This past weekend found me escaping from the suburbs of D.C. and exploring the lands well beyond the beltway. We stopped for gas in a small town that I’ve only driven by in the past, and happened upon an antique store that looked promising. I love a good antique store, and by “good” I mean one that looks like it’s filled with rusty, broken junk that is overflowing the building and spilling out onto the pavement. This was such a place.
To my surprise, this store was filled with dust-covered action figures, comic books, horror movie props, VHS tapes, and there was an entire room dedicated to science fiction books. Apparently, an old sci-fi collector decided to sell his life-long collection, and this store agreed to be the venue. There were dozens of shelves lined with pulp magazines from the 40s and 50s, sci-fi anthologies, collectible paperbacks, and magazines. The valuable items were bagged and boarded and everything was priced well — not cheap, but definitely fair. It’s hard to describe my reaction to seeing this kind of assortment in a store, available for purchase. This is what you see in a person’s home, behind glass in a dust-free environment, not in a leaky old building with no air conditioning and a mysterious odor.
I was a bit junk drunk at the prospect of diving into the selection. A better blogger would have taken a few photos of the place to prove its existence, but I didn’t want to offend the shop owner before making a purchase. I brought home three issues of Amazing Stories, basing my decision solely on the cover art. These are not high-value books, but they are incredibly fun to look at! Whenever I find pulp books, they usually crumble away in my hands, but not these issues. Their spines are nice and tight, and I can actually open them up without the covers falling off.
Have you ever found a secret stash–a place that seems to have the goods every time you visit, even though no one else seems to know about it? I’ve always been envious of people who have a shop like this in their town. This place is a bit of a hike, but I’m already planning my next trek back for some more amazing stories.