Saturday, April 2, 2011

Interesting Seller Commentary

Sometimes listings appear which have remarkable commentary.  This can take the form of seller rants or major misinformation.  I am sometimes amused by what I read, but other times, I am horrified.

Carolyn Keene Signed Nancy Drew Mysterious Letters Book

Several collectors in the Nancy Drew Sleuths group expressed doubt as to whether the book was actually signed by Mildred Wirt Benson.  The signature does not quite match other known examples.  However, no one can be sure, since we all sign our names differently at different times.

The seller stated that the book was signed in person.  If this is true, then the signature is real.  Buyers have to make a decision and act accordingly.

What is unfortunate is that the seller reacted badly to some communication that was received from prospective buyers.  I get the idea that a few people may have been rude to the seller.  We know this from the rant that the seller added to the description.
CLARIFICATION for ebay ass holes who thing they know it all.

Mildred Wirt Benson was the ghost writer of this book, earning between $150.00 and $250.00 for each version written. She worked at the Toledo Blade until the day she died, while getting ill at work, she was 96 I think, she was a journalist for 58 years. She wrote a weekly column there on the elderly and gettting old. She was a cratchedy old fart, but nice once you got to know her. She signed this book in person, as Carolyne Keene, which was the pen name the books were written under for those of you that I confused, or those of you who feel the need to be know it alls who send email to pontificate on your own self worth.

Its rare to get one signed by her, under the penn name, and harder to get one signed under her real name, which I also posess, but am not selling.

I hope this clears up any misconceptions, I will include aletter of authentication with this item from myself, signed and dated.

Yikes.  First off, as annoying as some people are when they ask questions, sellers should remain professional and keep their true feelings to themselves.  The seller may have had reason to be angry, since I have seen some very rude comments appear in the question and answer section of past auctions.  On the other hand, the seller may have overreacted, as some people do.

Regarding the seller's comments, Mildred Wirt Benson did not write Nancy's Mysterious Letter, so the seller was mistaken. Could Mildred have signed it anyway?  Yes.  I am pretty sure I recall reading about one time when a collector mistakenly had one of the Karig books signed by Mildred.  The collector realized her mistake at some point and felt odd about it, but I do not believe Mildred was ever aware.

This auction was for a Red Gate Farm book with the Tandy dust jacket.

1st ed Nancy Drew SECRET OF THE RED BARN .unread !D/J

Incredable chance to grab an American legend

1st printing of nancy drew with dust jacket that caused an uproar and was pulled off the shelves and the artwork redone..

This book is in unread condition tight pages spine....UNOPENED

dust jacket is hangin' in there but needs a good home.

Original owners name printed on inside

Please ask any questions as i'm a carpenter and don't know that much about books.*^_^*
I have collected Nancy Drew books for 20 years, and I have never heard that the Red Gate Farm jacket was pulled due to the cult members resembling the KKK.  This is because the jacket was never pulled due to controversy.  The jacket was in print for close to 20 years.  The jacket art changed at the same time that Grosset and Dunlap revised the dust jackets for #1-9 and #11.

I wondered where the seller got that information, and soon into the auction, the seller posted a response to a question.  In that response, the seller stated that the information came from the seller's grandmother.


Paula said...

I agree with you and was happy to see your comment about buyers making their own decisions when questionable claims are made that cannot be proven one way or the other.

I was the only bidder on a photograph that the ebay seller described as a 1945 photo of Millie Benson at The Toledo Blade. The seller was questioned by someone named Jenn (I had to assume it was Jenn Fisher, although I'm not sure) about the authenticity, since 1) the photograph did not look like Mildred Benson to the questioner, based on her stated experience with having seen pictures of the author from this period, and 2) the author was at the Toledo Times in 1945. I'm not sure if it was noted in the question, but I could also add that Mildred was still married to Asa Wirt in 1945, and did not become "Millie Benson" until 1950. The seller replied to the question publicly, for all to see, that she personally didn't know, but the information was written on the back of the photograph.

The date "10/30/45" is written on a huge roll in the picture, and the clothing of the subjects is also circa 1945, so that part seems certain. I compared the photograph to pictures of Mildred Wirt Benson that are available on the internet, and based on the angle of the photograph "looking back over the shoulder", I personally thought the photo could very well be the famous author, especially when compared to photos of the young Mildred. Knowing how information gets written on the backs of photographs years later, I took that to mean that someone identified the girl in the photo as "Millie Benson" at "The Toldedo Blade" years after the photo was actually taken. I also found indications online that The Toldeo Times was actually merged with the Toledo Blade for many years before they actually stopped publishing a paper under the Times label. At any rate, certainly, the histories of the two papers overlap and they are often confused and seen as one newspaper. (If you do a Google search for "Toledo Times", the home page for The Toldeo Blade is the first search item returned.) Finally, the ebay seller of the photograph was located in Toledo, Ohio.

I'm sure the question from what appeared to be a Nancy Drew expert prevented other collectors from bidding. I felt the seller was honest enough to post the question publicly and was not running a scam. So that still leaves us with the question of whether it is really Mildred Wirt Benson in the photo or not.

The bottom line is we can't be sure, at least from what is now known. I felt it was worth bidding on and I'm happy I have the photograph! If I ever write my own blog, this will be my first topic! I hope to someday authenticate / or disprove the identity of the girl in the picture. But for now, to me, it is Millie Benson! ;)

Jennifer said...

It sounds like an interesting item! I have taken risks in situations similar to yours on the chance that the item might be genuine. You never can be sure about autographs or unusual items like your photo, but taking a calculated risk can yield some great results.

In the case of the book mentioned in this post, the opening bid was just $25, so from that position, it is not odd that someone did buy the book. I never did investigate and compare the autographs as some others did, so I have no idea whether the autograph could be real. In any case, $25 is not that much to spend on the chance that the autograph is real.

Jenn said...

Yes that was me (Jenn) who asked the question. I've done a lot of research on Millie Benson and have seen a lot of photos of her over the years--including ones of her when she was younger, and to me this doesn't scream that it looks like her. In any other photo I've seen of her, you just know it's her, but this one, I didn't get that at all. I had to struggle to make that identification so I asked the seller if he could provide further info about it or how it was identified as her.


Paula said...

Thanks for posting, Jenn - I thought it was you. :) Your question was very polite (I didn't at all mean to imply it was a rude one!) and I was wondering myself about the source of the photo. After the sale, I asked the seller how she got the photo. Since she had no personal knowledge of its subject, I wasn't surprised to learn that it was found at a flea market on the outskirts of Toledo. That didn't bother me though - I realized there was no provenance for the photo by the seller's reply to your question.

An interesting thing about the photo is the writing that was on the back. Three phrases that were written on the back were each written at different times by different persons, as evidenced by the variety of handwriting and pens used. The writing was simply: "1945", Millie Benson, and Toledo Blade. At least that fits with my theory that someone identified the woman and the location at a later date. Anyway, it's a "mysterious" item to own, LOL!

Coffeegulper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Coffeegulper said...

OMG, the listing mentioning that the 1st cover artwork of "Red Gate Farm" was purportedly pulled because of furor over the resemblance to KKK members REALLY cracked me up when I recently saw it! LOL


Although inaccurate (not to mention ridiculous), these occasional and erroneous listings are sure worth their weight in gold for the entertainment value alone. :)