Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Pair of Habs Bargain Book Finds


Ever had one of those days when you walk into a store, with no real intentions to buy anything, then luck in on a great deal?

Last weekend, I had one of those. My goal was to find a small printer cart or table for my fiancée and her two girls. After not finding any to my liking, or that were reasonably priced, I spotted a discount/clearance store across the street from where I was parked.

“Couldn’t hurt to try,” I said to myself so in I went.

With no luck in the small furniture area, I noticed a used book area in the far corner and decided to see what was there.

I found the sports shelf, and thumbed my way through. Low and behold, there stood out the greatest hockey book ever written, Ken Dryden’s “The Game”.

It was in excellent shape, in light of a small tear on the sleeve in the corner, but on opening it I realized that this was a very early edition (4th printing).

My only other copy was a paperback release, that I had in my possession for over 20 years. To find an early printing was quite a treat, especially at the price of $3.99.

There was even an old 1984 First Choice (now the Movie Network) card calendar between one of the pages. So this copy had likely not been handled too often, and likely by just one owner.

Then I found something peculiar. A page or two in, the inscription “John, He Shoots, he scores! Sincerely, Gordie Howe” was written in blue pen.

The signature had been written over slightly in marker. An added bonus, I wondered. But why would Gordie Howe sign Ken Dryden’s book?

IMG00018-20100129-1751 Later in the day I researched Mr. Howe’s signature, but alas the one in the book doesn’t match up to any I saw online. Perhaps John’s father did it to cheer him up, who knows.

Working my way through the books I hit another jackpot. “Thunder and Lightning” by John Ferguson, and Stan and Shirley Fischler.

This was a better find for me than the other book as for months I had been tracking down a decent copy of this book. A few times it pops up on eBay or in Amazon’s used lists, but my timing, or the ridiculous shipping costs, kept me away from it.

The timing couldn’t have been better either, given the Georges Laraque mess that was going on in Montreal. Here in my hand was the autobiography of the man who basically created the enforcer position, while at the same time the Canadiens had just bought out the man they thought could carry that role or them.

Off to the checkout I went, and passed over the money for my new finds plus a 75th Anniversary NHL book, just under $13 after taxes well spent.

As for the printer cart, I did manage to find one on sale the next day. A successful weekend all around.

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