Monday, February 8, 2010

Clues to Collecting #3

Question: I realized that my copy of "the Hidden Window Mystery" #34 was bound upside down! I was wondering if this makes it "rare" or "scarce" or is it worth less since it is goofed up?

Answer: Binding errors usually make books less valuable. Most people prefer for their books to be bound correctly. Some collectors do seek out variations, so there is a small amount of interest. Most binding errors that I see on eBay either fail to sell or sell at the opening bid. There is usually not a lot of interest.

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Question: Regarding value, have you found a greater value in re-sale for unused library bindings, or do they still seem to bring low prices?

Also, regarding another post I can't find now, which mentioned the '70's double edition ND's and their relative low value (not RARE as a seller had claimed), have you found collectors looking for the harder-to-fine tall versions of these double editions, or do both tall and short seem to command low prices? I came across 5 of the tall ones yesterday, and picked them up since they were only $1.50/ea. But not sure if they're really collectible.

Answer: The lavender Grosset and Dunlap library bindings definitely command a higher price when they are not library discards. I find that the lavender G&D library editions are the one type of library binding that many collectors desire, but they only want them when the books are not library discards.

For all other library bindings, I don't find that whether the books are library discards makes much of a difference. Most people have no interest in the vast majority of library bindings.

The tall double edition books tend to be worth more than the short ones. The tall ones are harder to find, and they seem to be made better. I like them better, so I feel like they are worth more than the short ones. They are definitely collectible.

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Question: Regarding the $1 box PC's - are they always worth picking up if you find them in decent but not neccessarily fine condition? Thanks!

Answer: As to whether $1 box editions are always worth picking up, it depends upon how rough the condition is. The $1 box editions tend to always be a little rough. Some people have stated that the materials used on them were inferior to what were used on other picture covers.

I have noticed that both the $1 box editions and the book club edition picture covers seem to always look a little bad. If you can get a $1 box edition with moderate wear for just a few dollars, it is worth getting.

1 comment:

keeline said...

Binding and printing errors are often believed to be more valuable by beginning collectors. Part of the reason for this is that in fields where government-issued items are collected (coins, stamps, currency), errors are more valuable. These items are inspected and expected to be perfect to combat counterfeits. In past decades stamps could be used as money for small payments.

Mass-market books like our series books from Grosset & Dunlap were not similarly inspected. Hence, many flawed units were sent to retail venues. If a print run was discovered to be flawed, it might be sold off as a "job" which we would say that the item was "remaindered" today.

Some collectors will pick up books with printing or binding errors as a novelty but they will almost never pay more for a flawed copy than they would for a near-perfect copy.

I have several examples of series books with printing errors. For example, I have a Tom Swift Jr. story in a Nancy Drew binding. Imagine the disappointed young reader who expected a ND and got a TSJr. That first owner probably did not read the book -- hence it stayed in nice shape.

James