The Singing Garden.... by C. J. Dennis

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Gary Harding
Posts: 490
Joined: Sat Oct 12, 2013 3:26 pm
Location: Hervey Bay, Qld (ex Victorian)

The Singing Garden.... by C. J. Dennis

Post by Gary Harding » Sat Dec 31, 2016 5:52 pm

It is interesting to see a (signed) copy of The Singing Garden (C.J. Dennis) on eBay.

For the price of a mere $1,500 (Buy It Now) it could be yours.!! ... fresh=true

It has no dust jacket(!) and its condition is (I would say) .. "Very Good".. as described.

Dennis devotees might take an interest in this item?

I note that it is open to a Make an Offer.

My own copy (unsigned, no just jacket, excellent condition) has a bookseller's mark of $12.50. The last copy that I am aware of to change hands publicly was about $140 as I recall. Yes a copy was also for sale for ages from somewhere in the Dandenong Ranges with a worn jacket for something like $500-$600 but I gather there were no takers. That price which was always very optimistic in my view, was never an indication of the valuation of the book! Past sales are an "indication" and not some high asking price.

The Singing Garden is a scarce book, bordering on rare... for sure.

The front dedication is to Hugh (Adam) and his wife Lysbeth, "friends of Mr. and Mrs Dennis" refer.. page 39, item 85 (c)

https://researchdataonline.research.uwa ... %20Gye.pdf

Underneath are inscribed names Hugh and Lysbeth, which may or may not be signatures of Mr. and Mrs. Adam. I would naturally like to think that they are.
No particular provenance is supplied with the book I gather. The original sale document from the bookseller who sold it to the current seller would be nice to see.. however...

So what is a fair price for this book? Good Question. Obviously what a buyer and seller happily agree upon.

By itself the book might fetch $130 to $180.. and if someone has paid far in excess of that for one well it means there is a keen Dennis fan with a love of Den matched by deep enough pockets to back it up! Great! If I saw an unsigned copy I would grab it for $70 and not much more, as I am a collector but also I have a copy.

So now you add a signature.

I believe that a genuine Lawson signature is worth about $500 and a Paterson inscription about twice that.

What is a Dennis signature worth? Of course I could reasonably estimate!! but not in writing on here. Hey I could be miles out! My valuation would definitely disappoint the Seller.

The book is scarce, but a signed scarce book certainly makes it rare and not something bought at Target.

What a great book for any C J Dennis enthusiast to own. Be proud of. And protect too for posterity.. a particular thing of mine. However unless one has a bank balance that treats prices like $1500 with contempt, well.... a price point is needed where one loses no sleep at night from paying it. At $1500.. I would never sleep again!... but..

Anyway, as I have no intention of bidding I am happy to mention it on here.... and will download the pics kindly provided by the Seller for my document archive.
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Shelley Hansen
Posts: 2012
Joined: Sun May 04, 2014 5:39 pm
Location: Maryborough, Queensland

Re: The Singing Garden.... by C. J. Dennis

Post by Shelley Hansen » Mon Jan 02, 2017 11:09 am

A very interesting treasure, Gary!

I would likewise baulk at $1500, though the price may seem reasonable to an avid collector.

I am very happy to have picked up my unsigned copy of "The Singing Garden" in a second-hand op shop in Melbourne about 4 years ago. It is an original edition with no dust jacket but in near perfect condition. I got it for $30!

It'll do me! :D

Shelley Hansen
Lady of Lines

"Look fer yer profits in the 'earts o' friends,
fer 'atin' never paid no dividends."
(CJ Dennis "The Mooch o' Life")

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Gary Harding
Posts: 490
Joined: Sat Oct 12, 2013 3:26 pm
Location: Hervey Bay, Qld (ex Victorian)

Re: The Singing Garden.... by C. J. Dennis

Post by Gary Harding » Mon Jan 02, 2017 3:14 pm

Yes it is a lot of fun Shelley!!! :) :)

An entertaining bush poetry topic. One of those things where there is no particular right answer I suppose.

I like an auction where a genuine Seller, as opposed to a pure kite-flyer, sets a minimum and realistic price they would be happy with and then lets the competing interests (if they are there) take over.

I am not into setting ridiculous prices and then saying Make An Offer. Sale by tender effectively.

This particular book is just nowhere near that GOOD in my opinion. A very nice piece sure, but only if bought at a sane price.... also no dust jacket, so it is not even complete! I wonder why not. Also no provenance relating to any prior ownership that might validate the other signatures (of Adam's family?).

Any premium is due to the author's signature only, and not every Dennis enthusiast is necessarily a collector or appreciator of those. Fair enough too. One can certainly enjoy Den's writing without the burden of being a "collector"... (you need to be a bit eccentric to be one of those!)

OK so we postulate that the book itself would likely be bought somewhere between $100 - $200. If C. J. Dennis is your real passion, and you do not have a copy, that is a reasonable price IMO.
Here you are buying a signature too ... maybe $200 for that? maybe not.
A Dennis signature? less than Lawson and Paterson.

I dunno.... $300 - $400 might be a reasonable "estimate" for the book? The C.J. Dennis market today is not particularly strong. If one could find someone willing to pay even that. I would not pay it. To me it is still a lot for a book. But a dedicated competing situation might squeeze a bit more for it... not much though.

Hence my fascination and surprise when I saw the $1500 price tag. A disparity which is unusual. Mind you if two fanatical interests with deep pockets bid against each other at auction anything is possible... but I am talking about a rational market.

A ridiculously high Buy It Now price might fool people into believing that particular price is somewhere near its value/worth, but people with that sort of money are not normally fooled.. and so it goes around.
You also have to love that bird-poetry which some might believe was not Den's strong point? There was only ever one edition which also might suggest something about its popularity... or not. Buyers might prefer The Sentimental Bloke with a signature instead for their money. I would!

Having a passion for Dennis I find this to be an interesting topic. Collecting (at sane prices) and preserving his work is important I think. But that again is just my opinion and others may well disagree...

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