From time to time I get random queries about one or other aspect of my website; I'm going to start posting a few of them here, suitably anonymised.
Hello. While going through the estate of my grandfather in New England, I've come across a copy of "In Starry Realms" which is signed inside by the author "[E A], August '96, from R.S. Ball Jr." [E A] is my great grandmother. I wondered if there would be any interest in this book, perhaps among fans, from the academic personnel at Cambridge or elsewhere, or in the realm of book collectors in general. I thought I'd write and ask your opinion.
R.S. Ball jr will certainly be Robert Steele Ball, born 1869, the son of the astronomer (they are buried in the same grave), who was a successful engineer in his own right, and studied for a while in Boston which might explain his acquaintance with your great-grandmother. It's a nice touch to have his signature in the book, and it may add a dollar or two to the sale value, but to be honest I expect a dealer will be much more interested in its overall condition. It's not a particularly rare book, first published in 1892 so a copy bought in 1896 is unlikely to be a first edition.