A Pound of Paper (book) | Wiki | Everipedia

Plot Summary:

A highly recommended gift for anyone that has a deep-rooted love of books, this brilliantly readable and funny book tells how a boy from the Australian bush came to be living in a Paris penthouse with a library worth millions. In A Pound of Paper, John Baxter shares his obsession, bringing us into contact with literary greats such as Graham Greene and Kingsley Amis as well introducing us to his world, the world of the fanatical collector: not only the kind who buys from catalogues or at auction and takes away their treasures in bubble wrap to store in metal filing cabinets, but also the sleuth who uses bluff and guile to track down his quarry - a rare first edition worth thousands.By the 1960s a copy of Graham Greene's Brighton Rock without its dust jacket was worth about 500 GBP. But with its dust jacket more like 2000 GBP - if you could find one. The last copy with a perfect jacket to come on the market changed hands at 50,000 GBP. Brighton Rock was a high-point, but first editions of other early Greene books weren't much less valuable. And then there were signed copies, foreign printings, limited editions, numbered and signed... John Baxter caught the collecting bug in the winter of 1978 when he found a rare copy of Greene's children's book The Little Horse Bus while browsing in a second-hand market in Swiss Cottage. It was going for 5p. It would also, fortuitously, be the day that he first encountered one of the legends of the bookselling world: Martin Stone. At various times cokehead, pothead, alchoholic, international fugitive from justice and professional rock musician (said to knock Eric Clapton into a cocked hat), he would become John's mentor and friend, and a central figure in this book. John Baxter introduces us to his world, the world of the fanatical collector: not only the kind who buys from catalogues or at auction and takes away the booty in bubble wrap to store in metal filing cabinets - but also the sleuth, the one who uses bluff and guile to hunt down his quarry. Along the way we meet a cast of eccentric characters like Driff Field who only collects books about suicide or by writers who have killed themselves; we meet the completists, the condition freaks, the rich and famous - from Barry Humphries and Harvey Weinstein to Sarah Michelle Gellar. [1]