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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Yaffe

Sticker shock

Apparently, it’s not just gas and hotel rooms: Pandemic-era inflation has also hit the rare book market.

Or so we learned from a recent story in Britain’s Telegraph newspaper, which noted that a first edition of Pride and Prejudice sold earlier this spring for £70,000 (about $86,000), or £87,500 (about $108,000) with fees -- more than double what such a book typically fetched just six years ago.

Capitalizing upon the thinnest of excuses, the Telegraph illustrated its story with swoony stills from not only the 2005 movie of P&P but also the recently concluded second season of Bridgerton – because, apparently, popular period screen adaptations have stoked collectors’ interest in classic books.

"Collectors have spare money built up throughout lockdown, which they weren’t spending on trips and eating out, and they are using that money to buy literature they are really passionate about,” Clive Moss of Chiswick Auctions told the newspaper.

During lockdown, my family also saved money on trips and eating out. We did not, however, save enough to spend north of $100,000 on a single book, however treasured. Just as well, really, given how much gas costs these days.


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