Wednesday, December 31, 2008

More Revealed eBay Hidden IDs

This is weird. Check out item #270320759009. Just in case what I am seeing right now disappears, here is a screen cap:

Click on the image to see a full-size version. The buyer's full ID is visible in the blue area at the top. I am neither the buyer nor the seller, so I should not be seeing the buyer's name. It is odd.

I found other listings in which a best offer was made and accepted, and I also see the buyer's full ID. What is the point of hiding buyers' IDs when some of them are visible? Has it been like this on best offers and I have somehow not noticed it? Or, is this a glitch? If it is a glitch, I like it . . . I really do. It is a very nice glitch.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

More eBay Regulations

A new eBay policy and a new federal law could have a profound effect on eBay sales. While not likely, it is possible that sellers of series books could be affected.

In January, eBay will ban the sale of all ivory, including vintage ivory. EBay had already restricted the sale of ivory, but the rules were not consistently enforced. This should not affect sellers of series books, but sometimes eBay enforces bans by prohibiting mention of the word.

Many people sell fake knock-offs of Tiffany and Co. jewelry and other products. Sellers of items such as the film, Breakfast at Tiffany's, have had their listings blocked because of the name "Tiffany" even though their items have nothing to do with Tiffany and Co.

It is possible that eBay could block the word "ivory." If eBay should decide to block listings that mention the word "ivory," then people will not be able to sell items such as Ivory soap or the Nancy Drew book, The Mystery of the Ivory Charm. I am waiting to see what happens. It might get very interesting.

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 was signed into law in August. It will take effect on February 10, 2009. This law has to do with stricter lead-testing standards on toys. The law will cause problems among sellers of toys on eBay. The question is whether vintage toys will be exempt or whether they could get banned. Some booksellers are concerned that the law could end up targeting sellers of vintage children's books. I tend to think not, but I'm going to keep my eye on this one as well. Go to this message thread on the eBay Booksellers board to read a discussion of the situation.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Buyer Confusion on Nancy Drew #22

I have been asked quite a few times in the last year how to tell which Nancy Drew picture covers have the original text and which ones have the revised text. I finally put that information on this page:

The above page should now make it easy to see. Underneath each image, I have stated whether that cover art has the original or the revised text. For most titles, the text was revised at the same time that the cover art was revised, so it is easy to tell whether a book has the original text.

There are a few exceptions, and these are noted as well. I went through Farah's Guide to make certain that I had all of the exceptions, and I found a couple of which I was not aware. I now know that I have a few more books that I need to find.

It is also possible to tell which text a picture cover has by looking at the spines. I discussed the spines in this older post:

Buyer Confusion on Nancy Drew #9

By knowing what the spines and front covers look like for the original text picture cover books, it is possible to avoid having to ask questions about most books in most auctions.

eBay Hidden IDs

I just learned something that I did not know, and I am amazed. It is possible to view the hidden IDs of winning bidders if you placed a bid on an auction and lost. You have to go to My eBay and click on "Didn't Win" in the menu bar at the left. If you do not have your page customized to see the winning bidders, you have to click on "Customize Display" in the upper right part of the screen. You can then choose to display the winning bidders' IDs.

I just changed my settings to display the IDs, and they are right there for me to see. Wow! The winning bidders' IDs only display on that page in My eBay and are still not visible from the individual item pages. In quite a few cases, I already knew who had won the auctions, but it is exciting to have the rest revealed to me. I wrote down every single ID and the feedback numbers. I can't believe it. I hope they don't take it away from us . . .

Did any of you already know this? It was news to me.

A Mystery Solved

Awhile back, I posted about two original illustrations from the 1930s that I had purchased on eBay. One of the illustrations was unidentified, and I had never seen the dust jacket before. Both the top and bottom parts of the artwork have been cut off, so the title of the book is missing. Here is the illustration:

I made three guesses about this artwork based on what I knew about the other artwork that the seller had sold and my own observations about this particular one.

1. The artwork was probably for a dust jacket from an A. L. Burt book. The seller had sold lots of original art for various A. L. Burt series books.

2. The artwork was for a book written by someone named Grove, since the name appears in what would have to be the spine area of the dust jacket. My guess was Harriet Pyne Grove.

3. The book probably had to do with treasure, since the main object of the illustration is treasure.

I have been searching online on eBay and in other venues for several months hoping to find a book with this dust jacket up for sale. I have been searching for both A. L. Burt books with dust jackets and for books by Harriet Pyne Grove. It has been difficult because A. L. Burt books are all scarce in dust jacket, and the majority of the books by Harriet Pyne Grove are scarce in dust jacket. Finally, I found it.

I was right in all three of my guesses. The book is The Adventurous Allens' Treasure Hunt by Harriet Pyne Grove and was published by A. L. Burt.

The dust jacket is darker, and I think that the publisher changed some of the colors, probably so that the illustration would reproduce in the desired fashion. We know that Grosset and Dunlap did this, because some of Russell Tandy's original paintings still exist, and obvious changes were made to the dust jackets (see the September/October 2007 issue of The Sleuth for the article by David Farah). It is likely that A.L. Burt also altered the illustrations for the dust jackets. Regarding this dust jacket, a bag and some gold coins are on the table. In the original art, a bright yellow line is used to highlight the edges of the bag and coins. On the dust jacket, the bright yellow is changed to orange.

I carefully compared both the dust jacket and the artwork. Both the dust jacket and the artwork have suffered damage over the years, so I ignored those differences. Aside from the damage, the artwork and dust jacket are exactly the same, so I have no doubt that the artwork is the original used to produce the image on the dust jacket. I was even able to find a few light paint smudges in the artwork that must have occurred as it was painted that were exactly reproduced on the dust jacket.

I have no idea whether The Adventurous Allens' Treasure Hunt is a good book, but the original artwork is already one of my favorite items in my collection. It is really neat. The image is stunning, and the dust jacket does not even come close in quality.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Books for Sale

I have started a bunch of auctions for series books:

—many tweed Nancy Drew w/DJs
—Nancy Drew Complete Set #1-56
—Judy Bolton #8, 27 PCs
—Judy Bolton #4, 19 w/DJs
—Judy Bolton #23 w/DJ 1st printing
—many tweed Dana Girls w/DJs
—Blythe Girls Rose's Odd Discovery w/DJ
—Ruth Fielding and Baby June w/DJ
—Peggy Lane #8 Roman Holiday
—Outdoor Girls #22 G&D w/DJ
—Kit Hunter #12 w/DJ
—Nancy Drew #8, 17 early w/DJs
—Nancy Drew #12 1st prt w/DJ
—Nancy Drew #14 1st prt w/DJ

I put free shipping on most of them in order to boost the Best Match position. Right now I have most of them as shipping to the United States only, mainly because I'm a bit leery of some things related to eBay's recent changes. If anyone outside of the U.S. is interested in an auction, I can give a quote for shipping and go back and change to whom I am willing to ship.

I prefer PayPal, but I am still willing to accept checks and money orders. I cannot mention this in the listings. EBay will begin enforcing its "PayPal only" policy in January. Sellers can accept other methods of payment so long as the buyer is the one to suggest it.

Jack, post a comment whenever you read this. I want to make sure you're around when I decide to list the hardcover post-#56 Nancy Drew books that I have. I might do something with them soon.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Grosset and Dunlap Myths

Many people have beliefs about Grosset & Dunlap that are based on false information or on conspiracy theories. Several prominent series book authors including Margaret Sutton and Helen Wells believed that Grosset & Dunlap conspired with the Stratemeyer Syndicate during the 1960s to suppress the publication of the non-Syndicate books. At the same time, Harriet Adams and the Stratemeyer Syndicate grew increasingly discontented with Grosset & Dunlap for not advertising the Syndicate books as well as they could have.

In truth, Grosset & Dunlap was a low-budget publisher that had no interest in going to any extra trouble to promote series that were already selling for them. Grosset & Dunlap showed no favoritism towards the Syndicate, as evidenced by the fact that Harriet Adams sold the rights to the new Nancy Drew titles to Simon and Schuster in 1980. People often think that a conspiracy exists when it does not.

This brings me to sellers' comments in eBay auctions. Sellers who have Farah's Guide sometimes give explanations for why a book is scarce, and their explanations are based completely on flawed speculation. Here is an example:

Clue of Broken Locket Nancy Drew HTF Short Print Run Item #200291053097

This auction is for the first picture cover printing of Broken Locket which has the "man with pipe" cover art. There were just three printings of Broken Locket with this cover art. The first two printings have the original 1934 text, and the third printing has the revised 1965 text. The seller states:
"Hard to find but wanted a lot since there was a short print of the 1st edition PC printed....You won't see this on the block very often. As we collectors know these type books enrichen in value yearly....I have only seen this 1st ED once on the market for sale once in two years. I grabbed this one and now putting it back up for someone who knows their 1st ED PC Nancy Drew per Farah's books. The price goes up every year or even less sometimes when added attractions are involved like the artist drawing a pic of himself in the back ground. That is why printing copies were so few on this books 1st Ed , 1st print. To make it more valuable."
So much is wrong with the seller's comments that I hardly know where to begin. The seller states that only one has been for sale in the last two years. Really? I can find one copy listing to Fire Dragon in the last two weeks' worth of closed auctions. Is that it? No, because I can also find one that is currently for sale in an eBay store. Far more than one copy has sold in the last two years. I am confident that at least one copy of the "man with pipe" Broken Locket that lists to Fire Dragon sells each month on eBay.

If the book is so scarce that only one has been available in the last two years, why would a seller try to get only $23.00 for it? $23.00 was the Buy It Now price, and the book sold at the opening bid of $19.99.

The seller also states that the book is desired because of how few copies were printed. It is not the number of copies of a book that determines a book's desirability. Remember that many library bindings are one-of-a-kind, yet they have no value because I'm the only one who wants them. Scarceness does not determine value. Many scarce books have no value because nobody wants them.

The seller states that very few copies of this book were printed "to make it more valuable." Grosset & Dunlap had no interest in limited edition collectibles. Exactly how would it have benefited Grosset & Dunlap to create a book that was valuable on the secondary market? They did not have a stake in the secondary market.

Whatever happened is what happened, and Grosset & Dunlap had no reason for it. If there was a reason, then it could have been because the cover art had a man smoking, and this may not have been to Harriet Adams' liking. Nobody knows for certain.

I am also not impressed with the supposed rarity of the "man with pipe" cover art that is hyped by so many sellers. They all tend to state that the "man with pipe" cover art is extremely hard to find, yet the book is not that hard to find. Of course buyers can't just grab a copy for a couple of dollars at any given time, but the book is up for sale most of the time on eBay. It can be had for under $10.00.

The printing that is truly scarce and possibly rare is the third printing of the "man with pipe" cover art that has the revised 1965 text. Exactly how many of those are seen up for sale? I estimate that I see only one per year. Farah assigns the same value of $50.00 to the first and the last of the three "man with pipe" cover art Broken Lockets. The third printing is by far more scarce and should be worth far more than the first printing. If the first printing is worth $50.00, then the third printing should be worth $100.00 or more. On the other hand, if the third printing is worth $50.00, then the first printing should be worth far less since it is more abundant.

The point of this message is to give another example of why all buyers should question the comments of all sellers and never take a seller's comments as the gospel. Always remember that sellers are making a sales pitch and are trying to make their items sound better than everyone else's items. I try to be cautious with what I claim in auctions, but I make mistakes at times.

I used to believe the whole "Grosset & Dunlap conspired with the Stratemeyer Syndicate against Margaret Sutton and Helen Wells" conspiracy theory until I realized why it made no sense. Grosset and Dunlap had an equal amount to gain from sales of all of its series books. Undermining the sales of most of its books to the benefit of just a few would only have hurt profits in the long run.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

eBay Annoyances

A couple months ago, I had a bad week while selling (more like attempting to sell), which I mentioned in a few posts. People wanted me to sell the books for low prices or criticized my prices. (By the way, I probably will list some books in the next day or so since I do have the time. I'm trying to motivate myself, and I hope it will be worth it.)

I have also had people try to get me to sell books that I just bought at low prices. This has happened to me many times. It starts with me winning an auction that contains just one valuable book. The rest of the books are of minimal value, and I only bid on the lot because of that one book.

One time I bought a lot of around 20 books for around $300.00, and one of the Nancy Drew books was a very special printing that I had wanted for years. The book was very hard to find, and I was definitely keeping it. I felt certain based on who the other bidders were that the closing price was almost completely based on this one book.

Another collector contacted me right after the auction closed. This collector wanted to know whether I would sell that one book for the Farah's Guide value of around $120.00. This is one of those cases in which I totally disagree with the Farah's Guide value and feel that the book is worth more. Of course I said that I was keeping the book. If I would have sold that one book for less than half of what I paid for the lot, I would have taken a huge loss. The other books were not worth $180.00—not even close. I had to give a bunch of them away.

This has happened to me multiple times. I find it amazing that people actually think that I will sell a very desirable book for well below my cost. I was once in a position in which I didn't see a certain large lot of library bindings until after it closed. I was quite distressed and had a feeling that the winning bidder was someone who was just building a set and probably just bid to get some books cheap. I wanted those particular bindings, and I know I'm about the only person who desires them.

This was the one and only time in which I contacted someone to see if she would sell the books to me. I offered her a two-for-one deal in which for each book I wanted, I would send her two picture cover books that were in very good or better condition. I fortunately had a lot of extras at that time that had not cost me more than around $1.50 each. She was very receptive to my offer, and what happened is that I was able to get the library bindings and that she was able to trade around 30 library bindings for at least a complete set of regular editions.

The lot cost her around $40.00, so both of us benefited. She was able to get many more books for her $40.00, and I was able to get the books that I had missed out on. That is how you handle the situation when you miss out on something you really want. You have to make it worthwhile for the other person, or they will not help. Don't make it benefit only yourself. Unless the other person is "stupid and dumb," they are going to see through it.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Buying to Resell on eBay Part III

In part one of this topic, I mentioned that someone told me a few months ago that a certain eBay seller was probably selling her collection because she needed the money. This eBay seller has been selling large quantities of series books for years and buys at least 100 series books per month. This person is not selling her collection; she is running a business.

Many people are apparently unaware that a majority of the series book buyers on eBay are the resellers of series books. I estimate that at least 40% of the Nancy Drew books currently up for sale on eBay were just purchased on eBay in the last few months. The number of lots won by resellers seems to now be higher than a year ago. EBay's predatory changes have driven so many people off that resellers are getting more of the books than ever before.

How does one know when a seller is actually selling a collection rather than selling extras that were purchased in bulk? A collection was just sold last week by PBA Galleries. I have taken screen caps of many of the books that were offered. The prices in green are the closing prices, and the prices in red are for the lots that did not sell. Buyers also had to pay a buyer's premium which adds around 20% to the total, so the prices paid are higher than what is shown here.

I did not take screen caps of everything, but what is pictured here should give a good idea of what was offered. When a collection is sold, the books are usually sold in bulk due to the sheer volume of books. The books were placed in sets that each contained many duplicates. Books that were more valuable were sold separately, such as first printing Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books.

The last time I saw a collection sold on eBay, it was sold in a similar fashion. The books were mostly sold in bulk, and at times, many random series titles were thrown in the same lot. Someone selling a relative's collection, and it took her several months to finally get rid of all of them.

When a collection is sold in bulk, the books normally go to resellers. One reseller purchased many of the books from the PBA auctions, so we will soon begin to see some of these books resurface either on eBay or in other venues.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Unusual Bidding Patterns

An odd bidding pattern occurred in early 2008 with some ordinary Judy Bolton tweed books with dust jackets that in some cases sold for in the hundreds of dollars. The books will never be worth that much and can easily be found for less. Since the buyers seemed only to want the books from certain sellers for some reason, other copies offered by other sellers sold for normal prices at the same time.

It always makes me suspicious when I spot unusual bidding patterns, and I wonder whether shilling is involved. Two buyers caused the early 2008 Judy Bolton prices to be extremely high. The books were ordinary tweed books with dust jackets. Some of the books were low-numbered books and sold for hundreds of dollars. One of the buyers has the masked ID of w***r. The second buyer has the masked ID of 2***2, and this second person won most of the auctions at absolutely outrageous amounts. I know the full IDs of both of these people because the winning bidders' IDs were not yet masked in early 2008.

The buyer w***r has surfaced again and is driving some prices up to unusual levels. As before, this buyer is buying large quantities of books from just certain sellers. I brought up the bidder list of w***r (this still can be done so long as the full ID is known). I took screen caps of the bidder list but removed the buyer's ID. I did leave the sellers IDs, since this information is public, and these same listings can be brought up under their completed item lists. Every item in this list was purchased by w***r:

Around 50 of the books were purchased from just one seller, and many of these listings sold for well above value. For instance, several low-numbered tweed Dana Girls books sold for $60.00 while other copies offered by other sellers have sold for under $10.00. The obvious conclusion is shilling, but I tend to think not since the same pattern occurred earlier in the year with this person and someone else, with the other person successfully winning the auctions.

I have been trying to find a reason for this odd bidding pattern, aside from the fact that this is someone who has deep pockets. All of these books are described as fine, nice, and near mint. Many are described as first editions. The books have dust jackets that are in excellent condition. This is a buyer who seems to want perfect books. Certainly if a seller is listing a bunch of books that are in excellent condition, someone might bid very high on all of them in an attempt to get all of them. The buyer could also desire books that all came from the same original owner.

I feel like most of us who collect series books are not so concerned with our books coming from the same original owner or for the books to be completely perfect. After all, if all of our books were completely pristine in every way, would we want to risk reading them? Most of us probably don't mind having our books not completely perfect, so we have trouble understanding why someone would pay $60.00 for a $10.00 book. I'd rather take a copy that is somewhat less than perfect and pay a more reasonable amount.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Another eBay Double Take

Nancy Drew Book Lot Matte Picture Cover Mystery Stories Item #300274857260
Question: Me, again! Found the Nancy Drews - media shipping? Combined shipping if I win both? I want these, but to be safe I'm not going to bid until I hear from you that you'd be willing to go the media mail route.

Answer: Please dont bid if you are demanding as part of the sale to ship media mail it may cost more than the calculator is showing.
I found the other auction in which the buyer first asked the seller about media mail shipping.

Question: Is it possible to pay for media shipping for this item? Thanks!

Answer: There are two reasons I do not have media as an option, Ebay has changed the shipping rules and they use a grading scale to determine if sellers are charging to much, the problem on books is that the vast majority of sales is for one book thus making a "lot" of books trigger there overcharging system. So sellers are using UPS instead to get around it, also media in a lot of cases are even more expensive what I ussually do is try it both ways when I ship and see what the better deal is, So if you win and media is a better deal I will refund the difference. Thanks
This puzzled me when I noticed that media mail was an option in the shipping calculator section of both auctions. Huh? The Nancy Drew books had media mail quoted at $14.28, and the Trixie Belden books had media mail quoted at $7.78.

First, I don't understand why the buyer asked for media mail when it was an option. Second, I don't understand why the seller stated that media mail was not offered when it was offered. Third, from the amounts that showed in the shipping calculator, the seller did use calculated shipping which is the only way to get the media mail postage to display at greater than $4.00 in the books category. Fourth, for a heavy lot of books, media mail is not more expensive than other options. I have noticed that when a seller sends a heavy lot to me via UPS instead of media mail that I usually pay more for shipping than I otherwise would have. I do not follow the seller's reasoning.

Friday, December 12, 2008

eBay Double Takes

I am sometimes taken aback by seller's comments in eBay listings. Here are two of which I made note.

NANCY DREW #70 The Broken Anchor by Carolyn Keene 1983 Item #370108868800

The only reason I clicked on this listing was because of the subtitle. The subtitle states, "Unique Paperback - take a look!" I thought I was going to see something special. This is the seller's picture:

It looks like any other Wanderer edition of The Broken Anchor. I thought maybe it was bound upside down or something, but no, the seller mentions nothing out of the ordinary.


The Secret Of The Old Clock Item #220313733218

This auction is for a blank endpapers edition of Old Clock. What is remarkable is not the book but the seller's description, or rather, the last sentence of the seller's description.

"These early printings of first book are mostly dissappeared and getting rarer by the day you got nothing to lose and everything to win by bidding unless you are stupid and dumb!!!!!"

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Buyer Confusion on Nancy Drew #21

Nancy Drew 1 - 56 Matte Yellow Spine Comp Set NR Item #390008185176

This auction was for a complete set of the matte yellow Nancy Drew picture cover books. This is the seller's picture:

Here we go:
Question: Hi, none of the books are the "Flashlight" hardback editions, correct ? What do the yellow banners on some of the books say? Can't see it clearly from the images. Thank you in advance.

Answer: Hi None are flashlight editions all are the older set The yellow at the top of a few Have the number out of the set and the title The blue tweed has a copyright from 1936 and the rest are copyrights in the 1960's and 1970's Thanks Henry
It is clear from the picture that the books are not flashlight editions. This buyer apparently does not know what the flashlight editions look like. I do not understand since I would think that if someone knows that they do not want the flashlight editions that they would also know what the flashlight editions look like.

Also, the buyer asks for what is on the yellow banners that are on some of the books. Since the books are not flashlight editions, there is certainly not going to be a flashlight on those banners. The banners have no significance except for indicating that the books with the banners are definitely from the 1970s or early 1980s rather than from the 1960s.


LOT of 20 Vintage NANCY DREW MYSTERY books GREAT Shape Item #290276337389

The same person must be asking everyone whether they are selling flashlight editions.
Question: None of these books are the "Flashlight" hardcovers, correct? And there are no missing pages on any of them? Thanks in advance!

Answer: Hi. I am not sure what you mean by "Flashlight", but they are not the shiny hard covers. They are older with pictures drawn on both the front and the back inside covers. There are no missing pages on any of the books, my daughter just read them all, plus she read my other two lots that I have on auction and the pages are in GREAT condition! Thanks for looking! ~Amy :)
Why does the buyer not know what the flashlight editions look like? The above lot had a clear picture of matte picture cover editions. Could the buyer perhaps be trying to discover whether the books have double oval endpapers? I don't know.

The above listing is noteworthy because it sold for $315.50 for only 20 books. Normally a complete set of matte books sells for around $300.00.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Harriet Pyne Grove's Books

I have never read good comments about Harriet Pyne Grove and her books. The dust jackets are pretty, so I would like to collect the books. I have searched the archives of the Girls Series Group, and the only comments that I find make fun of her name or state that her books ramble. Has anyone actually read her books, and do they have any redeeming qualities? Has anyone read them and not liked them?

I have the book The Girl Scout's Problem Solved, which more correctly should be The Girl Scouts' Problem Solved, since the book appears to be about several Girl Scouts. Everybody makes errors in grammar and punctuation at times, but to do it in the title of a book? Please. Getting past that and the funny name, Harriet Pyne Grove, I have read a few pages. On page eight, I found this horrible sentence:
In spite of the girls' desire to reach Mrs. Farleigh before Cordy, all prostrated, as they thought should be brought home, the big car, which had been used to drive the two girls from the dock where the yacht landed them, was standing in front of the house.
WHAT??? I had to reread the sentence quite a few times and read past it before I fully grasped the meaning. Actually, I fully grasped the intended meaning, but I did not even then grasp how the words formed the meaning. Around half an hour later, I revisited the sentence, and I think I get it now—maybe.

Let's see if I can rewrite the sentence so that it makes a little more sense.
In spite of the girls' desire to reach Mrs. Farleigh and tell her about Cordy's accident before the man bringing Cordy home arrived with her, the girls arrived at the Farleigh home to discover that the man's vehicle had arrived first.
My version of the sentence is still rough, but at least it conveys the meaning a little better. It would help if I knew the man's name, but I do not believe it was given in the previous pages. Is this what Harriet Pyne Grove's books are like? If so, no wonder I cannot find any good comments about them.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Friday's Slipshod Package

As a matter of course, I have come to expect that quite a few of my online purchases will arrive in slipshod packaging. Even so, I am sometimes surprised at what does arrive in the mail. On Friday, I received my first completely open box. Here is what I found waiting for me on the porch:

The box was delivered upside down. Apparently the bottom came open, so the carrier turned the box over and delivered it upside down and open as seen above. There was only one small strip of tape used on the bottom of the box, and this was a heavy package. It is little wonder that the tape split and the box came open.

The seller used masking tape on the top of the box, and even the tape on the top of the box was torn.

Since the box arrived completely open, I had a sinking feeling that some of the books were missing. I was very surprised when I counted the books and found that all of them made it to me. The books may have been damaged by banging around in the box without any type of packing material, but I do not see anything obvious.

It is times like this when I wonder why I bother to pack well. It seems that I could just throw a bunch of books in a box, put a small strip of tape on the box, and send the box on its way. Only if I did that, the box would probably get destroyed in transit. I wouldn't get away with it. Besides, I like to do things the right way.


Update: I finally went through the books and was very pleased with what I found. I bought this lot because I knew from the seller's picture that the books were all early or first printing Nancy Drew picture covers that list either to Fire Dragon or Pine Hill on the back cover. I have explained in some of my posts called "Buyer Confusion on Nancy Drew" how it is possible to determine the age of Nancy Drew books by observing the external appearance of the books. By what the spines looked like in the seller's picture, I knew what I would be getting. I never asked the seller a single question, but I knew with certainty how old the books were.

As I expected nearly every book lists to Fire Dragon on the back cover and just a few list to Whistling Bagpipes or Pine Hill. I knew the books were in excellent condition, which is why I bought them. With this lot, I upgraded twelve of my first printing picture covers. It is quite unusual for me to upgrade more than one book when I buy a lot like this one. I also upgraded my copy of Whistling Bagpipes with the trifold ad. The lot also contained Clue in the Diary with the 1932 text; I was unable to upgrade it since the book from this lot is in worse condition than the one I already had.

All in all, this is an outstanding group of early and first printing Nancy Drew picture covers, and they deserved to be better packaged than they were. It would have been a shame if some of the books had gone missing due to the open box.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Buyer Confusion on Nancy Drew #20

I continue to be baffled by the buyer questions that are posted on Nancy Drew listings. It is clear that these buyers have visited Nancy Drew websites and/or discussion groups and know that they want the original text books and glossy internal illustrations. I fail to understand why they have no idea what the books that they want look like and why they do not know which books have the characteristics that they desire.

In the last two weeks, I have seen a large number of pointless questions. I have already posted some of them and will post more in the coming days. I cannot imagine spending so much time asking questions about random listings—questions that are not necessary. As I have stated many times, buyers need to educate themselves about what the books they seek look like so that they do not have to ask so many questions. Buyers need to study formats pages so that they know what they want.

The Secret of the Old Clock by Carolyn Keene Item #160298881135

This auction is for a blank endpapers edition of the first Nancy Drew book. Here is the seller's picture:

Question: please discribe endpapers and first 6 pages and how many pages it has.

Answer: The first two pages are blank. unnumbered page 4 has a full page black and white picture with the caption,"There's a clock in front of you......" unnumbered page 5 is the title page unnumbered Page 6 has two other stories listed, The Hidden Staircase and The Bungalow Mystery. next is page iii & iv - table of contents Story has 210 pages. The end pages have these titles per page This Isn't All The Nancy Drew Mystery Stories The Lilian Garis Books Carolyn Wells Books Amy Bell Marlowe's Books for Girls The Blythe Girls Books Buddy Books For Boys Great Sport Stories Western Stories For Boys Ted Scott Flying Stories Then 2 blank pages. One has a faded stamp of M P 50
It was not necessary to ask what kind of endpapers the book has since the book has no silhouette on the front cover. Nancy Drew books with no silhouette on the front cover also have no silhouette on the endpapers; that is, they have blank endpapers.

I do not understand why the prospective buyer wanted the seller to describe the first six pages. The buyer probably thought that the description of the first six pages would reveal whether the book is the first printing, but the answer to that mystery lies in the post-text ad pages, which the seller did list.

The buyer also wanted to know how many pages the book has. The book has the original text, which is true for all Nancy Drew books from this time period. The revision process did not begin until 1959, and this book is clearly from the early 1930s. Visit my formats page to see what 1930s-era Nancy Drew books look like. The above book cannot have anything other than the original 1930 text with 210 pages.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Nancy Drew Mirror Bay Black Print Back Cover

I recently posted that I had found two copies of The Secret of Mirror Bay with all of the print on the back cover in black. Normally, "Solve these Thrilling Mystery Stories with NANCY DREW" and "By CAROLYN KEENE" are in red ink.

I had also found one copy of The Whispering Statue with all of the print in black on the back cover. Both copies of The Secret of Mirror Bay plus the one copy of The Whispering Statue all list to Parchment on the back cover and on the order form inside the book.

I have now found a third copy of The Secret of Mirror Bay with all of the print in black on the back cover. This copy does not have the gray overstamp of the price on the back cover.

This third example of The Secret of Mirror Bay also lists to Parchment on the back cover and on the order form. Of the three Mirror Bays, two have the original price of $2.50 on the back cover while one has the gray overstamp of the price.

It is beginning to look like these books are not that hard to find. There must be more of them, because I now have found three copies of Mirror Bay without even trying. All of these books have turned up in complete sets or near complete sets of Nancy Drew picture cover editions from the 1970s that I bought on eBay.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Buyer Confusion on Nancy Drew #19

Nancy Drew First Edition The Whispering Statue 1937 Item #170278013174

This auction was for a true first printing of Whispering Statue. The seller's pictures were enough to verify that the dust jacket is the first/second printing dust jacket. The seller's answer to the question was enough to verify that the book is the first printing but was very hard to interpret.
Question: Good Morning. Can you please tell me the last title of the books listed within the book itself. I'm also interested in the number of glossies. Thanks for your time.

Answer: Hello. Thanks for your question. Starting from the back cover of the dustjacket and moving forward from the back of the book, the last books listed in the ads are: Judy Bolton Mysteries "The Riddle of the Double Ring" (Back cover); Dana Girls Mystery, "The Circle of footprints" (inside back cover of DJ); Judy Bolton Mystery Stories, "Mysterious Half Cat" (next to last page); Melody Lane Mystery Stories, "Dragon of the Hills" (next page); Nancy Drew Mystery Stories, "Mystery of the Ivory Charm" (the first book ad after last story page (pg 217); Nancy Drew Mystery Stories, "The Whispering Statue" (inside flap of front DJ). There is on glossy frontispiece showin Nancy Drew and a seaplane. The spine of the DJ is white. Thanks.
While the buyer's question did result in the seller giving a detailed answer, part of the question was not necessary. The buyer wanted to know how many glossies were in the book. The Whispering Statue was never printed with more than one glossy. All that it ever had was the glossy frontispiece with no glossy internals.

Vintage Nancy Drew Original Series 24 books dust jacket Item #220312476611

This auction was for a set of 24 Nancy Drew books, 23 of which were tweed books with dust jackets.
Question: What is the range of publicaton dates? What color are the covers of the books without the dustjackes on? What do the front flap pages in the books look like? Thanks for your response...

Answer: Hi, Thank you for your questions. I do not know the publication dates- it does not say. The copyright is 1960. The publisher is Grosset & Dunlop. How can I find out the date of publication? The books are blue without the dustjackets. The front flap pages of the books are like the back- blue ink depicting Nancy in different sluething positions, like peeking around a door, hiding behind a couch, etc. Please let me know how I can learn the answer to your question about the dates of publication. Thank you, and happy bidding! Lynn
First, the buyer asked for the publication dates. For all of the books except for #3, the question was pointless. All of the tweed books for #5 and up were printed in the original text and would all have the original copyright date, regardless of when the books were printed. The seller also did not understand what the buyer wanted, which made the question even more pointless.

Second, the buyer asked for the color of the covers of the books. This question puzzles me, since all Nancy Drew books printed in the dust jacket era are blue. I don't understand what the buyer was trying to discover.


1930 Nancy Drew Mystery at Lilac Inn Item #220314068434

This is a blank endpapers edition of Lilac Inn.
Question: I can determine what printing this is since I own David Farah's guide. If your printing is earlier than my 1930C-3 printing I will take great interest in this one. You can tell me the name of the lists in the back of your book the first two or three pages after The End will likely allow me to tell you what your printing is. I will be home tomorrow evening and will do it right away for you.

Answer: Hi There, The end page which is page 200. Next page after not numbered, has This Isnt All on top of page with writting below. Next page on top reads The Nancy Drew Mystery Stories, with book titles below. Next Page Amy Marlows Books for Girls, with book titles below. Next page the last one The Puss- In -Boots, Jr. Series, with book titles below. I hope this answers your question. If not fell free to respond
Since only one printing of Lilac Inn has the combination of Nancy Drew, Amy Bell Marlowe, and Puss-In-Boots listed in the post-text ads, the seller's answer is enough information to determine that the book is the 1931B-5 printing. It should be noted, however, that the seller only gave the series titles and not the last title listed in each series, which is in most cases necessary in order to determine exactly which printing the book is. As I have already stated quite a few times, buyers must be very specific about what they need or the sellers will not answer the questions correctly.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Betty Gordon/Ruth Fielding Poll Results

My first Betty Gordon vs. Ruth Fielding poll has closed:

I want to know how many people who prefer each series have actually read both series. I have a new active poll in the right sidebar, so please vote if you have read and like either series.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Buying to Resell on eBay Part II

Here are some examples of people buying to resell.

Nancy Drew Book Lot Matte Picture Cover Mystery Stories Item #300274857260

This was for a lot of 44 Nancy Drew books: 24 early picture covers and 20 tweeds with jackets. Here is a screen capture of the bidding history:

The two highest bidders were both buying to resell. If you do not know who they are, search for Nancy Drew books and you can find them very easily. I believe that search results can be customized so that feedback displays in the results, so if that is done, the IDs can be found fast. They both have many books up for sale right now under the IDs used to bid on this auction. Notice how much lower the lot would have closed for if neither had been involved. Actually, it still would have closed for around the same amount because several other people would have bid above $100.00 if not for the two whose bids were placed. When certain resellers do not bid, others do.

Here is another example:

57 hardcover Nancy Drew Books 1-56 plus Rare Cook Book Item #200279226277

This complete set of Nancy Drew books closed at $110.50, which is a very good price. Here is the bidding history:

I know who the top two bidders are, so this one was definitely bought to resell. It would be a bit hard for others to figure out who they are, but I do know both IDs so there is no doubt.

Here is another listing:


This lot contained 13 white spine Dana Girls picture covers, including Hundred-Year, Mountain Peak, and Witch's Omen. Here is the bidding history:

The two highest bidders are resellers. The second highest bidder is someone who sells complete sets of various series books such as Connie Blair, Judy Bolton, and Vicki Barr. Take that as a hint as to who it is.

I could give many more examples. I have seen listings in which the highest five to six bidders are all resellers, and I have seen listings in which the only bidders are all of the resellers. It is rather amusing to watch.