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Visitors to the Georgia Archives can take history home with them this weekend.

The document repository is holding its first used and rare book sale. The merchandise is donated --- not part of the collection --- but it still should make genealogists, Civil War buffs and other bibliophiles salivate.

"You won't find any other sale in this area that's got this good of a history section," said coordinator Grant Wainscott.

More than 15,000 books go on sale tonight to members of the Friends of the Georgia Archives, which is organizing the event. The doors open to the public Friday from noon to 5 p.m., then Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The sale will support educational programs for the archives, as well as efforts to convert historical records there to digital forms.

The building holds official Georgia documents that historians and genealogists rely on to chronicle the past.

Volunteers spent the past three months lightening donors' bookshelves to prepare for the sale, Wainscott said.

Among the more unusual gifts are a 1909 publication of Georgia's Confederate Records and mottled, leather-bound Congressional papers from 1789 to 1813.

There's a Jerusalem Bible illustrated by surrealist Salvador Dali that Wainscott said might fetch $50 and a few books President Jimmy Carter signed.

"We really want to position ourselves as the sale for good quality history and genealogy books on the East Coast," said Wainscott, who is also Morrow's economic development director and a former rare book dealer. "These aren't the kinds of things you can buy off the shelf easily."

The sale also will include scores of old LPs, CDs, DVDs, audio books and magazines. A massive table in the archives' executive conference room will hold rare books dating to 1870.

About 40 to 50 rare book dealers have said they plan to buy memberships in the Friends group --- which has about 250 members --- so they can have first dibs, Wainscott said. Membership costs $20, and anyone who wants to beat the crowd can buy one at the door today.

But Wainscott said there should be enough good finds to go around. The group wants to sell all the volumes, not hold on to them waiting for the right buyer.

"The point is to sell them," he said. "We've got to get a good price, but it's important people feel like they got a good deal."

Copyright 2005 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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