Book enthusiasts returned to the show in Salt Lake City this weekend in hopes of a similar find. No such luck.
"This is about the art of letting people down easy," said Ken Sanders, book appraiser and owner of Ken Sanders Rare Books in Salt Lake City.
Sanders and Sam Weller's Zions Bookstore owner Tony Weller each flipped through about a dozen tomes Sunday as they ran a table devoted to rare books-politely commenting on each specimen's age, rarity, collectibility and condition.
The most expensive book appraised by Sanders was a signed copy of beat poet Allen Ginsberg's poem Howl, worth between $300 and $500, the experts agreed.
"Ginsberg loved to sign books. This one is even more elaborate than usual," Sanders said of the personalized inscription to owner Harold Carr. "Ginsberg's signature is going up in value."
Carr was surprised at the book's worth.
"I had no idea," he said. "This morning I got up and said, 'What the hell? Let's see what it's worth.' "
Carr also brought in an unsigned copy of Myths and Texts by poet Gary Snyder, valued at $200.
"Riprap is his first book and that's the one that brings in the money," Sanders said. "About ,500."
Margie Coombs of Salt Lake City brought in a 19th-century hardbound copy of Godey's Lady's Book and Magazine; a cookbook from the same time period titled, How to Cook, Carve and Eat; and an autograph book with what appeared to be the signature of President Ulysses S. Grant.
The books would fetch no more than about $200 together, the experts said. Grant's signature wasn't appraised because its authenticity couldn't be determined.
"I can't by looking say if it's real or not," Weller said.
Sanders' love of books started at an early age when he began wheeling and dealing comics in grade school.
Appraising books is something Sanders has "always" done.
"You can judge a book by its cover," he said. "It's a game with me. I'll see if I can actually guess its exact year."
Sanders and Weller, however, were both stumped about the worth of a signed, first-edition copy of The Honeycomb by Adela Rogers St. John.
"It's a great inscription, but not a very popular author," Sanders told owner Elizabeth Garner.
"That's OK," Garner responded. "It's a treasure to me."