Bob Nakamora, acting as auctioneer, held up a volume about the size of a normal hardback book but with a faded red cover of paper. The illustration showed Holmes in his dressing gown.The bidding starts at one dollar and closes at ten dollars. This caught the attention of Paul D. Herbert, BSI, the Official Secretary of the Tankerville Club. Paul is a collector. After reading No Police Like Holmes, which is dedicated to him, Paul wrote to me the following:
"Here we have a rare edition of The Incunabular Sherlock Holmes," he announced. "There were only three hundred and fifty signed and numbered copies printed by the Baker Street Irregulars in 1958. This is number" -- he opened the cover just a crack and peered inside -- "ninety-four. What am I bid?"
"The Incunabular Sherlock Holmes is listed three times on the Antiquarian Book Exchange for the prices of $117, $200, and $250 respectively, so Chalmers got quite a bargain at the auction. Of course, it might have been a beat-up copy but then he probably wouldn't have even bid. The real story is the identity of the fool who donated the book to the auction."
As it happens, I own the very copy of that book -- number ninety-four-- described above. I don't know who donated it to the Cincinnati Public Library where I bought it at a library sale 30 years or so ago, but I'm quite grateful. I paid 25 cents.