered a devastating loss on January 16. The loss was not only tragic for the great amount of material damaged or destroyed, much of it unique or rare and irreplaceable, but by the fact that it was totally unpredictable. There was no way for the owner to anticipate and prepare for the event that destroyed so much of his valuable inventory.

 

The bookstore is Gerald Winters & Son and their specialty is all things Stephen King. They also carry other authors, notably Tolkien, but this is particularly the place to go if you collect King. The shop moved to its current location in Bangor, Maine, last year as that is King's hometown.

 

The devastation was caused by terrible flooding. Water flowed into the shop's basement, where much of the collection was stored, at an alarming speed. Herein was the issue that made it so unpredictable. It was no Nor'easter or other major weather event that caused the flooding. Rather, it was a totally unpredictable water main break in front of the store. How does one prepare for that? The pipe burst, spewing torrents of water into the basements of Winters' shop and those of his neighbors.

 

Almost six feet of water filled Winters' basement. According to the Bangor Daily News, around 2,000 items were badly damaged or destroyed, including "first and limited-edition King books, galleys, signed copies, prints in different languages, rare ephemera, and seven of King’s original manuscripts." Among the manuscripts thought lost were those for Dolan’s Cadillac, Maximum Overdrive, and The Eyes of the Dragon. Fortunately, further digging through the mud discovered that six of those manuscripts, held in a sealed plastic container, had survived the flood unscathed. They are irreplaceable and the most valuable items in the collection. Only Maximum Overdrive was destroyed.

 

In the days after the accident, Winters reported on his Facebook page that he had been spending 20 hours a day trying to salvage as much as he could and had recovered several manuscripts. Unfortunately, his family was overseas at the time and could not provide more than moral support. However, he made it clear he was not giving up, noting, "I will persevere, and fight on in the face of adversity."

 

Winters' Facebook page was filled with messages of support from friends and customers. Also expressing support was King himself. The Bangor Daily News quoted King as saying, "I’m horrified. As a book lover, my heart goes out to him. I will eventually reach out and see if I can help in any way."


Posted On: 2018-02-02 17:10
User Name: Bkwoman

What a tragedy, we extend our best wishes for success in rescuing as much of his inventory as possible. The Book Woman in Grass Valley send condolences.


Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Caius Julius Hyginus, <i>Poeticon Astronomicon,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1482. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Giovanni Botero, <i>Le Relationi Universali... divise in Sette Parti</i>, Venice, 1618. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> <i>L'Escole des Filles</i>, likely third edition of the first work of pornographic fiction in French, 1676. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Illuminated Book of Hours in Latin on vellum, Flanders, early 16th century. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes Regiomontanus, <i>Calendarium,</i> Venice, 1485. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Pedro de Medina, <i>Libro d[e] gra[n]dezas y cosas memorables de España,</i> Alcalá de Henares, 1566. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b><br>Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> Salamanca, circa 1496-97. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Andrés Serrano, <i>Los Siete Principes de los Ángeles, válidos de Rey del Cielo,</i> Spain, 1707. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes de Sacrobosco, <i>Sphaera mundi,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1478. $15,000 to $20,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> A Rare 3-rotor German Enigma I Enciphering Machine. $70,000 to $90,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Important collection of correspondence between Werner Heisenberg and Bruno Rossi. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Walt Whitman Autograph manuscript containing his thoughts on death. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> David Roberts. <i>Holy Land</i>. Six volumes. 1842-1849. First edition. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Extensive collection of Ray Bradbury's primary works, most signed or inscribed. $15,000 to $20,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Peter Force. Declaration of Independence. $12,000 to $18,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Steinbeck. <i>Grapes of Wrath</i>. A fine copy of the first edition. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Lewis & Clark. <i>Travels to the Source of the Missouri River</i>... First English edition, extra-illustrated. 1814. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Manuscript document signed by Nuno de Guzman relating to Hernan Cortes, 1528. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> “Nos los inquisidores..." The first book in English printed West of the Mississippi. [1787]. $5,000 to $8,000.

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