People collect Idriess for many different reasons. Some like Idriess: the way he writes and the things he writes about. Some are interested in Australiana, or Australian literature. Some collect Idriess to make money. For many collectors of Idriess the mantra is earliest and best. So first editions rule and the better the book condition (the most pristine) the better it is. So books that are intact, not having torn or missing pages, not discoloured or with foxing, or with scribbling or underlining or highlighting, are to be preferred, as are books with complete and original (not price clipped) dust jackets. So far we are in agreement.
But what about books with stamps or stickers - of the bookshop or the owner? What about inscriptions, like the owner's name and address and a date (in pencil - or pen)? Often to so-and-so from so-and-so. What about a book personally signed by Idriess? A book owned by someone of significance? This is provenance: placing and tracing a particular book's origins. I have a number of Idriess's books signed by him (he was a prolific signer!). This at once places me closer to Idriess: Here is a book that was personally held and written in by the man himself, now long dead and signing books no more. Are signed books worth more? Some say yes, but perhaps not double! But signed or owned by a person of significance? I believe there is an Idriess copy of one of his works, personally signed by him and given to Sir Robert Menzies, the former PM of Australia.
I have a book by Idriess signed by him for the noted Australian- French author, Paul Wenz. This is significant provenance. Another book, The Tin Scratchers, has a lengthy inscription to Walter Burns, signed by Idriess. Walter who, you say? Walter Burns was the (controversial) managing director of Angus and Robertson in 1960. Significant provenance. I have a 1944 copy of The Silent Service, not signed by Idriess, but owned by Lieutenant Commander A. Greening, RAN, with a date, 15-8-44, and an address in Adelaide. Arthur Charles Greening was in charge of a party sent to Beachport in 1941 to defuse a mine - which unfortunately exploded and killed two sailors - the first deaths on Australian soil of WWII. Provenance. So, yes, keep in mind when collecting Idriess the mantra about the earliest and best - but also be mindful of dates and inscriptions and names and addresses and don't dismiss provenance out of hand in your pursuit of pristineness and perfection. Pristineness or provenance - what sort of collector are you?