Friday, February 5, 2016

Hardy Boys #26 Phantom Freighter and #27 Skull Mountain

In the original text of Hardy Boys #26, The Phantom Freighter, Thaddeus McClintock wants to go on a trip.  He hires the Hardy boys to come up with a good idea for a trip and to make all the plans.  Frank and Joe decide upon a trip on a freighter, but they cannot get passage on one.  Meanwhile, Aunt Gertrude receives a carton of documents that is not hers.  Her carton was switched with someone else's, and the boys must find Aunt Gertrude's carton.

I found it odd that the boys never look at the contents of the carton that Aunt Gertrude receives by mistake.  Later on page 49, Fenton says that the carton may have contained something valuable.  Right.  The boys missed an opportunity when they gave up the carton without searching it.  They should know by now that in Bayport there are no unimportant coincidences.  Everything strange is part of an important mystery. 

While I overall enjoyed the book, I feel like the plot goes in circles.  The boys keep trying to get passage on a freighter. They keep going back to the same place, where they know they will be turned down, and keep asking to no avail.

In the original text of Hardy Boys #27, The Secret of Skull Mountain, water disappears from the Tarnack reservoir each night.  As a result, Bayport's water supply may soon get low.  The Hardy boys investigate.

I found the writing to be off.  Chet is always the butt of jokes due to his obsession with food, but I felt his behavior to be appalling.  Early in the story, Chet arrives during the Hardys' dinner and expects to get a full meal.  He assumes that he is to be given part of their meal and is disappointed that none is left for him.

The Hardys take home an Indian skull and use it to scare Aunt Gertrude.  This is disrespectful of the the dead.  I was reminded of how Nancy Drew and her friends play a prank using an Indian skeleton in The Secret of the Forgotten City.

I did not find this book interesting.  I did not like the beginning of the story, and I was not interested in the plot.  I ended up skimming a large portion of the later part of the story.  

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Hardy Boys #24 Short-Wave Mystery and #25 Secret Panel

In the original text of Hardy Boys #24, The Short-Wave Mystery, Chet embarks on the hobby of taxidermy, which plunges the Hardy Boys into their next mystery.  Stuffed animals are being stolen from all around Bayport.  Meanwhile, a mysterious message, "Help—Hudson," is heard over the short-wave radio.  The Hardy boys also devote their time to helping others, including an amnesia patient and a group of street urchins who are in trouble with the law.  And obviously, all of these events become intertwined in the same mystery.

The Hardy boys make sure that the street urchins go to school before helping with Chet's taxidermy.  On page 24, the boys arrive at the Hardys' home with their schoolbooks as proof that they had been to school.  The Hardys, however, had spent their entire day listening to the short-wave radio.  Don't they have to attend school as well?  Or have they mysteriously graduated from high school again?

On page 168, Fenton has no idea what "Help—Hudson" could possibly mean.  How about the obvious?  Someone needs help!

I thought it rather convenient of the criminals to leave a map behind showing the exact location of Hudson's hideout in Canada.

I skimmed the last part of the book.  When stories are not as logical as they could be and are too coincidental, I often get bored towards the end.  It is ridiculous that the missing men are found near the criminals at the end of the story.  I knew during the entire story that this would be the result.  Once I reached the place where the story reveals that very coincidence, I lost interest and wanted it to be over.

Except for the last part, I greatly enjoyed this story.
In the original text of Hardy Boys #25, The Secret Panel, John Mead asks the Hardy Boys to make certain he turned off a light in his home.  The boys have two problems:  John Mead has been dead for five years, and the house has no doorknobs!  In the meantime, a doctor was abducted to care for a patient, and Fenton Hardy asks the boys to help him in this case. 

On page 40, Frank and Joe tell Fenton about Lenny, who is missing.  Fenton replies as follows.
"I don't like it," he remarked.  "Racketeers, shooting—no, it sounds like trouble among members of a gang.  That's something I don't want to get mixed up with."
Say, what?  This is unbelievable.  Fenton is mixed up with dangerous characters all the time, and he is worried about a gang?  Oddly, Fenton changes his mind on page 44 and enthusiastically sends the boys off to investigate.  First, Fenton is worried about a gang, then he decides to pull his sons into the case.  This is just so logical.

I thoroughly enjoyed most of the book.  I was bored once the boys are rescued, because then the book becomes the typical who-did-what.  The last couple of chapters are devoted to a detailed explanation of every single event.  I didn't care, and I seldom do.  I skimmed most of it.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

More Bulk Lots Listed on eBay

I have listed a few more bulk lots on eBay.  Also included here are the books from my previous post that have not yet sold, and I have already lowered the prices of some of them.

I have disallowed international shipping on most of the lots due to prohibitively high postage costs.  I don't mind selling internationally.  However, the postage for these lots will run around $50 to $125 each if bought by a buyer who resides outside the United States.  If you live outside the United States and feel that you would be willing to pay the high cost of postage in addition to the item price, let me know which lot interests you, and I will add the international shipping to the listing.

Partial Set 42 Vintage Nancy Drew Books Carolyn Keene Some Orig Text

13 Vintage Nancy Drew Books

19 Vintage Hardy Boys Books

10 Vintage Hardy Boys Books

4 Vintage Hardy Boys Books w/DJs

Unfortunate Events #1-8 HB Lemony Snicket + Rick Riordan + More 

5 Nancy Drew Papercutz Girl Detective Graphic Novels Hardcover

9 Three Investigators Books 

12 Nancy Drew Books with Dust Jackets 1940s

Here is the link to the main page of my eBay store.

Jennifer's Series Books on eBay

Here is the link to my booth on Bonanza.

Jennifer's Series Books on Bonanza

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Nancy Drew 1930A-1 Old Clock with Front Flap

Earlier this month, the first printing of the Nancy Drew book, The Secret of the Old Clock, sold on eBay.  The book did not have a jacket, at least not most of it.  The front flap and part of the back panel were present.  While this does not count as a surviving copy of the first printing jacket, enough was present to raise considerable interest.

The book sold for $818.00.  Was it worth it?  Of course it was!  Some of you would disagree, but this is all about bragging rights.  At least, it would have been if I had won.  No, sadly, I am not the person who won this auction.  I was interested, but I was not willing to pay enough to outbid all of the other interested collectors.

Here's the deal.  I own all of the first printing books for Nancy Drew #2 through #38 with first printing dust jackets.  I also own the first printing book for The Secret of the Old Clock.  The first printing dust jacket for Old Clock is all that I lack.  At this time, I am not willing to pay $7,000 to $10,000 for a first printing Old Clock with the first printing dust jacket.  I may change my mind eventually, but until that day comes, I'm not going to be able to purchase one.  I will never own the first printing Old Clock dust jacket unless one falls into my hands through a strange twist of fate.

I am ever hopeful that the strange twist of fate will happen to me eventually.

I wouldn't mind owning part of the first printing dust jacket.  It would be better than owning none of the first printing dust jacket.  In fact, partial dust jackets often get tucked inside books and end up getting used as bookmarks.  There might be some other partial first printing Old Clock dust jackets out there.  If so, one might be able to piece together a first printing dust jacket from multiple partial copies.

Let's say that someone finds the front panel and spine of the first printing dust jacket.  Combine that with the partial dust jacket from this listing, and a collector would have over half of the first printing dust jacket.***  I would be very happy with over half of the first printing dust jacket.  I'm not kidding!  Wouldn't you love having over half of the first printing dust jacket?

***This example is only valid if the list of titles on the reverse side of the front panel portion of the dust jacket is unique to the first printing jacket.  According to Farah's Guide, the reverse jacket list might be different in the first printing than in later printings, but I am not certain.  In other words, if the list of titles on the reverse side of the front panel is exactly the same as a slightly later printing, then one couldn't be certain that the front panel is from the first printing jacket.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Bulk Lots Listed on eBay

I have bought a few too many large lots of books lately, and I have run out of shelf space.  I have listed bulk lots on eBay in order to get rid of some of the extras.

I have disallowed international shipping on most of the lots due to prohibitively high postage costs.  I don't mind selling internationally.  However, I don't wish to take the time to weigh large lots and figure out the postage cost when international buyers will almost never be interested in paying the extremely high postage.  The postage for these lots will run around $50 to $125 each if bought by a buyer who resides outside the United States.  If you live outside the United States and feel that you would be willing to pay the high cost of postage in addition to the item price, let me know which lot interests you, and I will add the international shipping to the listing.

Partial Set 42 Vintage Nancy Drew Books Carolyn Keene Some Orig Text

13 Vintage Nancy Drew Books

19 Vintage Hardy Boys Books

10 Vintage Hardy Boys Books

4 Vintage Hardy Boys Books w/DJs

Vicki Barr #3, 5, 7, 8, 11, and 13 with COPY Dust Jackets

32 Nancy Drew Softcover Books Ranging from #64 to #174

Here is the link to the main page of my eBay store.

Jennifer's Series Books on eBay

Here is the link to my booth on Bonanza.

Jennifer's Series Books on Bonanza

Hardy Boys #22 Flickering Torch and #23 Broken Blade

In the original text of Hardy Boys #22, The Flickering Torch Mystery, the Hardys get jobs at an experimental farm.  During their free time, Frank and Joe also investigate missing silkworms at a nearby research facility.  The boys also hope to spot clues to Fenton Hardy's case, which involves a flickering torch.

As always, all of the individual mysteries turn out to be connected.

This book has a choppy transition at the bottom of page 72.

On page 138, the reader learns that the Hardys' house "had been gutted by the flames" but the "bedrooms were intact."  So of course, the Hardys stay in the house overnight.  Why not?  The house is still standing.  However, it seems that the house would have smelled rather unpleasant.    

What I really like about this book is that nearly all the story occurs in a small locale.  The boys either walk or ride horses to get around that area.  These are always the kinds of stories that I enjoy the best.

I love that Aunt Gertrude goes with the boys and stays in the farmhouse with them. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

In the original text of Hardy Boys #23, The Melted Coins, Chet finds an old coin while digging on his property.  Chet then spends all his time digging for treasure.  Meanwhile, a counterfeiting ring is operating in Bayport, and the boys search for clues.

I had forgotten so much about the Hardy Boys series.  As I read this book, I began to recall something about Chet and his hobbies and that he has a new hobby in each book.  Chet's interest in coins in this book is the very first of Chet's many interests and hobbies.

The criminals go to a lot of trouble that is rather unnecessary.  They steal valuable coins in order to melt them down to create counterfeit coins.  The criminals should have found scrap metal to melt down instead of going after coin collections.  Besides, they could have just sold the valuable coins on the black market.

Aunt Gertrude's role is fun.

Even though the crime is stupid and the plot full of coincidence, this book is great.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Hardy Boys #20 Flying Express and #21 Broken Blade

In the original text of Hardy Boys #20, The Mystery of the Flying Express, Frank and Joe are tasked with helping their father find a secret training camp for spies.  Later, the boys learn about a missing professor, Morse, whose disappearance turns out to be connected to the training camp for spies.

Harriet Adams outlined this book.  Thank goodness!  The books I just read were "crazy Edna" outlines, and I had grown tired of them.

The boys follow a man who picked up a package.  They believe it went in the water, so they search for it.  On page 38, a bundle of newspapers is found in the water right where the package was dropped.  Joe astutely notes, "There must have been some reason why that fellow was so eager to get [the package]."  You think?  Frank says that they should "take the package along, just for luck."  The boys go to that much trouble to find the package, then Frank says they will take it "just for luck."  Has Frank lost some brain cells?

This book has numerous choppy transitions.  On page 125, the text specifies that the "two brothers" left the others to check on a vehicle.  When the boys remark about the vehicle, Kelly answers, but he didn't go with them. On page 184, the boys use a vine ladder to climb into the spies' camp, but no mention is made about them hiding the ladder.  Later, the boys leave via the vine ladder.  Did they really leave it hanging over the wall so that anyone could have spotted it?

On 189, why would the two foreign spies speak in English while alone and discussing their plans?

Despite several flaws, I greatly enjoyed this story, and it was a relief to read it after having read through several mediocre stories.

In the original text of Hardy Boys #21, The Clue of the Broken Blade, Mr. Hardy requests the boys' assistance in his latest case, which is to apprehend a group of thieves that steals valuable cargo from ships that have just docked.  The boys also learn about a stolen sword and another sword with a broken blade.  They take on that case as well.  Of course, both cases turn out to be the same case.  And not only that, but the boys find a missing man who is also connected to the case.

I found it strange that the boys are asked to join an acrobat act in the circus.  With a small amount of practice, they are ready to perform on the trapeze.  I was reminded of when Nancy Drew performs her trick riding in the circus in The Ringmaster's Secret.

I also found it strange that Moe Gordon carries around the broken blade and keeps leaving pieces of it behind.  His strange habit certainly proves to be helpful to the Hardys!

I greatly enjoyed this story.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Nancy Drew Picture Cover Prices

I wrote a post three years ago about the scarcity of Nancy Drew original text picture cover books.  The data compiled in that post is relevant to this discussion.  Also relevant are some statements about Nancy Drew prices that David Farah made in Farah's Guide in 2005.  At that time, I disagreed with what he wrote.  I have now changed my mind and agree completely.

Farah wrote that eBay listings are but a small portion of the Nancy Drew listings sold online and that eBay listings are not representative of the average prices paid for Nancy Drew books.  At that time, I felt that the eBay sold listings were truly representative of the value of Nancy Drew books, since I felt that most of the action was on eBay, even though it was in decline.  Now in 2016, eBay has declined considerably, and I completely agree with Farah.  eBay sold listings are no longer representative of the average value of Nancy Drew books, because now, most used books are not sold on eBay.  It's interesting what a difference 11 years can make on one's perspective.

In my recent post on Bret King prices, I mentioned that buyers often pay higher prices for books on fixed-price sites such as AbeBooks and Amazon than they do in eBay auctions.  Since fixed-price sites do not make sold listings available, collectors have no idea what other collectors are paying for books on those sites.

The original text Nancy Drew picture cover books are in demand and are getting harder to find.  I have noticed that I tend to price some of my books higher than other sellers do and that my books do tend to sell, sometimes very quickly.  Am I pricing them too high?  I don't think so, at least not for most of them, since they are selling.  I cannot keep some titles in stock, since I cannot find additional copies quickly enough to satisfy demand.  This causes me to wonder if I am pricing them too low.  For some books, I cannot justify pricing them any higher because the condition is not good enough.

Another reason I wonder about prices is because I have a buyer who is purchasing some of my picture cover books to resell.  This does not bother me at all.  However, this causes me to wonder about the value, because when someone who is reselling pays $20 for a Nancy Drew picture cover book, that tells me that buyers are paying much higher prices on the fixed-price sites.  The seller cannot be selling the book for just a few dollars more if the seller is willing to pay $20 for the book.  The seller must be pricing the book at $30 or more.

I have observed that I sell some picture cover books at $15 to $20, while in eBay auctions, some of the same books sell for just $5.  That's why I believe that eBay auction prices are actually low-end prices.  The auction prices are a good benchmark for value and give us very useful information.  But we have to remember that we don't know anything about the fixed-price sites and what type of prices are being paid on those venues.  Since my experience is that fixed-price listings bring higher prices, I contend that the eBay auction results are at the low end.

This does not mean that the books are worth hugely more than the eBay auction results.  In some cases, they are worth only slightly more.  In other cases, they are worth much more.  When I have a book to sell from a scarce series, I check the eBay auction results and unsold fixed-price listings from other sites.  I will usually price the book higher than the auction results but lower than the unsold fixed-price listings.  This may mean pricing a $5 auction book at $10 or a $20 auction book at $30.  In some cases, I may decide to price a book significantly higher, if I feel that the scarcity justifies the higher price.

With all this in mind, I took screen captures of some of the sold listings for individual sales of Nancy Drew picture cover books on eBay.  For books sold by "best offer," I noted on the photo the approximate price paid, which was determined by the book's placement in search results sorted by price.

Click on each image to see a larger version.

The "man with pipe" cover art of The Clue of the Broken Locket is scarce.  Knowledgeable sellers price the book at $15 and up.  I saw four examples on eBay that sold for between $13 and $23.  I saw a few others that sold for $5 to $10.  The book that sold at the lowest price was a copy for $2.50 in an auction.


The original text PC of The Clue of the Tapping Heels is one of the harder to find picture cover books.  Seen below are two books that list to Pine Hill.  One seller priced the book at $8, and I priced mine at $20.  I always price this title at $10 and up if the condition is good enough, and I have no trouble selling it.

The revised text of Mystery of the Brass-Bound Trunk is one of the hardest to find revised text books.  I sold one at $15 while two other sellers priced their books quite low.

The original text PC of The Mystery at the Moss-Covered Mansion is one that I sometimes have more trouble finding.  I found it to be quite scarce a few years ago, but more recently, I have had more extras come into my possession.  Nevertheless, I tend to price it a little higher, and I don't have much trouble selling it.  The two higher-priced books are first picture cover books, but I typically price my non-first picture cover copies at $10 to $15 depending upon condition.  Two sellers sold their books, one a first PC, for only around $5.

The original text PC of The Clue in the Old Album with the original cover art is one of the very hardest to find PCs with only three printings.

Here are several different completed listings that I captured.  I don't have any specific comments to make.

Here are several examples of sold listings for Mystery of Crocodile Island.  All four of these books are first printing books.  The book that sold at auction went at the very low opening bid.

The Thirteenth Pearl is a strong seller.  It's not as hard to find as some other books, and I often find extras locally.  In fact, I just purchased one in the last two weeks.  However, it's a book that probably isn't found easily in a local store by the average person who actually needs a copy of the book.  For that reason, it always sells well online.  Notice the range of $10 up to $30 for the following listings.  The lowest prices are auctions.

Even copies of The Thirteenth Pearl with double oval endpapers are strong sellers.  I have sold nice condition copies of The Thirteenth Pearl with double oval endpapers for $20 to $25.  In nice condition, all matte copies of this book are worth $20 to $40, with the true first printings commanding the prices at the high end of the range.

The prices shown here are not definitive and do not show the entire situation.  Mainly, I hope I have shown that prices do vary considerably and that auctions do often bring prices that are much lower than prices of the fixed-price listings.