If you were thinking about giving (or getting) an Andrew Vachss book as a holiday gift … buyer beware!
Sites like eBay have made it easy for collectors to find rare collectibles, but they've also made it easy for predators to take advantage of unsuspecting collectors. For instance, if you want a book signed by Andrew Vachss, you can find those on eBay—but some of the signatures like this:
eBay Item: 250056106152
eBay Item: 280055226255
seem to display a variance:
eBay Item: 160058221222
eBay Item: 120059536895
So, before buying a signed anything, be sure to compare signatures against a known valid one.
from Hard Looks: Adapted Stories by Andrew Vachss
We do understand that valid signatures can vary, depending on numerous factors, and are neither suggesting nor implying that any individual signature is invalid … only that you, as the purchaser, should always verify the validity (and, thus, value) of your purchase.
And be extremely suspicious of those retailers who refuse to even let you see the signature before making your purchase, even upon request. As a rule, if the seller can't give you a verifiable provenance, and won't allow you to authenticate the signature, you might as well just sign the book yourself.
We further advise the strongest scrutiny of any galleys, proofs, or Advanced Reading Copies claimed to have been signed by Mr. Vachss with a copyright dating from the year 2000 to the present. As Mr. Vachss himself has CLEARLY stated on this website for MANY years:
Please note: I will no longer sign galleys, page proofs, Advanced Reading Copies, etc. This material is produced for the sole purpose of obtaining reviews, not to fuel a collector's market nor to encourage those who traffic in such goods. A pristine galley means more money for the seller; as a result, the "collector" market actually encourages reviewers not to even open our books. Indeed, the highest "grade" for galleys is "unread." An "unread" galley is one that didn't do its job. Neither writers nor publishers benefit from the traffic in galleys. The only "winners" are those who sell to collectors. I recognize and respect that production of galleys is expensive for our publishers. I want to do everything in my power to support publishers spending money to create them … not only because reviews are important, but also because, the temptation to save money by cutting down on the number of galleys-per-title is significant. And, in the current economic climate, the so-called "mid-list" writers and first-novelists will be the ones penalized.
Even sites like Amazon list books which would sure be collectibles … if they actually existed! Some examples are The Pond Book and Tadpole Tank, and a Born Bad hardcover. Note: Neither Amazon (when it comes to secondary sellers) nor eBay selects the contents on its site, and neither is the only site listing "books" which may not be as represented.
See also: Collectors' Notes, The Vintage Trade Paperback and Hard Looks Cover Designs.