Thursday, April 17, 2014

Wrestling MarketWatch: The Written Word

As far as the mainstream goes, Mick Foley is most likely the best known wrestling author.  The fame is for good reason, as Foley did in fact kickoff the modern era of the wrestling book with great success, but the genre hardly ends there.  From biographies and autobiographies to coffee table books, there's a great variety out there for the voracious reader that doubles as a wrestling fan. 

As with many books throughout the world crossing all categories, the prices often rise when printing ceases and interest grows.  Many smaller publishing houses have released books penned by wrestlers and often only churn out a single printing of each title.  Others are relics from the days before the "Foley book boom" that have stood the test of time.  In this latest edition of Wrestling MarketWatch, we'll take a look at some of these titles and just how much they've recently sold for at auction.  I may not be Rebecca Romney from Pawn Stars, but I doubt she's appraised many wrestling books lately.  Someone has to do it, so it may as well be me...albeit a bit less easy on the eyes than Rebecca!

*Scott Teal and his Crowbar Press have churned out a large number of wrestling books over the years, most notably autobiographies of many territory-era stars.  One of the most talked about was "Inside Out: How Corporate America Destroyed Professional Wrestling" by the one and only Ole Anderson.  The founding Four Horseman member has always been known for his steadfast beliefs, and the book obviously reflects that.  Because of his honesty, the book becomes one of the best in the opinions of many.  Although a second printing is now available, the first printing is still sought after and can be easily spotted with its solid blue colored cover.  An autographed copy of the first printing recently sold for $40.

*In the 1980's and early 1990's, many wrestling books were more photo albums than stories.  After all, what other sport produces more exciting photos suited to be in a book than wrestling?  One of the hottest promotions of the era was World Class Championship Wrestling, and of course that meant the Von Erich family.  "The Von Erichs--A Family Album" is a look at the family both in and out of the ring just after the death of Mike.  A beautiful hardcover book, the album appeals to both wrestling fans and those who lived the WCCW phenomenon first hand.  Always in demand, the book recently sold for $71.

*"Tito Santana's Tales From The Ring" is a notably entry into the wrestling library for a few reasons.  For starters, Sports Publishing Inc. went out of business shortly after the book was published.  This caused an initial demand that has since waned.  The book is also notoriously short.  Despite a long career that took Santana everywhere, there just aren't enough "tales" in the book to constitute a classic.  The book has recently sold for an average of $14, a fall from the price shortly after its release.

*Another book that has seen such demand that a reprint was warranted is "Bruno Sammartino: An Autobiography Of Wrestling's Living Legend."  The book was originally published by Imagine Inc. in 1990.  You may remember Imagine Inc. for their Wrestling Legends trading cards that also involved Sammartino.  18 years later, CreateSpace re-released the book with a slightly different cover.  While no copies of the original have sold recently, the re-release has been selling for an average of $20.

*For a book by a wrestler that's partially wrestling and partially the world around us, look no further than "Killer Pics: A Collection Of Images From A Pro Wrestling Legend."  Killer Kowalski was a man of the world and of many interests, one of which was photography.  The book is a collection of images of both his fellow wrestlers and many sights that Kowalski saw throughout the world.  The coffee table sized paperback is not an easy one to find and recently sold at auction for $52.

These are just a few examples of volumes on the wrestling book shelf.  There are many other collectible ("Whatever Happened To Gorgeous George?") and not-so-collectible ("The Rock Says...") books out there with the topic of our favorite form of entertainment, with many more joining the bunch each year.  More will attain monetary value as the years go on, but the true treasures we gain from each book are the stories told on every page.


Anonymous said...

One of my favorites is the Gary Hart book. I've seen that go for over a $100. It is a great book, just not worth that. A couple other great ones would be the Tony Atlas and JJ Dillion books. Although not rare they are definitely worth owning.

J\/\/ said...

JJ's book is my favorite wrestling book, for sure.

Loneman1 said...

Been looking for a good wrestling book lately. I still say I found Bret Hart's to be my favorite, though Foley's contributions are also pretty amazing, alone with Jericho's.