Challenge,  Fun Stuff

A Sort-Of Day Off… And Black Books…

Without Really Taking the Day Off…

You know how that goes… You sort of think you are going to take the day to rest, but then end up puttering a bunch of stuff done. Yup, that was me today.

Finished up email, worked on a workshop, did laundry, got some research done of the UHaul for the final July move to bring the marbles, digests, files, and extra author copies down to the Vegas office.

And three naps. Guess I was tired. (grin)

Black Books…

I have mentioned to a few people that I bought a long time ago a mountain of gold, just could never get to mining it. This mountain of gold is about 720 bound months of the Oregonian Newspaper from 1905 or so through 1990. They were bound in big black books to use in libraries, then never used. They sat in a dark, dry warehouse, some of them for over a hundred years.

In other words, the Sunday comics, the car and other ads in them are ALL MINT. And so are all the front pages. Some of the mint Sunday comics, in bright color, from the 1930s through the 1960s can sell for hundreds of dollars per page. Car ads, food ads, amazing ads, all can sell for a few bucks each to a hundred bucks. Sold one early Chevy ad for $200. Sold some Coca Cola ads for over a hundred.

We started to get the comics and ads out of a few of the black books. Maybe four or five at most, didn’t really get to selling them much before we sold all the stores and shut two of them down and we still made over $2,000 from the black books.

A mountain of gold.

So finally I got the black books uncovered from piles of other boxes and shelving and could take some pictures of them. This is pure gold, but the mining would take a full-time job and a massive eBay account. I gave up finally and sold them to Bob at our local bookstore. He will sell them one at a time without cutting them apart.

It takes a huge UHaul to move these 700 plus books because of the weight. So here are pictures just for fun. One last look at solid gold, solid history before they vanish once again into another warehouse.

Yup, I had some really cool collections…

Black Books (bound newspapers) from one angle…

From another

From another



  • James Mendur

    Where did you find those black books? I’d like to go digging for gold but it always helps to consult people with experience to know where to dig. (Kinda like reading this blog and Kris’s blog if you want to be a successful indie author.)

    • dwsmith

      The guy I sold them back to found them from the Oregonian newspaper when the newspaper, finally, after over a hundred years, cleared out a warehouse. He bought them and damn near destroyed a medium-sized UHaul truck to get them to the coast. Then he discovered how many there were and didn’t have room for them, so he asked me if I wanted them and I bought them with the intent of mining all the gold. After four years, we managed to only get to four or five for a very short time. I have owned them for another two years after we shut the stores down. They have been just sitting there, in my warehouse, behind a wall of shelves and piles of boxes. Finally dug them out and since my warehouse is going away, I sold them back to the same guy who originally bought them because after six years he now has room. But he wasn’t sure he really wanted them.

      Any person who wants to buy them all, Bob and I both would be glad to sell them. Cost is $15,000 for the entire stack and they would have to be moved by the middle of July. UHaul, 26 foot, will hold the weight.

      To mine them it would be a full-time job for years, and you would need an eBay account to sell all the ads, comics, and such. We figured that per book there could be upwards of three or four hundred things to sell, if not more, counting front pages, comics, ads, and special articles. We cut out the ads and comics and rolled them and put them in tubes and sealed the tubes. We have a few hundred in tubes that would go along with the black books. If you love history, this would be a business for you. One person could make a living from just that stack for years and years.

  • Teri Babcock

    Dean, after I commented on those books the first time I thought for days about making you an offer for them! Between the shipping and storage and the border being closed it was more than I could do. Damn.

    • dwsmith

      Yeah, just hauling them across the border wouldn’t work these days. Can’t even imagine tackling that. (grin)

      But they are tempting, that’s for sure.

    • dwsmith

      If you love writing historical fiction, there would be thousands of stories in those pages. I wish more than anything I could keep them. Ahh, well.