I recently ran across a Nancy Drew lot on eBay that had a starting bid of $39.99 and a Buy It Now of $85.00. The postage cost was $8.00.
CAROLYN KEENE 1930 SET OF 15 BOOKS SOME WITH JACKETS NICE COLLECTION
I like finding Buy It Now lots, because I can buy the lots outright, avoid having to bid against other collectors, and sometimes get really good deals. The Buy It Now was high enough on this lot that I was not sure whether I wanted to make a purchase. However, I was tempted.
I have mentioned many times how I rely on pictures to make decisions about listings, and this can avoid me having to ask questions. I made several observations about this lot.
I knew that many of the books probably had the four glossy illustrations. I did not know if the illustrations were still present, but I was quite sure that a number of the books in this lot would have had the illustrations originally.
I also knew that the jackets for Hollow Oak and Mysterious Letter dated those books to 1941 or before, since the jackets did not have a spine symbol. Based on my belief that many of the other books had the internals, I concluded that these two books likely had the internals or were at least from the late 1930s.
Last, I realized that the wraparound dust jackets would most likely be on tweed books from around 1958 to 1961. I knew for sure that Old Clock and Haunted Showboat would be from that era.
The question was whether the lot was worth purchasing. I have shied away from buying Nancy Drew books with dust jackets in the last couple of years, since I am still trying to rid myself of the many I purchased around four years ago. That was one of the reasons I was not sure whether to purchase the books.
The value of Nancy Drew books with jackets has fallen greatly, and even if the two books with jackets also have the glossy internals, I could not be sure of selling the books for high enough of a price to be certain that the lot was worth purchasing. Still, I was intrigued by "what ifs."
I wanted to ask the seller a question, but decided against it. Anyone could have bought the books while I sat back and waited for the answer to a question.
I finally decided to purchase the lot, since I decided that in the worst case scenario, I would end up not keeping any of the books and would sell them for what I paid for them.
The books arrived today.
So, what did I end up receiving? Here they are in the order of the above picture.
Hidden Staircase - glossy frontispiece and three glossy internals, lists to Mysterious Letter, 1933 printing
Lilac Inn - glossy frontispiece and three glossy internals, lists to Mysterious Letter, 1932 printing
Shadow Ranch - glossy frontispiece and three glossy internals, no ads, 1932 printing
Red Gate Farm - glossy frontispiece and at least two internals, one might be missing, lists to Mysterious Letter, 1933 printing
Twisted Candles - The book is the elusive 1932C-1 first printing with "This Isn't All!" with a box drawn around it followed by Nancy Drew to Mysterious Letter and Judy Bolton to Invisible Chimes. All four illustrations are present.
Larkspur Lane - glossy frontispiece and three glossy internals, anywhere from a 1933 to 1937 printing, definitely not the first printing
Broken Locket - glossy frontispiece and three glossy internals, 1934 to 1936 printing
Ivory Charm - glossy frontispiece and three glossy internals, 1936 first or second printing
Whispering Statue - glossy frontispiece, 1937A-1
Tapping Heels - glossy frontispiece, 1939 or 1940 printing, not the first printing
Old Clock tweed with jacket listing to Old Stagecoach
Blackwood Hall tweed with jacket listing to Golden Pavilion
Haunted Showboat tweed with jacket listing to Old Stagecoach
Mysterious Letter - glossy frontispiece and three glossy internals, jacket lists to Ivory Charm and is in very nice shape
Hollow Oak - glossy frontispiece and three glossy internals, jacket lists to Ivory Charm
I'd say that I did okay. Mysterious Letter is of particular interest, because when I was first collecting Nancy Drew books, I found that the Mysterious Letter Tandy jacket was very elusive. I could never seem to find decent early copies. I do have first and second printing dust jackets which both have flaws. For that reason, I will keep this book and jacket.
Twisted Candles is also of particular interest due to the extreme difficultly in obtaining the first printing book. Read through this post for details. Unfortunately, the book is a bit rough, as is the one that I have used for my first printing dust jacket. I'm not sure which one I will keep; it will probably be like a coin toss. When I can't tell, I usually keep the one I already had "just because."
I won't be keeping Hollow Oak with the dust jacket, because I already have at least two extras plus the ones in my collection. At least for me, the thick early printings of Hollow Oak in dust jacket are rather common, and I have no trouble accumulating multiple extras.
In closing, I want to explain why I knew that the thick books probably had the internals. I could tell by the color of the bindings and by the texture of the covers. If you own any Nancy Drew books with internals along with some from around 1939, compare the covers, and you will see the difference.
In the above photo, you can see the texture of the covers of the books in the top row. Click on the photo to see a larger version, where you can also see the texture of the cover in the lower left corner, which does not have the internals.
All in all, this was a fun purchase.