WHAT AM I BID? by Geoffrey Johns


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A first novel by an Englishman, set in a fictitious West County town, this is primarily an elucidation of the many machinations of the ""Ring"", the ""Knockout"", and the ""Settlement"" as they operate in the world of auctions and antique dealers. The first few chapters skim through William Shaun's background and childhood, and we learn that his father owned a ""rag and bone"" business until after the First World War, at which time he began ""selling better junk"" as the craze for collecting blossomed in England. Young Willy, with very meagre formal schooling, soon realizes that a bit of knowledge, coupled with his own native shrewdness, might turn to profit in his father's hit-or-miss business and begins frequenting local museums, browsing through fashionable antique shops, and reading every available book on the subject. Naturally, his efforts are crowned with success, and the remaining three-quarters of the story, the narrative travels from auction to auction, sale to sale, and deal to deal (we begin to feel as though we are listening to a sports commentator at a ball game) until Willy finally closen with the purchase of his own elegant antique shop. There is no characterization here, but lots of episodic plot. Not, much in the way of a novel, but those who frequent auctions may find this very enlightening from a ""non-fiction"" point of view.

Pub Date: Oct. 13th, 1961
ISBN: 054845275X
Publisher: Doubleday