Friday, 6 June 2014

PBOTD 6th June: Pat Smythe - The Three Jays Lend a Hand

One vital skill you need to learn when you're buying anything you intend to resell at a profit is what to buy. As another dealer told me, it's not making you any money while it's sitting on the shelf. You have to buy what will sell: and that's not necessarily what you like. You soon learn that just because you like it, that doesn't mean anyone else will. 

I learned very early on that Pat Smythe's Three Jays series does have its fans: but unfortunately not that many. I found that however beautiful my first editions were, and however immaculate their dustjackets, I still couldn't sell the things. I found there was a discrepancy between what sellers thought these books were worth - but I loved Pat Smythe, they would say, and aren't the books beautiful? - and what I could sell them for. Less than the sellers wanted for them, which doesn't work as a profit-making technique.

Cassell, 1st edn, 1961, illus Keith Money
The books do look lovely: their jackets, by J E McConnell and Keith Money, are gorgeous. Unfortunately, the books haven't welded themselves into the consciousness of the pony book reader in the same way that the Pullein-Thompsons and the Jill books did. My theory is that the books were celebrity vehicles: they sold because of who Pat was, and not because of the quality of the stories. When her star waned, so did the Three Jays'.


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