Perusing the “Mushroom” Magazine Category at eBay
|October 24, 2010||Posted by Philip under Tid Bit|
Every once in a while I like to look around eBay to see what sorts of things are up for sale that a person interested in mushrooms might find tempting. A general search for “mushrooms” turned up a little over 29,000 hits. Not all of these are of mycological relevance of course. For example, there are or have been bands, record companies, book publishers, and unexpected things that have the term “mushroom” associated with them. My favorite unexpected find of the day was Reinforced Concrete Construction for Industrial Buildings by C. A. P. Turner, Engineer, dubbed as an “Exposition of the Mushroom System of Reinforced Concrete for Factory Buildings.”
The first couple of pages of mushroom items contained a lot of stamps, Super Mario mushroom stuff, some ceramics and a few books. I decided to narrow it down to just books. Still not wanting to work through all 1,000+ items in the book category, I narrowed it even further to the subcategory of magazine back issues, which I was genuinely curious about, but also had a manageable number of items–30.
So what does one find in the way of magazine back issues with some relevance to the topic of mushrooms? Some interesting finds actually. Of the 30 items I looked at, here were the ones I considered the most intriguing.
LIFE Magazine, May 13, 1957. This issue featured the now famous article written by Gordon Wasson describing his research and adventures in Mexico and the verification of the existence of hallucinogenic mushrooms. I’m not sure if the blurb included on the item listing is from the magazine, but it sure sounds like it could be.
Photographic Essay: Seeking The Magic Mushroom – A New York banker goes to Mexico’s mountains to participate in the age-old rituals of Indians who chew strange growths that produce visions by R. Gordon Wasson – A strange solemn rite and wonders in the dark – Rare vision-giving fungi shown for first time.
Priced at just shy of $50 plus shipping (or make offer) this is a must have for the serious collector of mushroom literature.
Scientific American MARCH 1975. This issue has Amanitas on the cover to bring attention to an article about deadly mushrooms. I was unable to find out who the artist was. The featured piece, “The Most Poisonous Mushrooms” by Walter Litton, is a still oft cited reference on the subject. Two copies were available and priced at around $12 including shipping which seems reasonable to me for this collectors item.
On a seemingly related note, did you know that the Scientific American website has a slide show, “Seven Deadly ‘Shrooms” featuring the photography of Taylor Lockwood?
The New Yorker, April 22, 1950. This issue features cover art by Ilonka Karasz (1896-1981) who was a regular contributor of cover art for the New Yorker and other publications. I can’t verify the accuracy of the title but according to the post the work is “Picking Mushrooms in a Meadow” and I find it quite charming. The seller had two available when I looked, priced at $35 including shipping. If you like it (and The New Yorker) you can get a print of the cover from The New Yorker Store priced at several hundred dollars for a larger sized version.
I did not try as hard as humanly possible, but I can find no information on the status of the original artwork. Karasz’ work occasionally comes up for sale, but I could find no information on its value, at least not without signing up as a member of one of several art information clearing houses like Artfact.
COMMON MUSHROOMS OF THE UNITED STATES by Louis C. C. Krieger, who is associated with Dr. Howard A. Kelly, of Baltimore; with 53 Illustrations from the Author including 1 Sketch, 36 Photographs, and Sixteen Full-page Illustrations from Paintings of Mushrooms in Color.
Sounds pretty cool and a couple of the sample illustrations shown in the posting are interesting in a quaint sort of way. I have a feeling some of the pictures would look good, in a vintage sort of way, framed and hung on a wall. Issues of the magazine even from this period are not rare, so it would not seem like much of an act of vandalism act to cut one up for the illustrations.
Along with the items detailed above, there were a few other offerings of note, including several back issues of Mushroom, the Magazine of Wild Mushrooming, the well known and pretty easy to find 1965 issue of National Geographic containing the article “Bizarre World of the Fungi,” a 1966 issue of Beautiful British Columbia, BC, a 1964 National Wildlife, a 1941 Colliers, and a 1956 Vermont Life–all featuring articles about mushrooms or other fungi.
Even if you don’t intend to buy anything, looking for mushroom and fungus-oriented items on eBay is kind of fun.