Here we go again. We leave next week for the big show at Cole’s . Then we follow that up with the North Texas Book Show in October and the Austin show in January. I’m as well stocked as I have ever been. There are several early Texas books with maps that are very rare. There are scarce 19th century first editions , and a framed 1840 map of Texas. I have two great folk art Indians, and a prehistoric cave bear skull. In other Texas books, there are a bunch of the Steck reprints of early Texas books, some really nice association items, some nice signed Dobie books, special edition, and books listed in Basic Texas Books. There are several early land grants signed by governors. Also, a photo album of almost 200 photos showing the construction of a bridge across the Brazos in the early 20th century. It has the potential to be a great set of shows. I’ll try to keep you posted.
There is not much going on show-wise in the summer. And it is about this time each year that I start to panic about not having good new stuff for the fall shows (Cole’s at Warrenton in Late September and the North Texas Book and Paper Show in October). But this year I got lucky in June. Three major buys have given me some very special Texas stuff. There is a first-edition of Edward’s book A HISTORY OF TEXAS (1836), and a first-edition of A VISIT TO TEXAS (1834) both with the original maps. The Edward book is as nice as I have seen of this book.
All in all the stuff filled six boxes with really nice books and paper, and there may be more to come. One of the highlights is about a dozen or more Steck facsimile reprints, all in excellent condition. I now have a Steck reprint of Kendall’s Santa Fe Expedition , and also a first-edition with the original map. Come see me in September at Cole’s in Warrenton to get a glimpse of these items and possibly add them to your collection!
The big show is over at Cole’s, and it was successful. Since we only had one booth this time, we were worried about how our revenue would turn out. Instead of pulling a flatbed trailer, an enclosed trailer, and making two trips in the Suburban, we made one trip in one trailer and put the rest of the stuff in the truck bed and the back of the Suburban. We came out well with the new business model!
In fact, most dealers said they had a good to great show, with several setting records. Sure, some said their revenue was down and that the crowd was down, but those were in the minority of people I spoke with. Most of my usual customers showed up and contributed to our success. It was great to see so many people (customers, dealers, and friends) that we only see twice a year. I told Sandi before the show that we would have to stop doing Warrenton if our revenues could not support it. After being there two days, she said she hoped I would sell enough, because she loved the social side of the sale. Fortunately it worked out and we signed up for the fall show.
My favorite sale was being able to almost complete the J. Frank Dobie collection of a couple that I have been working with for years. They were pleased with the items I brought, and I was thrilled that so much of it was things that they could use. Many thanks to these people (you know who you are). One of the great thrills I get is adding scarce or rare items to significant collections, and that was the case here.
We got to eat at restaurants in Carmine, Round Top, La Grange, Fayettville, and Brenham. The bluebonnets, Indian paintbrushes, and Indian blankets really came out while we were there, and the fields out to the east were just beautiful.
We leave Tuesday to start setting up at Cole’s Antique show in Warrenton, Texas. I will be in booth 128. This is a 10 day show and is the longest show we do. This year will be a little different since Sandi has retired and given up her booth. She has had her own booth for the last 5-6 years, so this will be new to us. We will both be there to see old friends, but we will be selling out of one booth. I will have with me a Confederate Reunion Flag, Buffalo Soldier papers from the 1870s, signed J. Frank Dobie books, Texas Ranger books, Ranching and Cattle books, Texas Railroad Land grants, Republic of Texas currency and documents, Texas Political items and a ton of other stuff. It will be a booth full of Texas related books, documents, art, photos, maps, postcards, etc.
During Antique week in Warrenton, Round Top, and Carmine there are over 5000 dealers selling antiques from cheap to expensive and some crafts. Cole’s is an air-conditioned building at the corner of 237 and FM 954 in Fayette County. Cole’s Antiques Market offers 63,000 square feet of air conditioned shopping heaven. Cole’s venue offers a variety of merchandise including, fine antiques, fine art, gold and silver, fine glass, Texana, Texas made furniture, boots, vintage signs, athletic memorabilia, and collectibles for any budget. There are over 230 dealers on the grounds. Stop by for our special Tuesday evening wine tasting. We will be found on Waco drive(each aisle is named).
Last weekend I was at the Texas State Historical Association Meeting. It is a lot different from the other shows I do, first because there are only 10 or so used book dealers (but a lot of new book dealers such as UT Press, Texas Western Press, etc), and second because I see customers there that do not come to any other shows all year. It is an expensive show to do because the tables cost a lot, and there is always the cost of a nice hotel room. It is never in Austin because the SXSW film and music festival is held at the same time. The show is held the first weekend in March to coincide with Texas Independence Day and the anniversary of the fall of the Alamo. The big disappointment this year was that it rained on Saturday. That had nothing to do with my business, but since my wife Sandi and I were in San Antonio this year, we were hoping to watch the Alamo reenactment Saturday afternoon. I think it was cancelled, but we did not stay around in 40 degree weather and rain to find out!
During the show, the TSHA held a wonderful reception on the grounds of the Alamo, and then a dinner at the old Menger Hotel. There is something about setting foot inside the Alamo that really hits Sandi and me every time we go. It feels to us like a special hallowed place. What happened there changed the history of the World! Had Santa Anna not been stalled there, Houston and the Texians probably would have never gotten to San Jacinto in April.
Anyway, business was fantastic. People were looking for great items, and they were willing to buy when they found them. My only problem is that I sold so much nice stuff that I have to get more before Cole’s show at Warrenton starts March 27th. However, don’t worry, I have some rare items put back that will be on the shelf for that show! One person bought my collection of J.Frank Dobie letters, and another some very rare Republic of Texas paper. Another was able to purchase a Buffalo Soldier muster roll from the 10th Cavalry from 1872 and a 9th Cavalry Muster Roll from the time when McKenzie was in charge. There were also lots of small sales and few buying opportunities for me. The entire show was a lot of fun.
Next year TSHA will be in Corpus Christi, and I strive to have great stuff available for that show!
Happy Texas Independence Day!!. On March 2 1836, Sam Houston and the Texian delegates at Washington-on-the- Brazos met and signed the Texas Declaration of Independence. At the same time, William Travis and the patriots at the Alamo were under siege from Santa Anna, and Fannin and his men were about to be captured at Goliad. After the Alamo and Goliad fell, Santa Anna chased what was left of the Texian army to San Jacinto in what is known as the “Runaway Scrape”. There history was made when Houston and the Texians routed the much larger Mexican Army in a brief but decisive battle. Santa Anna was defeated, but allowed to lead his troops from the state.
Texas is the only state that fought for its own independence, and the only state that was an independent country. The revolution created many heroes, and legends. These are now recorded in the thousands of books that have been written about Texas and the revolution. The revolution is the basic source of Texas Pride that is famous throughout the world.
The flag shown here is the famous Come And Take It flag. It was sewn by the women of Gonzalez when the Mexicans tried to take away the cannon that was used to defend the citizens. The resulting “Battle” resulted in the Mexicans leaving the field, and was that start of the Texas Revolution. I like to fly it on Texas Independence Day.
Last weekend we set up at the second annual Bastrop City Wide Garage Sale. It is a fun and successful show for us, and we appreciate the upbeat and smiling shoppers! Sandi was able to sell a lot of her remaining inventory and I, too, was very happy with my sales. We got to see some friends and a few of Sandi’s relatives; her mother was from nearby Rockne Texas. I met a man who has later sold me a nice signed J. Frank Dobie book, and met another gentleman whom may have some items available. One of the best things that can happen for us at a show is for someone to approach us with the opportunity to buy books, maps, documents, photographic images or anything that is old and related to the State of Texas. We felt so fortunate to have made yet another great contact for a possible future purchase!
J Frank Dobie is a true Texas icon who needs no introduction by me. Recently I was fortunate enough to pick up a collection of books, ephemera, and letters about and by Dobie. The books included signed and inscribed first editions. The ephemera included the scarce and collectable Christmas Cards that he and his wife Bertha sent out every year from thier ranch, as well as numerous articles and books about Dobie. But the letters were the highlight of the collection.
There are four letters, each written from West Texas and Eastern New Mexico in Aug-Sep 1937 and each is addressed to Burbie (a nickname for Bertha?) and signed “Frank”. Dobie typed the letters on hotel letterhead and then hand-edited them . The letters tell of the research he is doing for APACHE GOLD AND YAQUI SILVER, which was published in 1939. In one of the more interesting paragraphs describes meeting Tom Lea Jr. for the first time. Dobie had known Lea’s father. Lea went on to illustrate the book and many other items written by Dobie. He was also an author in his own right and considered to be one of the great Texas illustrators. The letters will be on display in my booth at the Texas State Historical Association in San Antonio March 6-8. Stop by booth and take a look at them.
We have survived another Warrenton show at Cole’s Antique Market. For those of you who haven’t yet visited us there, my wife Sandi and I are on “Waco Dr” in Cole’s in Warrenton, booths 128 and 142 (directly across from each other).. Business was great and traffic was up!! It was a record show for us, with major contributions from Sandi’s booth. Our single largest item was the sale of a King Ranch tack box, once used on the King Ranch. We also sold a really cool English-made Jockey scale with wood frame. I did great with old Texas and Republic of Texas documents. It was great to see so many of our regular customers! Everyone was having a good time! I think most vendors had good shows, but there were a few that did not do well, even with good merchandise. There was quite a large crowd that attended our traditional Tuesday night wine tasting in Cole’s, and we did a good bit of business.
Cole’s has really become the finest free show during Antique Week. The merchandise is priced right, and is every bit as fine as the stuff in the shows where you have to pay to enter the show and/or park. There is a wide variety of goods including our Texas books and Texas/western/cowboy “stuff”, antique clocks, Texas crocks antique toys, furniture, jewelry, linens, glassware, and many more items. I even heard a rumor that at the next show the Flow Blue Boys are moving to Cole’s from La Bahia!
We had great meals at Dempsey’s in Round Top (the chicken fried steak is some of the best we’ve ever eaten), and the J W Steak House in Carmine. Sandi and I highly recommend the bone-in filet there! We also enjoyed cooking in our little trailer where we stay during the show. Actually, the trailer was bigger than the last show. Our hosts had moved the old trailer to their deer lease, and bought one a little larger for us to stay in. It sure made a difference in our comfort over the 12 nights we spent there.
I just finished the Austin Book Show, and it was a good one. There were lots of people, especially on Saturday, and they were buying. I saw a lot of regular customers who were ready to buy, and to discuss books. Now the challenge is to go out and replace the excellent items that I sold.
Austin’s Burnet Road Flea Market
For six years the Burnet Road Flea Market was held on the second and last Sundays of the month at 4800 Burnet Road, next to the Omelettry. Jenny at Get Back Vintage was the sponsor, and 20-50 vendors would show up for the events. Customers ranged from Tarrytown yuppies, to UT students, to street people. The bargain shoppers and serious collectors would be there shopping at daylight, and then the after-church crowd would be there in the afternoon. Chuck would entertain the crowd playing his clarinet and every once in a while someone would show up with a guitar! It was a great venue with everything from furniture, collectables, clothing, records, coins, books, and bicycles. There were no rules, except that the merchandise had to pass the “family” test. We would all go home about 4, or earlier in the summer.
Sadly, because of parking, etc, the market had to stop a while back. Now it is ready to reopen, again under Jenny’s leadership, on the same site as the Burnet Road Farmer’s Market at 6701 Burnet Rd! The first event will be held on Sunday, May 15! My wife Sandi and I may just be there to shop this month, but it will be great to see Ray, Carl, Susan, Lloyd. Come by and shop the eclectic selection of goods or just experience the fun!!! The Flea Market will probably open from 8-4. Come early and shop hard!!! GREAT DEALS!