I discovered the price of friendship recently while visiting New Orleans. I was walking along Antiques Row on Royal St. between Canal and Toulouse when I saw a book I recognized in a shop window. It was Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. The shop was closed but I wondered if it was a first edition, how much it might cost ($100, $200, more?), and if it might make a nice gift for a very good friend who is a dedicated Ayn Rand reader.
I was near the shop when it was open the next day so I decided to stop by for a look. It turns out it is a celebrity autograph shop, with a lot of signed books, guitars, and other memorabilia. The Atlas Shrugged in the window is a Tenth Anniversary edition, copy number 1510 of 2000, and it is signed by Ayn Rand. The price is a mere $10,450, although they are having a 30-50% off sale and the clerk is VERY willing to negotiate. So much for the price of friendship! I am having a good chuckle about all this, especially about the fact that a dollar value on any friends of mine is WELL below 30-50% off of $10,000. HA!
They have a copy of Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal by Ayn Rand that retails for over $9,000, but that’s a bit of an afterthought after Shrugged. Oh well, I guess I can always fall back on the old saw that friendship is ‘priceless’. My friends will just have to "trust me" on this, and I’ll have to hope they’re still just friends.
(I have since found 10 th anniversary editions on the Internet for $2500 and up. http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?an=rand&bi=0&bx=off&ds=30&sgnd=on&sortby=2&tn=atlas+shrugged&x=0&y=0)
My friend replied:Dear John,
Thank you for thinking of me.
I am not into the collecting of books–only trying to understand them.
Atlas is one that I am still having a hard time really understanding and applying to my life.
I do enjoy continuing to try.
[My wife] bought me one of those leather bound editions of Atlas and Fountainhead made by Easton Press.
Very nice, but insignificant to me in comparison to my old well worn and FULLY annotated hard bound 1967 version that I lost in the fire (one year ago today).
I guess, I will have the enjoyment of creating another annotated version.