Sunday, September 25, 2011

Ten Rarest Nancy Drew Books and Collectibles

I found the phrase "ten rarest Nancy Drew Books" as a search term that led someone to this blog. I decided to list some of the rarest Nancy Drew books and collectibles. For people who are not very familiar with collecting Nancy Drew, be aware that the book or collectible has to be exactly like what I mention. If I state that a book has to list to a certain title, then an example that lists to any other title does not match.

Many Nancy Drew collectibles or book variants are scarce or perhaps rare, but I am only going to mention the ones that seem to be so scarce that most people will either never own them or will have much difficulty in acquiring them.

For a few items, I will give you an idea of value. For others, too many factors would influence the value. In some cases, the value may not be particularly high, because few people might be interested. Just because an item is rare does not mean that many people desire it.

Here is my list of ten rare (or at least very scarce) Nancy Drew books and collectibles in no particular order.

Nancy Drew Canister Puzzle

Courtesy of www.nancydrewsleuth.com

The boxed versions of the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys puzzles from the late 1970s are findable, but the canister versions are extremely elusive. I recall seeing them up for sale only once online, and I believe that this picture is from that listing. Since the canister puzzles are so extremely elusive, I wonder whether the canister version was some type of promotional item. The canister puzzle is probably worth at least several hundred dollars.

#78 The Phantom of Venice Wanderer Hardcover with Dust Jacket


#57-78 in the Nancy Drew series were published in hardcover editions with dust jackets in small print runs, unlike the very common softcover versions. I covered this topic in greater detail in this blog post. The dust-jacketed versions are much harder to find, but most interested collectors are able to acquire the majority of them.

#78 The Phantom of Venice is the one that is just about impossible to acquire and, with its dust jacket present, is probably worth more than $100 as a library discard and worth more than $300 if not a library discard. If the book does not have a dust jacket and is a library discard, then I expect that it would sell for well under $100.

My Nancy Drew Date Book and Homework Planner

Courtesy of www.nancydrewsleuth.com
This homework planner seldom comes up for sale, which makes it extremely scarce.

The Mystery at Lilac Inn first printing book

The first printing book for The Mystery at Lilac Inn is very elusive. The first printing dust jacket seems to be slightly more common, and it is also very elusive. I have a first printing dust jacket that is mismatched with a later book. I also have a second printing dust jacket that is mismatched with a later book. For some reason, quite a few of the early Lilac Inn jackets are matched with later books, which makes the first printing book extremely hard to find. My guess is that sales of the first printing of Lilac Inn were lower than sales of the first printings of other early Nancy Drew books.

The first printing Lilac Inn book has four post-text ad pages. The ads are "This Isn't All!" followed by Hardy Boys to Airport Mystery, Outdoor Girls to Canoe Trip, and Blythe Girls to Margy's Mysterious Visitor in that order. The order is important, because a later printing has the same ads in a different order.

The Secret of the Old Clock with the 1930A-1 dust jacket


This jacket is now showing up more regularly than it once did, but few examples are known to exist. The dust jacket has a front flap that lists three Nancy Drew titles, ending with Bungalow Mystery. The value depends upon the condition. Examples in rough shape have sold for several thousand dollars. All other printings are not worth anywhere near this much.

Nancy's Mysterious Letter first printing book

The first printing dust jacket is scarce but can be found without a huge amount of trouble since it was used on the first three printings. The first printing book is nearly impossible to find. The first printing book has a post-text ad that ends with Clue in the Diary. Some buyers have had trouble with sellers answering questions about the post-text ad wrong, which adds to the difficulty in acquiring this book.

The Sign of the Twisted Candles first printing book

This first printing book is just about impossible to find, especially because sellers do not answer questions correctly. The post-text ads are "This Isn't All" with a line drawn around it in the shape of a box, Nancy Drew to Mysterious Letter, and Judy Bolton to Invisible Chimes. A later printing has the same Nancy Drew and Judy Bolton lists in the same order, but has "This Isn't All" without a line drawn around it. This is the cause of all the trouble.


Sellers don't understand the difference, and questions have to be phrased very carefully. I had to return a book for a refund due to this problem since I used the phrasing in Farah's Guide. I asked the seller if "This Isn't all!" was within a box, and the seller said that it was. The seller thought I meant that the text was in the shape of the box rather than with a line drawn around it.

Nancy Drew #5, 8, and 11 with incorrectly numbered dust jackets


In 1950, the cover art changed for ten Nancy Drew titles. The wrong number was placed on the spines of four of the dust jackets, #2, 5, 8, and 11. Read this post for a complete explanation. #2 with the incorrect number, 8, on the spine is very scarce but can be found. #5, 8, and 11 with the incorrect numbers are infinitely harder to find than #2. The vast majority of collectors will probably never be able to find misnumbered examples of #5, 8, and 11.

The Clue in the Crossword Cipher first printing book

This book lists to The Phantom of Pine Hill on the back cover. As I recently explained, the book is elusive, although I know of several people who own it. The book is very difficult to locate, especially because sellers do not answer the question about the back cover list correctly.

Nancy Drew: Detective Dust Jacket Wrapper


Courtesy of www.nancydrewsleuth.com

Two printings of The Password to Larkspur Lane came with a wrapper on top of the dust jacket that advertised the movie Nancy Drew: Detective starring Bonita Granville. The wrapper is extremely scarce and is worth several thousand dollars in excellent condition.

7 comments:

Paula said...

Thank you for the extremely interesting post!

K. Robinson said...

Neat post. I work in a used book store, and I've always thought about collecting some of the nifty series books I come across. Now I have an idea of what sort of things to keep an eye out for.

Jennifer said...

I'm glad you enjoyed it. This post was in the works for at least a couple of months. I wrote up a few that were obvious, abandoned it, came back several times, added more, and finally ended up with ten items.

Other items might be worthy of being on the list, but I selected these particular items because of how hard I have tried to get some of them or because of how much trouble I have had in obtaining them. I had to use photos from another website since I do not own all of them myself. Anyone who owns any of these items is quite fortunate.

Lian said...

Enjoyed this post and had no idea of some of these collectibles. Would you go further and do another ten rare books and collectibles? Please?

JackWayne said...

Now that is has been a few years, are there any items on this list or that have appeared on the market that you would revise/delete/add? I'm thinking specifically of the two copies of the promo wrap that sold this past summer. Is that still a top ten rarity in your mind?

Jennifer said...

I wouldn't change anything on this list at this time. The promo wrap is still impossible to acquire. Most people are not willing to pay $2,000 for one, so the price itself makes it impossible to get one. We are going to have to see quite a few more of them come up for sale before I would consider it easier to find.

Paula said...

I think two rare or should I say 'scarce'? collectibles are the large River Heights map published in conjunction with Betsy Caprio's book 'The Mystery of Nancy Drew'. It was about 18" x 18" and the only ebay listing I ever saw...was mine! I'm not sure if ND collectors thought it was rare as I think it sold for less than $30.00 (I honestly don't remember the final sale price). The other 'rare' and definitely scarce! collectible is the sales flyer for that map! :) About 5" x 7", you filled it out, enclosed a check and voila! you got a 'rare' River Heights map in the mail! :) I sold one on ebay as well at a very low price. In retrospect I am sorry I sold the map, as it would have made a really neat framed picture for my bedroom.