The Maniac Collector's Inbox (66)
Back to SherlockPeoria front page September 7, 2003 Back to The Maniac Collector's Archives
I Am Only a 62% Sherlockian
By Don Hobbs
How can someone with nearly 7,000 Sherlock Holmes books only be a 62% Sherlockian? I did not even realize I was a 62%er until this week and I vow to be 75%er by the end of the year.
This sudden realization all started when I had an e-mail from my friend and Sherlockian-Collector soul mate Takahiko Endo thanking me for my SherlockPeoria article about him. He gave me a list of his collecting habits over the past 10 years. He started out collecting the books that make up the Shaw 100. He has 97 of the 100. By my calculations, this makes him a 97% Sherlockian. I counted the ones in my collection and came up with only 62 of the 100; thus I am a 62% Sherlockian.
Oh, woe is me.
I guess in my defense, I could have been a 90%er or more if I had not concentrated on becoming a true Maniac Collector. I mean really, why buy books you could sit down any time of the day or night and read when I can buy things like Uzbek or Sinhalese? These are books that I will probably never read although it is fun spending hours just trying to figure out the stories within.
At the risk of being sacrilegious, I could question some of the books listed on the Shaw 100, but being a good Sherlockian (even at 62%), I will refrain from doing so. The sections that lists books for The Agent and Bibliography and Chronology contain 11 books that I am missing and in my defense most of the bibliographic information is covered in The Universal Sherlock Holmes by Ron De Waal. Some seem a little bit redundant but since I am barely passing as a Sherlockian, what do I know? If I were in Sherlockian College, I would be placed on Sherlockian probation until I was able to bring my S.O.A (Shaw 100 Average) up to at lease 70%.
Some of the books missing from my library are Studies in Sherlock Holmes by O.F. Grazebrook. There are the seven pamphlets published from 1949 to 1953 or Simpson's Sherlockian Studies (A Series of Eight Pamphlets) by A. Carson Simpson. These were published between 1953 and 1960. I seem to have trouble with pamphlets.
I did go to ABEBOOKS.com and the availability of the missing books. All but three are available but the average price worked out to be $109.26 each! Averages can be misleading. While I was searching, and I am embarrassed to admit it, for Essays in Satire by Ronald A. Knox, I found a signed, first edition for $34.00. This book is noted in the Shaw 100 as the cornerstone of any Holmesian library because of the essay "Some Studies in the Literature of Sherlock Holmes". I ordered it so now I am actually a 63% Sherlockian. Of course now the average price jumps up to $111.47 apiece.
The books I am still lacking and that were not found on ABEBOOKS were The Chronological Holmes by William Baring-Gould; The Tin Dispatch Box by Donald Redmond; and The Sherlock Holmes Atlas by Julian Wolff. For the other 35 books, I looked for the least expensive but nearest the first edition I could find. Several books had Magico reprints for much less but if I am going to achieve Sherlockian elitism, I am going to blow a wad doing it!
So when I started this article I was a mere 62% Sherlockian but now I have moved up to a 64% Sherlockian because I also ordered a copy of The Best of Pips. I found this gem after passing over several pages of Gladys Knight and the Pips books. I the upcoming weeks, I will keep everyone informed of my climb to the top of Sherlockian equivalent of a 4.0. (see below)