bc The book estate; collection of the late Tom Ebbage; the story of the examination and eventual disposal.

8th December, 2003
Today developed into a sunny day and it was the first such day for a couple of weeks. The lorry (seemingly longer than this house) arrived a little after 1 pm. The sight of this giant vehicle momentarily made my legs weak but it turned out that the boxes only occupied a small part. Luckily I'd decided to have the cartons (240 large fruit type, most not sealed) unloaded into the garage, hoping that there would still be space for the station wagon. To stop damage from the concrete floor I'd rolled out plastic sheeting topped with opened out cardboard cartons. With me helping it took 90 minutes for us to unload the truck. Possibly I should have left the unloading to the two young blokes but I had to have a look!

The truck has now departed and the garage is shut, as I let off an insect b o m b (spaces there for reasons you may know) to wipe out any wildlife. I'll give it 3 hours then open up. I'll snap a photo or two and load it for you to have a look later. There IS still room for the car, the cartons being piled 6 high.

The collection should include every BOA, Chums, (many of these are however, damaged), Bunter, The Captain less 1 volume, Howard Baker reg and ltd ed less the several scarce volumes, much Boys Friend, Magnet, Gem, Modern Boy, BFL, SOL, most schoolboy fiction hardbacks, Picture Post, 19th Century Bulletins, many Graphic and London Illus News. There's a lot of material of nil interest (for me) which will go into the Penrith Library book fair. For example, American history & politics, Australian politics and so on.

You're wondering about girls' books? I've spotted Bessie Marchant (yawn!) but nothing else of interest. But this is just glancing at the items of top and I did pick up EJO and EBD hardbacks previously. Biggles, etc.? I cleared these out a couple of years ago via swapping for cricket books but there are still some on the tops. Most of the cricket went to another collector mate of mine, in Melbourne. I'm wondering if this included all of Tom's correspondence with 'The Don', as he used to write to him back in the 1940s and 50s.

I had to start somewhere! A bad pick as it was American politics with most of the books damaged by cockroaches along the edges. Some lovely books, pretty good otherwise. Does anyone know how to remove the black trails they leave along the page ends? Sandpaper? Or should I just dump them?

Should mention I rang the council and asked if books can go into the paper recyclable garbage pickup. Lady's response was "A few each week otherwise they'll ignore them", meaning they'll be treated as commercial waste and I'll have to pay to have 'em carted away.

So ends report one. Should I upload any photos I'll paste the link in.

The TV ratings have finished for the year. Sorting 240 cartons of books is a good replacement. Can too many books really be "too many'?

9th December
Further updates will appear here, most likely. Best find in the first few boxes - 5 yearly bound volumes of the Boy's Friend. Note that unwanted school fiction will go onto Barbara's sales lists

10th December
11 cartons of Americana, Australiana, politics and history (aaph from now on) delivered to PCL plus 2 for disposal. Best finds include most issues of The Silver Jacket including the missing Biggles covered issues, bound volume of The Champion from #1, various bound volumes of The Magnet and The Gem from Syd Smyth's collection plus 37 of the 38 post war Bunter books, all in jackets. wonder where the missing one is?

11th December
15 cartons delivered to Croydon Park Psby Recycling Centre. A big day as this was the day on which I had to organise cheques for the property settlement. 35C in the shade and humid; by the time I arrived home it was too steamy to do any further sorting.

12th December
Now I'm really making headway; some nice early Christmas numbers of THE STRAND and similar, and the following two items.

The first was not unexpected! But it's in poor condition with half on the title page missing and many other faults. In need of a complete restoration which would involve disassembly. 'Floreat Greyfriars', though, was totally unexpected and the one item of Hamiltonia I've been after for decades. For those not in the know, it's a 12" recording of an interview with Charles Hamilton / 'Frank Richards'. I'm saving it for Christmas. Lots of good items have come to light, a number of which have homes waiting with mates. Generally I've been wading though boxes of American, Oz and British history with lots of politics. Most is going to the library or op shop above. It's the story papers and dated annuals which will be going into my collection. The Howard Baker facsimiles have surfaced and these will be sold off, after filling in my own gaps and upgrading copies. What to do, though, with the hundreds of Illustrated London News and Saturday Evening Posts? I will probably keep the Picture Post collection, these being one of my favourite mags of the period.

17th December
Thanks to Owen for his advice re cockroach stains: " Emery paper ...I use these types of papers on some of my really browned stained Ob's and dependent upon the paper used for printing, these papers sometimes work a treat. However, make sure the pages are gripped tight and don't rush the job. Quick light pressure I've found to be the best and always use good quality paper that's had little use. / Continue using a paper until it starts being ineffective, then dump it and start using a fresh piece. Sometimes a sandpaper ends up getting folded several times, but it still works a treat. Some types of emery cloth are OK too, but be careful of the black stuff. Grey is fine. Some glass papers are OK too, some being better than sandpaper. All are cheap to buy and it's worth trying them out on the worst book because with this one you can do no harm."

18th December
5.30 and a foggy morning; these days I wake up early, anxious to get 'stuck in'. So many boxes inspected and yet I'm not halfway through. Good material is getting a brush then going back into cartons so it's unlikely I'll give many details here until I do a later resort. Numerous volumes of boys' papers predating BOP have been unearthed together with stacks of single issues and more annuals than I'll ever to able to index.

Only one copy of this 'Strand-sized' monthly but it's one I've read of but never seen a actual sample. 32pp plus covers, published in Sydney, this issue dated 4th April, 1914.

A 'sporting' magazine, with articles on boxing, fencing, swimming and general 'keep fit' subjects. Also humour in the shape of an article called 'Shark Tickling'!

Includes two full-page boxing plates of Arythur Pelkey and Bill Lang.

And so it continues ...


19th December

MAN, April, 1941

#12, 28.11.1942, published by 2KY, Sydney

22nd December
Greg (of WIDE WORLD fame :), son/apprentice Oliver and pal Steve arrived on Saturday to look through stuff I'd removed for their examination. They kindly drove away with a boot-full of books and mags, including some early though damaged bound volumes of the 'Illustrated London News'. Thankfully they delivered a goodly supply of Sylvia's superlative scones. Mmmmm, says John.

Hundreds of boys' annuals have been checked and sorted according to condition. These and the many cartons of story papers will take the next 125 years to index. A pity though about the hundreds of early British comics, most of which are the worse for wear, many having been folded/rolled in bundles. I've had to throw out scores of these and story papers such as 'Triumph' which lack pages, etc. Another 30 cartons of books and mags for the library. B took 6 in her small wagon and stands in the back of the garage so you can judge the quantity of stuff remaining. And later, a pic of my big wagon loaded with more than a dozen cartons about to head off down the mountain.

24th December
Yesterday I worked in the garage from 9am until 9.30pm in an effort to examine everything before tomorrow. Still more startling discoveries but to illustrate just one, an advertising BOP postcard found inside a Boy's Own Annual for 1907.

1st January, 2004
I'm in the process of sorting of good material and disposing of unwanted damaged stuff now. Below is something I consider a really nice find; anything in the comic line from Australia during WW2 is choice! Front and back, 10 nice interior pages.

28th February, 2004

This painting of Inveresk House comes from a supplement to the Illustrated London News, 6th October, 1928. Known as the home of THE GREAT EIGHT, it originally housed 'The Morning Post'.

The '8' were:

The 40-page supplement includes a cut-away centre spread of the building, illustrations of early editions of the papers, 'From press photograph to printing block in 45 minutes' - a photo article on the entire process and a multitude of illustrated ads for the companies which assisted in the process.

This is what I term 'an invaluable find'!

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