Thought I had blogged this one a while ago - but have checked and apparently not!
The day before this happened, Antiques Roadshow had uncovered a Peter Rabbit first edition, and valued it at several thousand pounds. As a result, I sat quaking in my little shop, waiting for the deluge of Peter Rabbit first editions to come flooding through the doors. Actually, I only had 5. Four people were perfectly civil and quite reasonable about their books. (See I CAN be nice about customers) Then there was this one ......
Woman (Aint no lady here honey) of a certain age (the certain age was approx 65 if I am generous) stomps into the shop in her wellies and hacking jacket, She was obviously pretty wealthy judging by the cut of her jib. (She had a sailing boat moored up outside). and exclaims in a loud and rather posh voice.
"I have a first edition Peter Rabbit I am willing to sell you"
"Are you sure it is a first edition, there aren't many around"
"Of course I am, it was brought for my grandmother as a child... I know how much they are worth, so don't you try to con me"
The book in question was bought out, and placed down for my perusal. I could see immediately (Cos I am ded clever) that all was not as it should be. (The plastic laminate cover was an immediate give away) so I asked a few further questions.
"You are sure that this is the same book your grandmother was given"
"Of course I am, don't be ridiculous"
"You didn't buy another copy to read at some point, to protect and older one"
"No, this is a first edition, and don't you try to rip me off, I know it is worth several thousand pounds"
She was irritating me by this point, so I decided I couldn't be bothered playing any more.
"Madam, this book was not given to your grandmother, unless she was already quite old when she got it. This book was published in 1984. There is an ISBN on the verso of the title page, and a barcode chip. ISBN's were not introduced in this country until 1971 (See how much you learn on this blog!!!!) and computer barcodes were certainly not around in Victorian England. To make it even more certain, there is a printing date of July 1984 just here (showing her the offending date at the back of the book). This book is a modern copy not a first edition, and is worth about a pound.
A bony grabbing little hand came out in a flash "Well just give me a pound for it then"
Now do you think she A) got a pound of me for the book or B) got verbally thrown out of the shop with a Paddington stare following her ?