The paperback edition of Killer Stuff and Tons of Money was released on May 29, 2012, with a fantastic new cover design and even a more user-friendly subtitle: “An Insider’s Look at the World of Flea Markets, Antiques and Collecting.”
The paperback cover features a mid-19th century Staffordshire porcelain hound dog figurine (especially cool because of the creature’s enigmatic expression and fine detail), a white “jasperware” Wedgwood coffee cup and saucer, and a toy Union soldier whose 34-star flag reads in tiny print (zoom in): 11th Regt. NJ. In 1862, 344 men “mustered in” to the 11th New Jersey Infantry Regiment and engaged in 29 battles, including the battles of Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, Petersburg, and the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House. Sadly, only 95 men “mustered out” on July 1865 (of these, 107 were killed by disease or accidents, and 142 killed in battle). The 34-star flag this soldier figure holds became the official U.S. flag on July 4, 1861 after a star was added for the state of Kansas, admitted to the union on January 29, 1861. Lincoln was the only president to serve under this 34-star flag, which lasted two years.
In antiques, especially furniture, so much of the value and story of a piece is in the “surface.” Curt Avery and Tucker Small (pseudonyms for two dealers in my book) explained to me the meaning and differences in an “attic” and “crusty” surface, paint or no paint, wear patterns or no wear–you can judge an antique partly by its surface.
They say don’t judge a book by its cover, but the cover of a book draws us inside to the story.
The design for the hardcover, along with the title, confused some people who at first glance thought the book was a murder mystery: a head on a chair in a gloomy setting, with the title “Killer Stuff”– it’s easy to see the confusion. I experienced this confusion first-hand at book signings.
The new cover is wonderful, and inside is the same great story. I’m happy to say that Killer Stuff and Tons of Money was recently selected as a 2012 “Must Read” book by the Massachusetts Center for the book.
And the hardcover, in spite of the confusion over the cover image, was a “Favorite Book of 2011″ in the Chicago Sun-Times, the San Jose Mercury News, The Kansas City Star, the St. Louis Post Dispatch, and San Francisco’s BeyondChron, among others.
Thank you to all the readers who purchased the hardcover and recommended the book to friends.