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Wednesday, March 31,2010

Dealer Profile

Kaleidoscope Books & Collectibles

by Bill Castanier

Jeffrey Pickell of Kaleidoscope Books & Collectibles describes his Ann Arbor store as “eclectic” and he is bringing stock which reflects that description to the Michigan Antiquarian Book and Paper Show.


When people come into the bookstore they see “organized chaos” he said. In fact, even the name of his store “Kaleidoscope” represents that image.


“The store is a fragmentation of everything that people remember.”


Expect some of the usual items in Pickell’s booth including juvenile books, pop-up books, Golden Books, Oz and Alice in Wonderland.


“People crave simpler times when memories were better,” he said.


And according to Pickell nostalgia continues to be hot.


“The stronger the nostalgic tie the more likely the sale.”


In that vein, he will be packing his Golden Books which include the rare  1961“ Golden Book of Biology” illustrated by Charles Hopper and two Golden Books with dust jackets including the “Golden Book of Fairy Tales”.


Pickell said the movie Alice in Wonderland has driven strong sales and he is bringing an 1884 edition of “Alice” to the show.


And for the first time, he is showing two atlases: the spectacular 1861 “Black’s General Atlas of the World” and an 1874 Washtenaw County Atlas.


He is excited about his recent acquisition of unusual postcards, including photo postcards and postcards you hold up to the light to reveal  hidden visual highlights. Two of the “hold to the light” postcards are rare Oldsmobile cards, one showing a curved-dash Olds and the other the Olds factory in Lansing.


Pickell is offering for sale hard-to-find Time magazine covers from the 1930’s and 1940’s, including the highly sought James Joyce 1934 cover celebrating the publication of “Finnegan’s Wake." He will also be selling issues displaying the rare T.S. Elliot, Walt Disney, Marlene Dietrich and Duke Ellington Time covers. He will be bringing the first Life magazine with the Margaret Bourke White photograph of the Fort Peck Dam as well.


Amateur photos of Bob Dylan and John F. Kennedy will also be for sale at his table.


Pickell, who began collecting when he was a boy in New York City, has operated his Ann Arbor bookstore for more than 20 years, so it’s a natural for him to include a selection of University of Michigan related books and ephemera. His section will  include a program from the first game played in Michigan Stadium (Michigan - Ohio State). And because he is in the backyard of MSU he is packing MSU memorabilia and books.


As is typical at a Kaleidoscope booth, Pickell will have 1960’s books and ephemera including rock posters and counterculture items.


“Right now I can’t keep posters in the store,” he said.


Recently sitting in his store at 4th and Ann Street in Ann Arbor, Pickell was already mentally packing for the Midwest’s largest Book & Paper Show. He ticks off his list : “First editions of “Lonesome Dove”, Chip Hilton and  Nancy Drew books, “Joy Luck Club” and Richard Farina’s “Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me”.


Pickell certainly made the right choice for the name of his business. It is an ever changing display of seemingly unrelated items that when looked at as a whole, form a magical quilt.

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