Most people have a general understanding of the fact that some things in our world might be collectible. Things that maintain either sentimental or intrinsic value for one reason or another, things that we keep laying around the house. My ex-wife and I used to collect shot glasses from the various places that we would visit. I’ve collected basketball cards, coffee mugs, milk caps (pogs), and other things throughout my life. We rarely think that anything we collect might actually be worth something, though we all do have that hope—hence the reason for Antique Road Show. We see some cool pieces, but the vast majority of items passed around are worth very little, if anything. …still, though…
I began collecting books several years ago. It always feels good to get ahold of a book that has an obvious monetary worth, books such as a First Printing of Charles Portis’ True Grit, Richard Ford’s A Piece of My Heart, and a Signed copy of No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy. However, discovering the true worth of something that you may not have known is exciting as hell! A lot of people find value in something only that has a price tag of a few hundred dollars (or thousand(s) dollars) or more, I get excited when I find a book for a couple of dollars that is capable of extending its value by even only half. Books are not worth all that much, most Harry Potter books, for example, after the third book hold very little value simply because there are so many printings, but a First U.K. Edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (there were only 500 printings) has sold, recently for $20,000, and if you find a copy of that book that is misprinted (there is a misprint on page 53 within a list of items for each student to bring to Hogwarts, ‘1 Wand’ is listed twice.) it has sold for as much as $33,000.
There are a lot of books that you are giving away to used bookstores, and are selling during garage sales that are more valuable than you might know, and so what if their value peaks at $25? Consider the margin if you were about to sell it for $.25. If you’re not sure, visit the link here, I offer book appraisals (if you’re looking for the value of a single book or a couple of books that peak under $50, I’ll be happy to waive my fee), I also provide estimates for free. You never know what you might have, and even if you decide to sell it in the yard sale, put the proper price tag on it.
I’ve compiled a list of The Most Expensive Books Sold on abebooks since 2014, and will include them here over the course of two blogs, maybe more.
The Top Selling Novels of 2014 were:
Every book on this short list is, in many ways, a classic, and we’ve grown to expect that with collectibles, with valuables; and on the occasion, with classics, we associate age, but that is not always the case, and neither is it that they are always ‘classics.’ Most of you probably would not consider John le Carre’s Call for the Dead a literary classic. Which is to say that if you have a book and it’s not a ‘classic,’ that does not automatically mean it’s not worth something.
The Top Selling Novels of 2015 were:
The point that I am making in such a roundabout way, is that books are extremely fascinating in a number of ways. To find books by P.D. James, and Terry Pratchett on a list of books that sold for nearly ten grand, on the same list as As I lay Dying, a First Edition of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Career of Evil (2015), it’s amazing to me. These are extreme cases but some of the books that you’re getting rid of so effortlessly are so much more valuable than you know, and even taking them to a place like Half Price Books you’re only going to get a third of what the book is most likely worth. I like Half Price Books, and used bookstores, I love that they find good homes for lonely, needy books, and for the majority of your excess paperbacks that’s exactly what you should do with them, but take a second look at what you have. If you leave this post with anything I hope that it’s a renewal of interest for books, reading, collecting, and appreciating. They aren’t just sitting on your shelves to take up space or to provide some rustic or intellectual aesthetic, there really is something else there.
I am a freelance author, writer, critic, artist, and entrepreneur living in the Heart of the Texas Hill Country.