Monday, June 1, 2009

Incorrectly Numbered Nancy Drew Dust Jackets

In 1950, Grosset and Dunlap revised the dust jackets for ten Nancy Drew titles, #1 through #9 and #11, changing from the white spine dust jackets to the wraparound dust jackets. The first wraparound dust jackets for all ten volumes list to Wooden Lady on the front flap. A mistake was made with the first printings of the revised dust jackets for #2, 5, 8, and 11. These four jackets each ended up with the wrong number on the spine. Hidden Staircase had #8 on the spine; Shadow Ranch had #11 on the spine; Mysterious Letter had #2 on the spine; and Broken Locket had #5 on the spine.

As soon as the incorrect numbers were noticed, the numbers were hole-punched from the spines of the dust jackets. The mistake was caught so quickly that very few of the the dust jackets with the incorrect numbers made it into circulation. I estimate that around 90% to 99% of the surviving dust jackets for the first wraparound printings of these four volumes are hole-punched. It is rare to find one that is not hole-punched and that actually has the wrong number on it.

Farah's Guide assigns the hole-punched jackets for these four volumes a value of $120.00 each. He assigns the incorrectly numbered jackets a value of $300.00 each. Keep in mind that the Farah's Guide value is for dust jackets that have minimal wear and chipping. Even so, I disagree with Farah's assessment of the values of these dust jackets. He assigns all four volumes the same value; yet, the four jackets do not show up with the same frequency. Since scarcity factors into the value of a book, the four jackets should have different values since they are unequally scarce.

I have had all four hole-punched jackets for years. It was easiest to acquire the hole-punched Mysterious Letter. In fact, I have had a number of extras pass through my hands. I feel like the hole-punched Mysterious Letter is only worth around $50.00 or so, not the $120.00 quoted in Farah's Guide. The hole-punched Hidden Staircase is a little harder to find, but it is somewhat common as well. Shadow Ranch and Broken Locket are the two hardest to find hole-punched jackets, so these two are the ones that are worth the most.

There is also an interesting anomaly in which many mid-1950s tweed copies of #8 with hole-punched jackets have shown up over the years. I have had several of these in my possession at one time or another. A bunch of the hole-punched dust jackets for Mysterious Letter were probably laying around someplace and were placed on a bunch of tweed books in the mid-1950s. It was hard for me to get a #8 hole-punched jacket that was actually matched up with the correct blue silhouette endpapers book.

The incorrectly numbered dust jackets are much harder to find than the hole-punched ones. Hidden Staircase with the #8 on the spine is unquestionably the easiest one of the four to find. Make no mistake that it is very scarce, but I have one in my collection and have had two others pass through my hands. I would not quite call it rare. In my opinion, the incorrectly numbered Hidden Staircase is probably worth around $150.00, not the $300.00 quoted in Farah's Guide.

The remaining three incorrectly numbered dust jackets are extremely elusive and brutally hard to find. I cannot state which of the remaining three is the hardest to find, although I have my suspicions based on which ones I own. The incorrectly numbered jackets for #5, 8, and 11 just about never come up for sale, so when one does, it must be grabbed regardless of condition. The incorrectly numbered dust jackets for #5, 8, and 11 are easily worth more than the $300.00 quoted in Farah's Guide, provided that they are in excellent condition, due to their extreme scarcity.

I mentioned this auction win of mine in a comment a few days back:

1932 Nancy Drew Nancy's Mysterious Letter HBDJ ERROR? Item #330331955788

The auction was for Nancy's Mysterious Letter with #2 on the dust jacket and closed at $153.51.


While the dust jacket is a bit tattered, I had to have it since I had no idea when I would ever have another chance to get an incorrectly numbered Mysterious Letter dust jacket. I have been looking for these dust jackets for 12 years.

While I have all four hole-punched dust jackets, I only have the incorrectly numbered dust jackets for Hidden Staircase and Mysterious Letter. I almost have an incorrectly numbered dust jacket for Shadow Ranch. Check it out:



The hole missed the first digit of the 11, so this is why I kind of have an incorrectly numbered dust jacket of Shadow Ranch. While the jacket is just the hole-punched version, it is like a deluxe hole-punched version. It will have to do until I someday find an intact 11. Did you know that every single time I get a hole-punched jacket that I check the reverse side immediately just in case the punched-out part is clinging somehow to the jacket? I've never had any luck, but I am ever hopeful.

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