One of America’s foremost rare-book appraisers hangs on in the digital age

by:CAI YI JIE     2019-09-06
\"Hey, want to see something cool?
Alan stepke galloped down the aisles of the bookstore.
Big guy, bucket-
Chest, push 70, thin white hair with a New York accent (
Brooklyn, under the shadow of Long Island).
A little closer, something of a conspiracy happened: \"Would you like to see this?
Look, hey, this is an invitation that I can\'t refuse.
Stypeck is an impossible character, the bigger one. than-
People say there is no life competition in the button. down Beltway.
He is the manager of the second story book, one of the most important rare books and manuscript appraisers in the United States, and a regular visitor to the \"Chesapeake collection\" on Maryland Public Television. Over his four-
Ten years of career, this \"want to see something cool?
Gambit may be referring to John J for $11 million.
The American Bird of Audubon
Jim\'s golden tooth mummy from the Detroit gangster;
Henry Kissinger\'s thesis; dinosaur eggs;
Or the first edition of The Great Gatsby, filled in the \"tired\" hint error on page 205, which will let you know that the book you hold may be worth $100,000 or more.
Stypeck will bury you in a blizzard of knowledge, history and detail.
\"Who is Aurel Stein?
\"One day he buckled me in the aisle and described the material he and the staff assessed that afternoon. (A Hungarian-
Early British scholars19th-
The ancient Buddhist scriptures were discovered on China\'s century adventures, but you know. )
\"Who is Lionel Trilling? ” (20th-
American literary critic of the century. )
\"Manuel da Kosta? ” (15th-
The Jesuit missionaries of the century and the family of bibli. )
\"Anyone who works here must know 80% of these things.
\"On rare days, you can see Stypeck at the top Dupont Circle on the second floor.
On the last weekend of April, he and his wife and business partner, Kim, will display some merchandise at the Washington antique book fair at the Stephens club in downtown Washington.
For those who are fascinated by the books under the glass, this is an annual party
Modern first edition, Civil War letter signed by Hamiltonera heroes.
But most of the time, it\'s in the warehouse on the second floor in Rockville, Maryland.
He can see the heart of his idol empire.
You can see this place as the embodiment of his thoughts: Comprehensive, curious, eclectic, overwhelming, and sometimes even completely strange.
Stypeck asked me to follow him into a shabby gray storage room.
There is a row of cartons in front of us.
They keep 78 old records. to-
Tape, scrapbook, record book and files.
It doesn\'t look so cool.
I fell down to my knee and looked carefully and pulled out a thin spiral --bound datebook.
The date is 1942.
Looking through the first few pages, I noticed the amount of railway expenses (“$67. 05 Fare —$17. 10 Pullman”).
Then I stopped and drew in one breath.
On Sunday the 18 th, a handwritten entry wrote: \"Woody has been retained for Russian war relief. $12. 00. Brooklyn. (
They will mail. )9 p. m. 152 E 94th St. ”“Woody —
\"Yes,\" said stepke, who was standing in front of me, \"Woody Gersley.
\"It turns out that I have the personal diary of Almanac singer Arthur Stern in my hand.
Stern sang with Gersley, Pete Seeger and other idols.
Datepbook is 75 years old and is the original document of one of the most profound social and music movements of the 20 th centuryCentury America
This is a small part of the collection at hand.
Unfold on fluorescence
In front of us, in all these boxes, the bright floor is the deadly relic of the magical mystery journey, which is \"beyond the name of the radio, \"The Bob Fass show, which ran for half a century on WBAI, New York.
Fass\'s show is \"anti-culture\" before the term appears \".
It is known as the \"midwife\" of the left-wing art and political movement in 1960 \".
Jerry Jeff Walker wrote:
One night, Bojangles sang the song on the air.
Arlo Guthrie performed \"Alice\'s Restaurant\" for the first time on the show \".
Dylan is a regular visitor.
Years later, the Smithsonian of Fass-
The horizontal treasure house of artwork, souvenirs and original recordings has already appeared here, allowing Stypeck to make an assessment and in some way formally determine its market value.
Actually, it\'s cool. “Did I tell ya?
\"Said Stypeck. “Did I tell ya?
If you love-and rare-
Bookstore, like the warehouse here, I have a bad news.
The universe of this ancient print page cannot disappear completely.
But unlike the universe we live in, it is shrinking.
D. in the 1980 s. C.
There are 50 or 60 areas to useand rare-book stores.
Today, depending on the width of your cast and the definition of your terms, this may be less than a dozen.
In the area, there are books on Capitol Hill and Riverbyon Capitol Hill, the second story of the Dupont Circle and the lanterns of Georgetown.
But even determined elements like batby and Quill & Brush have closed their storefronts like dozens of others across the country and are now operating at home through appointments and mail orders.
Susan Benn, executive director of the American Association of antique booksellers, said the organization has about 450 members, but estimates that 60% of them do not have open storefronts and the overall number of dealers continues to decline.
What is lost is also the dusty aura of something disappearing, just like the smoke of the steam engine in the American landscape.
The digital age of Amazon. com, e-
Readers and online research have its advantages, but for parishioners of the old book church, it also reduces the way books are read and searched for your fever dreams to dust --mote-
Magic memory
Before the Internet, old books were buried in the basement, in the back house and in the old --book stores.
No one really knows how many autographed first editions of Truman Capote\'s cold blood, so what is their value.
Finding your literary rose buds has been an adventure since the age of Gutenberg.
The magic you feel!
Your fingers itch on the spine of a book casually placed in a second-hand store. . . and there.
You played your index finger. can it be? —
The worn-out hardcover you \'ve wanted for years.
You have goose meat on your forearm and you open the lid and see that this is really the first print! The penciled-
The price of Flyleaf is $15, but it is worth 10 times it! The thrill!
Stypeck said: \"Before the Internet appeared, booksellers had already ruled . \"
\"You did your research and if you found a book to be sold for $115,000 and you only saw four of them in your career, then that\'s the value of it.
But starting from about 2000, when bookstores and collectors started surfing the Internet, they found that cold blood had many first editions, and the ocean of other \"rare\" books, the books are kept on shelves or hidden in the basement.
Now, anyone can enter the name of any book in any search engine and get a list of more than 20 personal rose buds filtered by conditions, prices or binding. (
On the last day, on AbeBooks.
For example, 150 bookstores offer 63,000 first editions. )
This sudden availability has led to a sharp drop in most prices, while also increasing the value of some really scarce games. It was the B. C. /A. D. of used-book selling.
One day Stypeck and I stopped on the steps of his office suite where you could see the whole store.
He notes that this view is evidence of another seismic shift in the industry: the digital age is not as combined with printed books as their ancestors did.
Print as you age
The generation of love died, and they left behind millions of books that their offspring did not want.
\"Twenty years ago, I would stand here and look at this and say to myself, \'I am a very rich man,\' he said. \'\".
\"If I do a clearance sale, say there are 500,000 books below that I can sell for an average of $5, I will look at $2 [million]
Or $3 million in 1990, right?
\"But actually, right now, it\'s almost impossible to fix this, because there\'s not enough popularity in the general title to get the critical mass to get into here and read most of the books.
\"Before Stypeck started pushing me to his office, there was little time to digest the books of this generation.
At first glance, it\'s the old wood paneling inside
Outdoor carpet, fluorescent lighting, nothing special.
We passed by a room with lots of boxes.
He said, \"That\'s the souvenir of Caspar Weinberger over there.
In the corridor, 1960 was nailed to the wall. Comic book of the ant eraMan.
On the cover, the hero in a small hat jumped over the window riding a dog to chase the skull --
Drug dealers.
But we don\'t have time to wander in this awe-inspiring situation as we are going through a dimly lit corridor full of shelves almost sideways and squeezing into his office
Here, posters of the film The Corsica Brothers and ganggardin are decorated on the wall.
All signed by Little Douglas Fairbanks.
One of his friends, the movie star will call him to the point of late night.
On Stypeck\'s table is Sir Walter Raleigh\'s 1614 edition of world history.
\"It could be worth $8,000 to $10,000.
Before I started to marvel at this, he gave me a NASA manual for Apollo 11.
A technical guide to the moon landing signed by three astronauts.
Between US $35,000 and US $75,000.
\"Remind me to tell you about two nights --
He talked about his time with astronauts.
\"Guys, those guys drink.
When he first started the bookstore, he said, he had a pet, the Burmese python, six or 8 feet long, named Ramone.
\"I used to sleep with him and he would snuggle up next to my wrist or neck because it was the warmest place to be.
This is crazy when you think about it.
When Stypeck was a teenager, his father was a stockbroker in New York,
Have a few horse races
This is a picture of him at the waterpipe racecourse on July 15, 1968.
He is 18 years old, wearing a suit and tie, posing with Ron Turcotte, the jockey.
This gives way to a long hair-
The story of a perfect Argentine dog (
\"I tell you the twin brothers of Ricardo montaban \")
He came to his office with the bearings of the Empire, ascot, jacket, hair, accent --
And tried to pawn a late copy of \"tangjikod\" as the original.
This, in turn, makes it a story about the Iranian king and fake Ruby, which turns into a story about finding Thomas Jefferson\'s signature on a document buried in the Maryland Law Library (“That was $2. 3million”).
Disappeared until the afternoon.
The red light on my recorder is flashing.
We ran out of space.
Staples, born in Brooklyn in 1950, collects everything.
Stamps, baseball cards, caps-
By the time he was six
His father, a Czech, grew up in the Jewish community and was a Catholic.
\"I learned about the Holocaust from listening to the survivors,\" he said . \" This gave him a strong interest in history and international affairs.
He studied at a university in the United States to serve diplomacy.
Soon after graduation, however, he and his first wife began an antique tour.
Looking for a business friend in New England.
When he bought a batch of old books, he noticed his friend\'s D. C.
The customer snapped them up at a higher price and he knew what he was doing.
Three years later, in 1974, he bought a second story book near Chevy Chase, because it was the second floor of an office building on 5000 Block northwest of Connecticut Avenue. (
It is opposite the most famous bookstore, political and prose Street in the city. )
1970 and 1980 are a boom in trade, and Stypeck soon has six stores from the area to Baltimore.
He is ambitious and has started his career in evaluation, including clients such as the White House, the Supreme Court, the House and Senate of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution, the Holocaust Museum, seven Nobel Prize winners, diplomats, museums and auction houses.
He identified everything in the International Spy Museum.
He has handled Kissinger\'s documents and Madeline Allbright\'s.
He remarried, and he and Kim bought an old farmhouse on several acres of land in Pottsville, Maryland.
His work is full of their two daughters and all kinds of curiosity.
This is the original comic of Charles Adams with a hippo skull by the pool, which is almost certainly Gary Grant\'s old luggage and can be used as a bedside table.
Stypeck added a joint radio show \"guys\" in the 1990 s, which included radio celebrity Mike Cuthbert.
These days, the radio program is a memory. his six stores have already shrunk to the core: Dupont Circle store and warehouse.
It may just be a good sense of business, but it feels like the last stop.
On the last Saturday of each month, Stypeck offers a free oral assessment at the warehouse.
Dozens of people showed up and they were eager to see if their volume was worth several thousand.
Not usually.
The difference between the first edition and the first edition of cardboard PDQ (
Most valuable)
Other versions have never been standardized.
They vary from publisher to publisher, and sometimes from book to book.
It\'s hard to be sure.
On a day like this last year, Stypeck was in court. he put his glasses on his nose and looked at the supplies carefully, like an outfielder who turned down for a flying ball in the sun.
\"One of your questions is: your dust jacket is caught,\" he told the owner, noting that the price had been lowered.
He looked at the font on the copyright page and looked up a guide: \"You don\'t have the first edition.
This is the later version.
A good read, but that\'s all.
Next is Wendy suswin, with an early one in his hand. 20th-
Century American textbook. .
Written in German
She grew up in northern New York.
Parents are survivors of the German Jewish Holocaust.
Stypeck will give you additional benefits immediately.
\"This is one of the things the Bund is doing,\" he said of the 1930 German-American Federation, holding the book in his hand.
\"Textbooks for German immigrants, they are very easy to accept Nazi propaganda.
On 1939, he attended a discussion at Madison Square Garden about the organization and its terrible gathering of 20,000 people.
Susswein said her parents and grandparents came here that year or around 1940, calling it \"so early \".
\"It\'s actually very late,\" says Stypeck, who has begun to focus on the rise of the Nazis, the history of kristinacht and Nazi Germany.
They talked for 20 minutes.
The book is very valuable, he said.
Sulswelin left and looked at the eight.
As part of the national and family history, it was re-published for ten years.
This is the old book-
The magic in the unlikely package
The warehouse on the second floor, like a rough knuckles, rises from the parking lot of the industrial park a few blocks east of Rockville Pike and hangs between Morris appliance supply and Yi Jianlian fabric store. The concrete-
Block building has a loading area next to the front door.
This street is one.
Buildings, poles and overhead lines.
The only literary ghost nearby is gin.
Scott and Zelda fitzgerrard were all wet and drove three miles on the road.
Wound by fluorescence-
Bright and wide area, you will realize that the baroque style of the store cannot exist.
A few similar places left.
Daedaros, Columbia, Maryland;
Waterfront Hotel in New York-
But it is doubtful whether the old magic will disappear faster as the Internet continues to evolve.
Michael Dida, a former Washington Post book reviewer, said: \"The warehouse, is an old book, something published before the ISBN and barcode, and you never know what will happen . \" Who is full of praise for the last thing?
Browsing: The world in a bookstore, the century charm of the second story warehouse, a book published in the UK last year.
Old employee Connor McHale says 500 to 20,000 books come in every week, mostly from the old manor.
Feeling of discovery-and horror —
It can be clearly seen from the classification of incoming goods.
\"It\'s very easy to miss something of value,\" said McHale . \".
A few years ago, he said, they spent $10,000 putting a magnificent Japanese art book on the floor.
Another dealer snapped it up.
And wrote a check for stypcheck for an extra $2,000 and the price was too low.
\"It\'s painful,\" said McHale.
And then a full leather.
The first bound of Jane Austen\'s novels.
\"It stopped the room,\" he said . \"
\"How much is the first edition of Pride and Prejudice?
\"Feeling and sensitivity \"?
We ended up selling them for about $65,000.
Money is cool.
Just to have a whole set of her novels in one place.
This is an amazing thing.
You can sit there and say, \"English literature changes as the shelves change.
\"In the past year, Stypeck\'s health has been plagued by mercury poisoning, so much so that he can\'t walk more than a hundred feet at a time.
He lost his balance and noticed that he sometimes forgot the words.
Still, he has just signed a long-term agreement.
Rental period of Dupont Circle location.
He thinks the disease will pass.
\"I\'m not as pessimistic as I was a few years ago,\" he said . \".
\"There is no end to this.
He thinks the store will last.
Not only is reading, he believes, but the people who love books haven\'t fully done that yet.
In a word he knew without a doubt, he thought the store might have the upper hand.
Neely Tucker is a former Washington Post reporter.
The book he recently published is only a safari.
To comment on this story, please email wpmagazine @ jobpost.
Or visit the Washington Post. com/magazine.
Send an email to wpmagazine @ jobpost. com.
For more articles, as well as features like Date Lab, Gene Weingarten, visit the Washington Post Magazine.
Follow the magazines on Twitter.
Like we did on Facebook. ebook.
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