Now, I don't have $1000.00. In fact, I have many many thousands of negative dollars on my credit cards. But my expenses should stabilize by summertime and I'm hoping that, perhaps, by year's end I could be in a position to buy this thing.
The question is, though--is it worth the money?
First, there's the fact that $1000.00 is an incredible price for a work that's nearly 400 years old. It's also bound in calfskin, and it's a pretty sizable text. Its price alone is neither here nor there--but my eye is always caught by a bargain.
More importantly, this is a text that I (and about three other people) consider both fascinating and important, and that I intend to start working on in the not-too-distant-future. I'd love to have an original copy to work from, just for the coolness factor alone, but I also sort of need an original copy: my interest is specifically in that first edition, but the author revised and expanded the work many times before his death; most modern editions are therefore conflated (and usually incomplete) texts. The one scholarly edition is a) out of print (and the one time I saw it on ABE it was fully $500), and b) also, necessarily, a conflated text. It's possible to find all the first edition readings from it, but impossible to get a real sense of the edition as a whole.
Maybe I could write off the purchase on my taxes, as a business expense?
Maybe the book might be considered an investment? It's not, obviously, a really hot item right now, but I can imagine that in 10 or 20 years its value could more than double.
Cons (in addition to the expense):
The first edition is available in most of the major rare books libraries, which is where I've looked at it previously. There aren't any such collections near me, but this could make for a good summer fellowship proposal.
I just discovered that there's a facsimile copy of the first edition for sale on ABE. It's $300, so a third of the price of the original (but without the coolness, the possible investment value, etc.).
Other possibly relevant factors:
I haven't yet seen this copy, but it's in a location where I have friends and occasionally visit, so I wouldn't be buying it sight-unseen.
The book is also being sold by a bookseller who, it turns out, one of my colleagues is quite friendly with. I doubt that that would affect the price, but a personal connection is never a bad thing.
I can't use my start-up funds to purchase books, but there IS an internal grant that I could apply for that might conceivably fund part or all of the purchase.
So, I dunno. Any thoughts?