PBOTD 15th June: Judith M Berrisford - Jackie's Pony Patrol

PBOTD for 15th June is Judith M Berrisford's Jackie's Pony Patrol. One question I was often asked in my bookselling days was where I found books to sell. The vast majority of the books I sold I bought from collectors who'd either decided to sell off their collections, or sell their duplicates and books they'd decided they didn't want to keep. I liked buying large numbers of books at a time. It saved time, for one thing, as the alternative was to traipse round charity shops and boot sales endlessly and as anyone who has done that will know, you don't find enough books to stock a shop that way if you're a specialist.

Brockhampton, 1961, illus Geoffrey Whittam
The very first collection I bought was from someone living at the other end of the county, and came about because I'd been featured in Country Living as someone who sold pony books. The telephone rang a few days afterwards. Would I, the voice asked, be interested in buying her collection of old books? Her children weren't interested (as I was to learn, a very common reason for selling a collection) and she wanted the books to go to people who'd enjoy them.

Armada, pb, 1960s
So, I turned up to find out she'd decided to go hunting that morning, but had left her husband in charge. There were two boxes of Jill hardbacks, Pat Smythe paperbacks and plenty of other stuff too. I paid, and then attempted to drive off. In my nervousness at this first major essay into the bookselling world (I must be a real bookseller if I was buying actual collections) I'd broken my golden rule and not reversed into the very awkward parking space. I couldn't get out. Fortunately Mr Seller came and rescued me. 

The collection included some lovely early Jackies with dustjackets. They were very pretty. Oh good, I thought. They'll sell. Only they didn't. In the end, despite several price cuts they st there for years and they're now on my shelves. That was another thing I learned. There are fashions in books, and it took a while before it swung back in Jackie's favour. It took ten years before I finally found Jackie books selling.
Armada pb, 1980s


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