Sunday 13 September 2020


I have been collecting books on the Loch Ness Monster since I was a kid. Back then I had the well known titles such as "Loch Ness Monster" by Tim Dinsdale, "In Search of Lake Monsters" by Peter Costello, "The Loch Ness Story" by Nicholas Witchell and "The Great Orm of Loch Ness" by Ted Holiday. After a hiatus of some years, I went back to collecting monster titles in the late 1990s and it has grown steadily over those years but tailed off as nearly all the titles came into my possession.

Some take a lot longer due to their rarity and when they do come up, a bidding war may ensue. So it was with Constance Whyte's "The Loch Ness Monster" published in 1951. It is a small work of fifteen pages and is a prelude to her greater work, "More Than a Legend" published six years later. I actually put out scanned copies of this booklet a few years back and you can read them here. But I did not own it and had to consult a library copy. Now the booklet did appear on eBay about six years ago and the bidding went up to about £250. I was not the highest bidder.

Last Tuesday another copy appeared with a Buy It Now price of £10. That is good and bad at the same time. It is good because you will get it at a great price. It is bad because others will be looking for it. When I got the eBay alert to its presence I was surprised no one had grabbed it hours before. Providence was on my side and I had no hesitation in clicking that buy button as fast I as could. The booklet is now sitting proudly amongst my other Nessie books.

How much is the booklet actually worth? Ten pounds or two hundred and fifty pounds? The answer is whatever someone is prepared to pay at the time. It may be another six or seven years before another one appears, so I would rather not wait for the next opportunity. But who knows? Another may appear in a matter of weeks. We shall see, but the problem with being a collector is that the more you collect, the less there is left to collect. There are now only three titles I do not possess and they are all booklets. I have never seen any of them on eBay or on the leading second hand book websites. It may therefore be reasonable to conclude that there is no one on earth who has the complete collection.

As befits a serious collector, I have also collected the various revisions and reprints of Nessie books. For example, Tim Dinsdale's aforementioned book went through four editions and all were updated in line with Tim's adventures and the latest news from the loch. Other titles were republished with the exact same content, so it seemed unnecessary to me to buy them. Of course, new titles continue to come onto the market, the last I think was "The Loch Ness Sea Lion" by Rob Cornes back in August 2019. Stories, films, photos and investigations always appear each year, so there is always scope to publish a new book on the subject.

Anyway, here's to all the Nessie books out there, the good, the bad and the ugly! With apologies for any omissions.

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