The 1930A-1 printing of The Secret of the Old Clock in hardcover with dust jacket is considered to be the most difficult to acquire of all first printing Nancy Drew books. The value of this book and jacket is around $10,000. While the first printing of Old Clock in dust jacket is the most coveted and valuable Nancy Drew book, it is not necessarily the most elusive.
The first printing book for The Mystery at Lilac Inn is very elusive. It is the only first printing Nancy Drew book that I have not managed to acquire. Both the 1930A-1 and 1930B-2 printings of Lilac Inn have blank endpapers and no silhouette on the front cover. The very first post-text ad lists 9 Hardy Boys to Airport Mystery. The second post-text ad lists 20 Outdoor Girls books to Canoe Trip, and the third post-text ad lists 10 Blythe Girls to Margy's Mysterious Visitor.
[Note to Sellers: If your Lilac Inn book does not have the exact ads listed in the above paragraph in the exact order listed above, then it is not the first printing book. Books that have the same binding style but different ads are not first printings and are worth $100 or less.]
Since two printings of the Lilac Inn book meet the points for the first printing, it should be easier to find than the 1930A-1 Nancy Drew Old Clock book, which only had one printing. For some inexplicable reason, the first printing book for Lilac Inn hardly ever comes up for sale, and when it does, it is usually in bad shape.
The first and second printing dust jackets for Lilac Inn both list to Lilac Inn on the front flap. The only difference between the first and second printing dust jackets is the list of titles on the reverse side of the dust jacket. For the 1930A-1 dust jacket, the reverse side lists Grosset and Dunlap adult fiction in alphabetical order. For the 1930B-2 dust jacket, the reverse side lists the usual Grosset and Dunlap series books as seen on other early Nancy Drew dust jackets.
Both the first and second printing Lilac Inn dust jackets are elusive, but not nearly as elusive as the first/second printing Lilac Inn book. The book should be easier to find than either individual dust jacket, since two printings match the points for the first printing book. For some reason, the book is extremely scarce.
In my experience, the first printing Lilac Inn book is much more scarce than the 1932A-1 Clue in the Diary book with blank endpapers that sellers are always trying to sell for $1,000 or more. This is a good example of when people buy into the hype and don't realize that the hyped book may not as difficult to find as other certain books and should not be valued nearly as high.
I have noticed an interesting pattern concerning early printings of Lilac Inn that could explain why the first/second printing dust jackets are not quite as elusive as the first/second printing book. In early 2010, I bought a 1930A-1 Lilac Inn dust jacket that was paired with a 1931D-7 book, detailed in this post.
It was disappointing and a bit odd that the first printing dust jacket was paired with a later book.
In October 2010, a 1930B-2 Lilac Inn dust jacket paired with a 1930C-3 Lilac Inn book was sold, detailed in this post.
This is a second example of a mismatched book and jacket.
In November 2010, I bought a 1930B-2 Lilac Inn dust jacket that was paired with a 1935B-22 book.
This matching is way off and really odd. The book and jacket are off by five years. They do have similar wear patterns, so they have been matched together for a very long time. Exactly why are the first and second printing dust jackets of Lilac Inn all showing up on later books? And exactly why are the first/second books so elusive?
Some Nancy Drew collectors have kept track of the early Nancy Drew books and jackets that have shown up on eBay. The three Lilac Inn dust jackets mentioned in this post may be the only ones we know of that list to Lilac Inn that have sold on eBay. All three Lilac Inn dust jackets were paired with the wrong book.
While we do not know exactly what the cause was, we can conclude that a number of the first and second printing Lilac Inn dust jackets were paired with later books, and most likely by the bindery. Perhaps only a small number of first/second printing Lilac Inn books were printed, but a higher number of dust jackets were printed. It is quite probable that the extra dust jackets were paired with later books as the later books were printed. This would explain why the first/second printing Lilac Inn book is so difficult to find.
I also think that both the first and second printing dust jackets for Lilac Inn are subsets of the same printing. Since Farah has designated the one that has fiction in alphabetical order on the reverse side as the first printing, it is the one that is worth more. How can we really be sure that it was first?
The 1930C-3 Old Clock jacket lists to Lilac Inn and has the adult fiction list in alphabetical order. The 1930C-3 Hidden Staircase jacket lists to Lilac Inn but has the series lists on the reverse side. The 1930B-2 Bungalow Mystery jacket lists to Lilac Inn and has the adult fiction list in alphabetical order. So which would it be for the first printing of Lilac Inn? It seems to me that it could go either way, since dust jackets out at about the same time have both types of lists on the reverse side.
I'm sure that Farah had a reason for placing the one with the adult fiction in alphabetical order as the first printing, but to me, either one might be the first printing. For that reason, I am keeping both dust jackets.
Edited on June 26, 2012 to add: The first printing of Lilac Inn cannot be determined by outward appearance only. You must look at the post-text ad information. The four post-text ad pages are "This Isn't All!" followed by Hardy Boys to Great Airport Mystery, Outdoor Girls to Canoe Trip, and Blythe Girls to Margy's Mysterious Visitor, in that exact order. The same ads in a different order means that the book is not the first printing. Any other combination of ads means that the book is not the first printing. Later printings are much easier to find and are worth much less than the first printing.
Please also read these related posts, which were written because of the many sellers who have read this post and completely misunderstood the content.
Seeking the First Printing of Nancy Drew Lilac Inn
1930A-1 Nancy Drew Lilac Inn First Printing Book
Continuing to Seek the First Printing of Lilac Inn
Nancy Drew First Format Lilac Inn Prices