Last month, I happened to notice some Nancy Drew Wanderer hardcover editions with dust jackets around three hours after the seller listed the books in fixed-price listings on eBay. This is the group picture of the books that the seller placed in each listing.
The seller also included photos of each book and jacket in each listing. The seller did not state that the books were not library discards, but it was safe to assume that the books had never been in libraries.
The jackets appeared to be in outstanding condition, and the books appeared to be for the most part in the same condition. Both the jacket and book for The Emerald-Eyed Cat Mystery were severely bumped at the top edge. One of the Hardy Boys books was warped.
The seller's prices ranged from $40 to $65 per book.
Nancy Drew #60 - $50
Nancy Drew #67 - $65
Nancy Drew #68 - $65
Nancy Drew #70 - $65
Nancy Drew #74 - $50 (later reduced to $40)
Nancy Drew #75 - $40
Nancy Drew #77 - $65
The seller also had the following two Hardy Boys books, which were not of interest to me.
Hardy Boys #83 - $40
Hardy Boys #85 - $60
The prices were a little high for my taste, but I knew that some of the Nancy Drew books would be upgrades. I got out my books and compared them carefully to these books. I determined that #68, 74, and 77 would not be upgrades, so I removed those books from consideration.
Another problem was that several of these books were not first printings, but mine were. My books were library discards, but these were not. These were obviously in better condition than mine. I decided that I wanted to purchase #67 and #70 for sure.
I next looked at #60. I did not like the $50 price, because #60 is one of the easier titles to find. However, it is only easier to find as a library discard. This book was not a library discard. Therefore, I would be silly to pass on it when the book would be a significant upgrade, albeit a later printing than mine. I decided to purchase #60.
Finally, I looked at #75. I decided that I could swap books and jackets, keeping my jacket with that book. I didn't like the bumped area, but a book in excellent condition that was not a library discard was still better than mine, even with a bumped upper spine.
I ended up purchasing #60, 67, 70, and 75. The two Hardy Boys books sold that same day to two other people, probably both Hardy Boys collectors. Nancy Drew #68 and #77 sold the next day. It took awhile for #74 to sell, and the seller lowered the price of it before it sold.
When I received my books in the mail, I was extremely pleased with the condition. As expected, the books are not library discards and are all in excellent condition, with the exception of #75. The jackets are in outstanding condition and could be classified in "as new" condition, with the exception of #75.
Next, I had to make a decision about the books and jackets. The first printing Wanderer books tend to have yellowed paper. The later printing Wanderer books tend to have excellent quality white paper that has not even slightly yellowed. The later printing books are actually nicer than the first printing books.
I asked on my Facebook page soon after receiving these books what others thought about what was most important about the Wanderer hardcover books. I already knew that others' responses would probably support my own beliefs, but I wanted to see what they would say. I asked what was most important from the following options.
a) first printing with yellowed paper
b) later printing with white paper
c) first printing in very good condition
d) later printing in close to "as new" condition
e) first printing in a library discard
f) later printing not from a library
The consensus was that b, d, and f are more important with f the most important by far. This matches my feelings on the subject. Of course, if one could have a book that has white paper, is a first printing, is in excellent condition, and is not a library discard, that would be the most optimal. The trouble is that first printings of the Wanderer books usually do not have white paper, so in most cases, that combination is impossible. We have to make concessions.
This topic is growing quite long, so I will continue in my next blog post.