Porter: Gryphon Books Inventory, Collection
Destroyed by Sandy

By Andrew Porter: Publisher Gary Lovisi writes: “We were hit hard here in Gerritsen Beach, Brooklyn, with 6+ feet of water in the basement, that ruined everything. The water almost came up to the first floor of our house, and the windows cracked upstairs but did not break. Things were a lot worse for our neighbors and people in other areas, so we are thankful we were not hurt and that we were able to save a few things.

“I have lived in this home for over 20 years and we never had any water before. Last year, during Hurricane Irene, we got 2” of water, which was the first time ever for any water. People in the area 50 years never had water like this before, no one ever had water more than a few inches in the worse hurricanes or storms.

“The basement was a total loss. I used the basement as my stock room. All 16,000 books I sell on internet sites were destroyed; I have taken down my listings. Almost all Gryphon Books — which I’ve been publishing the last 30 years — were destroyed.

“Worse yet, my collection of comic books, pulps, magazines, science fiction paperbacks — vintage Avons, Bantams, Pocket Books, Ballantines, more, — many signed, and hardcovers were soaked and destroyed. All gone. It is tragic and very stressful, and took my wife Lucille and me 10 days (with the help of teams of 2 contractors we had to pay) to throw it all in the back of several garbage trucks.

“The expenses were incredible: new electric, new furnace; it is a major job and we are not done yet but we will recover and rebuild.

“I hope nothing like this ever happens again to us or to anyone. It is hard for collectors like myself, but not everything is about money, or the value of things. I grew up reading all these authors, I grew up with these exact books, I remember purchasing each one and what I was doing then and where I was when I was reading each particular books — what girl friend I was spending time with, what friends I was hanging out with, where I was in school, college, work, and even what concerts and bands I was seeing back then; a lot of memories. And of course then there are the memories of the great books themselves, the great stories they tell and the cover art by the artists, and the fact that as years went on I was privileged to meet and even be friends with some of these authors and artists.

“Many I interviewed in Paperback Parade, many I had as guests at my NYC book show which ran 24 years. All very wonderful. I count myself very lucky. It is sad they are all gone now, but I am looking forward, and I believe that out of adversity comes great strength.”

The Gryphon Books website is here.

7 thoughts on “Porter: Gryphon Books Inventory, Collection
Destroyed by Sandy

  1. Which is why my books and valuables are on the ground floor. No one should be storing valuables below grade. It doesn’t have to be a hurricane. Sewer drains back up, water lines leak, sinks and bathtubs overflow, and mould grows better in the basement.

  2. Dale, I don’t know you, but, that remark was totally uncalled for. I’ve met Gary only once in person, and don’t know him well enough as a person, but, from one collector to another and all, your response was not necessitated. As he pointed out, he had lived in his home for 20 years. Historically, for him, his home had not been a flood-zone. In fact, hurricanes are an anomaly up there. I know. I used to live on Long Island, in Babylon Village. This remark is about as ludicrous as a collector in the Midwest announcing that his homestead was leveled, no! OBLITERATED, by a tornado, and you replying and saying “Gee, that’s why I have an underground World War Three bunker.” I’m not making a personal assault on you, mate, just pointing out that it was a remark without soul. Point is: SHIT HAPPENS. We can’t always foresee what or when. Your home could blow up tomorrow from a gas leak; frayed wires could start a fire, etc. I lost my entire collection back in the late 1990s. I couldn’t go back and reconstruct it if I tried. I didn’t have what Gary did, but, I can rightly sympathize. Gary, dude, if you are reading this…wishing you the best, for what it is worth, from one who has had, and has lost.

  3. And runaway cement mixers or buses crash through ground floors of homes… Jay Ward was struck by a runaway truck in his office on the first day he opened his real estate business. (One wonders if a bump o the head is why he went into animation later, instead of going back to real estate.) The only safe place for a collection of books is in NORAD headquarters, under Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado. Assuming there isn’t a nuclear war.

  4. This was a sad marker indeed… I spent 4 days last week in NYC lower at the NY Academy of Sciences and saw the destruction there too… Gryphon was such a signpost for us all!

  5. I am a collector, but started a few years ago to dispose of a good number of items. I saw no point in having five or six varient editiions of one title. I saw no point in holding onto signed limited editions. Books that ceased to0 interest me went ont that “sale” list.

    I can understand the shell shock of having lost it, as I felt that kind of strong feeling two decades ago, putting out a fire that started in my bedroom. If I’d lost all of that then, I doubt if I would be able to start over.

    *sigh*–got some Gyphon Books. I like some of them too. The Howard Waldrop titles.

    In a mild rebuke to Dale, I might point out with the storm the size of Sandy there is no way you can be assured that anything will be safe.

    I still have too much stuff.

  6. Robert, if you have any British, Aussie, or Canadian material from the 1940s-1950s era, that are NOT hardcovers, I love thin booklets, pamphlets, digest paperbacks, pulps, fanzines, etc. 🙂 I’ll help you clear out some clutter. LOL. I definitely do NOT have too much stuff 🙂 Still rebuilding since I lost it all 12 years ago.

  7. Uhm. I do have a batch of stuff that should go elsewhere, but you can contact me via website or e mail as to specifics. I have material like an almost complete run of LIGHTHOUSE, which might fare better if it were scanned and offered up on line. Much of my material is from 1960’s onward, though there are a few odds and ends. I also have a decent collection of Algonquin Round Table writers. On my blog, I have a photo of my “room” as it looked four years ago. It hasn’t gotten better (look under “My wife says…” in the search engine.)

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