I remember looking at a nice clean copy of Ed Ruscha's classic Twentysix Gasoline Stations in a bookstore a long time ago, mulling it over, then flipping to the front endpaper where the dealer had penciled the price, and thinking, "A hundred and twenty-five dollars? Are they nuts?"
Turns out I was. I last saw one of these a few weeks ago, reverently displayed in a glass case at a major public museum. A tatty third edition will now set you back $1,200 (a clean third more like $1,500), and Matthew Raptis, of Raptis Rare Books, in Brattleboro, Vermont, has a fine signed copy (signed twice, in fact) of the numbered, limited first edition offered for sale at (gulp!) $37,500.
I hope somebody out there just thought, "Hey, I have that book somewhere in the attic...."
P.S. If you're interested, Paul Trevor left a comment on my review of his book, defending his publisher. It's featured at the end of the review if you want to read it.
Note: Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site. More...
Original contents copyright 2011 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Comment by Burnblue: "What a coincidence…I was just talking to my father (a photo historian at UCSB) and it turns out he bought Twentysix Gasoline Stations and every other one of Ruscha's booklets for $2 each back in the '60s—and still has them. Not that he ever mentioned this to me, mind you! He tells me now, as he's preparing to sell them (along with an original Baldessari book and others). And of course, I'm living across the Pacific ocean at the moment so I won't ever get to see them *facepalm*."
Featured Comment by Joe Reifer: "Ed Ruscha And Photography provides a great overview of all of his books for $50–60."