Thursday, March 29, 2012

Treasure in the Mail!

So, I’m kinda living in mental fog today. I haven’t written anything and don’t intend to. I am in need of sleep, but I got out of bed for a pain pill and some reheated coffee. The mail came while I was zapping the coffee with mystery microwaves. Usually that means a bunch of advertisements, a bill or two, and an invitation to the Lutheran Church. (I have no clue why they send those to me. I’m not Lutheran. Lutherans are either boring or … boring. Hey, I listen to the Lake Woebegone News!)

Today’s mail was full of treasure. I bought some really inexpensive stamps. These came. I way under paid for these. This is nice. But the real treasure was a book. The main character in our first history book absolutely detested Jonathan Perkins Weethee. That makes Weethee a person of interest. (Doesn’t that sound all detective-ish?) We already own one of his books. Does the word “turgid” have meaning for you? But we read lots and lots of poorly written books, so I’m used to the suffering.


I found this one on ebay and was the only bidder. It is called The Eastern Question in its Various Phases. It’s a huge book, about eight by ten inches and 638 pages. I get the same impression of this one as I did of the other. The man did not know when to stop writing nonsense. But, dear heart, this is true treasure. Weethee, a geologist by trade and a college president, was a controversial figure. Many saw him as abusive. His books are scarce to rare. We now own two of them.

The Book

I learned years ago to thumb through the pages of every used book I buy. Sometimes you find things: four leaf clovers; bits of paper, money, letters, photos. Once I found a letter signed by Henry Clay. Sure enough I found something in Weethee’s book, a promissory note from the 1890s. This is “right up my alley” cool. I don’t know what I’ll do with it, other than put it in the box of “cool beans” stuff, none of which fits with any of my collections, but all of which are on the neat-o side.

Now, on to the stamps. The most interesting of the stamps I bought is a small group of inflation era stamps in multiples. A block of four of the 10 Milliarden (Billion) Green is cancelled with the Holland-South America Line ship’s cancel. Think of that. It took forty billion marks to mail whatever was sent. There’s a block of fifteen One Billion Mark stamps, with clear and appropriate date cancellations. There’s a block of fifty Five Billion Mark stamps with Railroad cancellations. Fun stuff.

1 comment:

  1. An occasional reader4:18 AM

    I too always thumb through new (to me) books (and old books in second hand bookshops and Meeting Hall’s libraries) to see what past readers may have used as bookmarks. Some finds inside the works of one particular publishing house have included a full page of the National Labor Tribune reporting on J F Rutherford’s imprisonment in 1918, cuttings from 1914 interviewing CTR, Lardent cards, Photodrama cards, and ancient tracts, but, alas, no original autographed letters from the key figures – as yet. I live in hope.