View Full Version : Found Objects In Used Books

12-06-2006, 04:03 PM
This may have been done before, but I didn't find anything after a cursory search ... and I put it here in Cafe just because I'm laughing about the specific book in which I just found this.

Anyway, anybody have some favorite things they've found in books that they purchased from a secondhand shop? One of mine was an autographed ticket stub from a Chris Isaak concert.

Another is one I found just now, in a copy of At the Mountains of Madness and Other Tales of Terror, by Lovecraft. It's a receipt from "Eisner Food Store No. 1", dated 01/26/75. On the back are some notes. They read:

Lovecraft - At the Mtns. of Madness -

Nicholas Roerich - painter

eldritch - p 46, 114, 141, 151

Aaron Copland - died Dec 2-1990
2 strokes, respiratory problems


I love that the note-taker counted instances of "eldritch" in the book. I am also confused as to why notes that reflect knowledge of time on or after 1990 are written on the back of a receipt from 1975... maybe the date on the register was wrong.


12-06-2006, 06:37 PM
I checked out an ancientish book in Ghent from the university library; inside I found all clumped together a draft of a book review done on an old typewriter dated to the '30s (seemingly written by one of the hotshots in the field), a tram ticket from about the same time, and something else that I don't recall. I put it back in the same place when I returned the book.

Dr. Rieux
12-06-2006, 07:29 PM
I was reading a copy of Dylan Thomas' screenplay, The Doctor and the Devils, at the academic library here. It's a first edition from 1953, donated to the library in 1992. Inside, I found a Union Pacific conductor's ticket from May, 1957, for a trip from Seattle to Portland. (The price was $1.71!)
And if that weren't enough, the conductor's hole punches are in the shape of a little elephant!

12-06-2006, 07:35 PM
In a library copy of The Know-It-All by A.J. Jacobs, I found a frequent-buyer club from a yogurt store in Boca Raton with the coolest name ever: Yogurt Rendevous.

12-06-2006, 07:42 PM
How about a stack of hundreds?

I checked with the owner, and they had no idea who sold them the book. They held it for a few months, in case someone claimed it. After that we split it.

Seemed fair.

12-06-2006, 08:32 PM
I found money in a used book once. Just a single 20 dollar bill, though, not a stack of hundreds, unfortunately -- how many hundreds did you find, JSexton?

I didn't have to split my find with anyone, though. I found it in an old Judith Krantz hardback that I didn't read right away after I bought it. By the time I found the 20, I didn't remember where I'd bought the book.

Let's see, what else? I found a mass card in a used book once, from a fairly recent funeral. Newpaper clippings several times -- oldish, but not super-duper old. Religious tracts (also several times, but, unfortunately, never a Chick Tract). A postcard (not yet written in and from a city far away from the city where I bought the book) and also a completely full book of stamps. The stamps were not current, but they weren't really old either. They were worth 3 or 4 cents less than whatever the current price for First Class stamps was at the time.

12-06-2006, 09:20 PM
When I was at summer camp at Skidmore College (early 90's), I bought a copy of "The Outline of History" by H G Wells at a used bookstore in town for five bucks. Inside is both a pressed four-leaf clover and a pencil sketch on a neatly folded and labeled piece of paper of the "Eclipse of Sun. January 19 - 1925," with a signature E.W. Potter. Kinda cool.

12-06-2006, 09:23 PM
I love going to the Reader's Corner used bookstore in Raleigh not just for the books, but for the decor. They hang up all the odd things they've found in books around the bookstore.

12-06-2006, 09:50 PM
Among other papers found in an 1880s Social Encyclopedia is a photo of a handsome young man perched on a high stool, with "Uncle Hecker, June 1, 1900" written on it. I have it in an old wrought-iron frame in my bedroom. I wonder who Uncle Hecker was, and what happened to him?

12-06-2006, 09:53 PM
I like used books, so I have found many thins like receipts, and bookmarks with glurgy sentiments. But the oddest thing I have ever found was a cutout silhouette of a kitten in a copy of Barefoot in Babylon: The Creation of the Woodstock Music Festival, 1969 by Robert Stehen Spitz.

A kitten silhouette? Man, just what were they smoking at Woodstock? :eek:

Jeep's Phoenix
12-06-2006, 10:31 PM
I love going to the Reader's Corner used bookstore in Raleigh not just for the books, but for the decor. They hang up all the odd things they've found in books around the bookstore.
Cool place! I drive by there every day.

Don't know if this counts as interesting, but I found some "cheat sheets" in the back of an engineering textbook from the late '40s. They were printed by the textbook publisher, and were meant to be used on tests...but some clever student had lightly penciled in some formulas along the margins and between lines.

I love reading things students have written in old textbooks, too -- even if it's just notes about homework. The best thing to find is a written address; I love running searches on Google or Mapquest for these.

12-06-2006, 10:39 PM
I find stuff all the time in books donated to the museum where I work. In the last year alone, I've found a four-leaf clover, a lock of hair tied with a ribbon, a couple love letters, a photograph or two, shopping lists and a newspaper clipping about a lynching.

12-06-2006, 10:49 PM
I have a friend who's something of an Abraham Lincoln buff. Some years ago he bought a very old book of Lincoln's speeches. Inside was a ticket: admit one to Lincoln's funeral. He had this checked - it's apparently authentic. No telling what it's worth.

Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor
12-07-2006, 08:42 AM
In an old book my Grandfather owned, Dad found a WW2 Ration book.