How’d That Get in There?: Oddities & Wonders We’ve Come Across in Our Buy Areas

Over the years, we’ve bought countless James Patterson novels, innumerable accounting textbooks and a myriad of Herb Alpert albums. But along the way a lot of unusual items—often wonderful, sometimes one-of-a-kind, occasionally just-plain-weird—have found their way into our stores’ buying areas, from the sublime to the considerably-less-than-sublime.

One of my all-time favorites: Years ago, the Kenwood store in Cincinnati, Ohio, bought an unassuming black binder labeled “Psychiatric and Psychological Examination of Jack Ruby.” It came from the estate of a Cincinnati doctor who was consulted by the team who prosecuted Lee Harvey Oswald assassin Ruby and included a carbon copy of the transcripts from a Dictaphone stating the findings of an evaluation given to Jack Ruby prior to death. We donated that item to the Sixth Floor JFK Museum in Dallas.

Ruby Binder_HPB
Store buyers around the country have taken this opportunity to let us know about just a few of the other odd and interesting items that have come across our buy counters recently.

Life, the Universe, & Gaming

Let’s start off with a bit of Bureaucracy. It’s a 1987 APPLE IIE text-adventure game written by none other than Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It’s at our Northtown store in Minnesota.


elvis decanter 2
Our Firewheel location in Garland Texas came upon an unopened, boxed Elvis Presley McCormick Whiskey decanter from 1977, the second in a series put out by McCormick Distilling Company. It is labeled “Young Elvis 55” and shows him in a pink jacket, strumming his guitar.

“Dear Diary—”

card overlaid
Customers sometimes unintentionally leave their diaries in boxes of books they’re selling, but on this occasion buyers discovered a diary that was written in the 1830s and included sketches.

Appleton Rock City

kiss alive
Our store in Appleton, Wisconsin, is proud to have acquired some rockin’ figurines of ‘70s/’80s bands, including Kiss and Motley Crue.

“We wish to welcome you…”

We see L. Frank Baum’s Oz books often, but a truly special edition of The Wizard of Oz came into our Corpus Christi, Texas, store: It’s signed by five of the actors (all now deceased) who played Munchkins in the 1939 movie. It’s also signed by L. Frank’s son Robert S. Baum.

Onward into the Past

Several pieces of tech from recent history just landed at our Southpark Meadows location in Austin: a vintage karaoke machine, a Sirius boombox and, to go back a little further, a Smith-Corona typewriter.

Most of the above-mentioned items are available for purchase. If you’re interested in any of them, just contact me, The Buy Guy.

And, again, we are happy to see plain-old books, music, movies, and games, too! Our stores buy almost everything printed and recorded—and then some—during all hours of operation. Plus, sell to us before march 31 and get a 10% off coupon to use in store!

Steve is the”Buy Guy” at Half Price Books Corporate.


4 thoughts on “How’d That Get in There?: Oddities & Wonders We’ve Come Across in Our Buy Areas

  1. Just a minor correction – on the entry about the Oz book, it looks like one of the signatures is by Jerry Maren, who despite being the subject of a recent death hoax is actually still living and is the last surviving member of the Munchkins.

  2. I would be interested to know the name of the individual who kept the 1830s diary and where he/she was from. What is your asking price??

  3. Anne, that diary has sold. It was kept by the sister of Christian Socialist Edward Vansittart Neale. She lived in Taplow, England.

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