Of course, it's much worse if the book happens to be advertised as 'signed by the author' and the person who is now disposing of it is not someone who simply queued up for a signature at a book launch on a wet Tuesday while waiting for the pubs to open, but someone to whom you once proudly and lovingly gave one of your scarce author copies!
Then again there are the mingled emotions evoked by the words 'from the estate of the late -----'
I really can't afford to bid on it, but just such a copy of one of my books - The Disney Studio Story, written with my friend and fellow Disney historian, Richard Holliss - has just come up in an auction at Howard Lowery.com, with an impressive pedigree.
This particular copy was not just 'signed by the authors', but was presented by them to the veteran Disney animator, the late Oliver M ("Ollie") Johnston, as seen, left, by the brilliant Peter Emslie of The Cartoon Cave)
Ollie Johnston, who was the last survivor of the group artists known at the Disney studio as 'The Nine Old Men', worked on over two dozen Disney animated features including, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Fantasia, Song of the South, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland and Lady and the Tramp among others.
He was responsible for animating (with his long-standing friend and colleague, Frank Thomas) such unforgettable cartoon partnerships such as that between Baloo and Mowgli in The Jungle Book as well as Sir Hiss and Prince John in Robin Hood and many other memorable characterisations, among then Ollie's personal favourites: Thumper the rabbit in Bambi, Captain Hook's sidekick, Mr. Smee, in Peter Pan and Flora, Fauna and Merryweather, the three fairies in Sleeping Beauty.
Ollie once said: "They were all good friends, whom I remember fondly." And those of us lucky enough to have known Ollie will always remember him fondly.
I spent time with Ollie (usually along with Frank Thomas) on several occasions: while Richard Holliss and I were researching the books we wrote on Disney and, later, when I was making various Disney radio series with my producer, Malcolm Prince.
Anyway, various items from Ollie's estate have come up for sale and the on-site write-up certainly does a pretty good job on selling the book and its value as, what the book trade calls, 'an association copy'...
Mind you, of course, if Richard and I hadn't signed it, it would probably have been worth more!
Disney fans might enjoy taking a look at this half-hour documentary about Ollie and his creations...