Citrus industry book: 'Classic Crates from Florida', $1.

Who'd have thought there were people out there collecting labels from old Florida citrus fruit crates? And who'd have thought that there'd be enough interest in collecting these old citrus crate labels that a book would be written on the subject? Not me, until I saw this Classic Crates from Florida book!

Published back in 1985 by the Florida Citrus Showcase, the 102-page Classic Crates from Florida details an area of collecting that's about as tightly focused as one could be: the history of the many colorful crate labels used in Florida's citrus industry over the past hundred years. Several factors conspired to boost this book's eBay closing price to over a hundred bucks.

One thing I constantly hammer on here at Auctionbandits is the importance of developing a 'mile wide, inch deep' approach to the world of stuff. In other words, you should strive to learn at least something about as many different areas as possible. Notice how this approach is precisely the opposite from that of the collectors, hobbyists and specialists, who seem to use the 'inch wide, mile deep' approach to focus their interest into a very small area.

It may seem unusual that you should learn to think so differently from the people you're essentially shopping for, until you understand that only by assuming this ultra-wide field of view can you effectively spot the items that will appeal to all the different specialists you're trying to sell to. Never forget that in this business you're the ultimate middleman, and the more buyers whose interests and hobbies you're familiar with and can cater to, the more money you stand to make.

When it comes to the collector/enthusiast, this book is about as specialized as you can get - the history of the citrus crate label industry in Florida. Obviously, this book was never intended for the best seller list. But whereas this book may not appeal to all those countless millions of recreational readers, the miniscule number of folks it will appeal to are going to fight over it like dogs.

As with any good book on collecting, Classic Crates from Florida contains lots of in-depth text about its subject. But it also contains hundreds of vivid color illustrations of bright, beautiful crate labels, many of which don't even exist anymore. In the world of books on antiques and collectibles, color illustrations are extremely important, and in general, enthusiasts will pay more for a book full of color than they will for a book without. And you can imagine how important color photos are when you're dealing with a subject that's so colorful in itself. Throughout my auction for this book, people were emailing me to tell me that in the area of citrus label collecting, this is one of the 'must have' books that no serious collector should be without.

Notice the '263/1000' on the first page, which tells me that this book was a limited edition, and that this particular specimen is number 263 of only 1000 that were printed. This may sound like a lot of books, but it's really not. And you can bet that after more than twenty years, even fewer of these books are still around. Contrast this limited edition approach with the way books are normally printed. When the first printing of a book sells out, it goes into subsequent printings until the demand finally drops off. This is why we always see that 'second printing,' 'third printing,' etc., on the inside cover of many books.

Remember that demand drives prices, and where there's no shortage to drive up a book's price, prices stay low.

When you combine a very limited supply of a beautifully illustrated book that caters to a tightly-focused group of collectors, you have a winner.

This 'Classic Crates from Florida' book about the Florida citrus industry sold on eBay for $102.

Photo of Classic Crates from Florida citrus industry book