I always keep an eye out on eBay for any good Betty Feezor auctions. I’ve had some luck recently with getting a Carolina Recipes Volume I for less than $8. That’s a phenomenal find when you see some auctions start off northward of $60.
Understand that sometimes those auctions can get a little nuts and end up at a high price, but mostly, they sit there and languish when the starting price is outrageous.
About two weeks ago, there was an auction of one of the hardbound editions of Betty Feezor’s Best. As you know, that’s the very first one from the late 1950s. I actually have one that I found during a lunchtime excursion to an estate sale. It had been tucked away in a stack of cookbooks in a very cluttered kitchen; and without a cover, it was hard to decipher the title written down the edge of the spine. But this auction actually has the cover!
The cover! WOW! That would be nice to have. It has the right image, but of the Betty’s Best I’ve seen, there’s been a red cover and a green version. The description mentions that the cover may have some issues. But even if it’s about to fall off, I don’t think I’d mind. I can always put it in a plastic bag to help preserve it.
I placed my bid and waited several days for the auction to end. I don’t know if anyone was confused by the hardcover version? But, when the auction was over, it only cost me $8.50. Now the waiting game…
When it arrived, I was very careful about opening it. When I freed it from the package, I found it completed encased in plastic kitchen wrap.
If this cover is in delicate shape, would the saran wrap stick to it and cause further damage? I’m not really sure if I should even try to unwrap it? It’s sealed up so tight and I don’t see an edge to begin unraveling it!
I do a little more careful searching and eventually get two layers of saran wrap off. It’s amazing: the cover has a gold shimmer to it.
That is really touching!
As I’m flipping through the rest, I stop on a page that has an old newspaper clipping.
And then I take a look at the copyright page.
I see that the cloth bound version is what Betty called the “Deluxe” edition. It only cost a few cents more but over the years, I’ve found more with the plastic spiral spine. I don’t have a real understanding of how much $3 would’ve meant to a household in the late 1950s. Would that have been an expensive cookbook to own? And would that extra cost put the hardback version out of reach for most penny-pinching housewives?
I have a feeling that cost may have played a huge role and that’s why these hardback versions are so rare. And how about that, more than 50 years and $8.50 later, I’ve got a Dee-luxe Betty!