Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Buyer Confusion on Nancy Drew #37

A Collection of 30 Nancy Drew Mystery Books
Question: how many of the 30 books have a blue cover with an orange picture on the cover? also of the the above books that are this way do any have a blank page on the inside of the cover, and if so what books?

Answer: The Sign of the Twisted Candles - inside covers are white with orange pics inside The Quest of the Missing Map - white w?orange complete and unabridged The Mystery of the Tolling Bell w?o The Message in the Hollow Oak w/o The Secret at Shadow Ranch w/o Thw Whispering Statue - w/o complete and unabridged Nancy's Mysterious Letter w/o The Hidden Staircase w/o The Mystery at the Moss Covered Mansion w/o writing in front cover The Mystery of the Brass Bound Trunk w/o writing in the front cover The Secret in The Old Attic w/o The Clue in The Diary w/o writing in the front cover The Clue in The Jewel Box w/o The Secret of Red Gate Farm w/o The Haunted Bridge w/o The Password to Larkspur Lane w/o The Clue of the Tapping Heels w/o The Mystery of the Ivory Charm w/o Complete and unabridged The Clue in the Crumbling Wall w/o 11 white with blue in cover *Complete and unabridged = This Book, while produced under wartime conditions, in full compliance with goverment regulations for the conservation of paper and other essential materials, is Complete and Unabridged these are only ones marked this way
It sounded like the prospective buyer wanted to know how many of the books had the orange silhouette on the cover, and of those books, whether any of them had blank endpapers. It is not possible for a book with an orange silhouette on the cover to have blank endpapers.

It is worth revisiting Buyer Confusion on Nancy Drew #7. In that post, I stated, "All books with the orange silhouette in the center of the front cover have the orange silhouette endpapers. There are no exceptions whatsoever! Notice that the center of the front cover has an orange silhouette. Likewise, the endpapers have the orange silhouette."

I then pictured a blank endpapers book, which has no silhouette on the front cover. I stated, "Notice that there is no image of Nancy Drew on the front cover. Likewise, the endpapers are blank; there is nothing printed on them."

Going back to the above question and answer, I have to admit that the seller's response was a bit confusing. Trying to understand it all just about gives me a headache. The seller stated that a book had the orange silhouette endpapers, but for most of the books, the seller only made the comment "w/o." It rather made it sound like all of those books had blank endpapers, but the books had to have had some other type of printed endpapers like blue silhouette.


stratomiker said...

The winning bid was a ridiculous amount to pay for such ratty books. New collectors always make the mistake of having to buy THESE BOOKS now. NOW! They don't understand yet that tomorrow and the next day and all the ones that follow will bring more and more and more Drews to the eBay listings in an endless parade of nice books to choose from. Endless! One needn't have splurged so much on this set. They certainly weren't worth it.


Paula said...

This is interesting, and I hope to learn something about book values for ND blue books from this example.

First, I agree the answer is very confusing, but I believe the w/o means "with orange" meaning the books listed do have orange endpapers. There are 19 books listed explicitly with orange endpapers or "w/o" and then the statement (or phrase actually) that there are "11 white with blue in cover" (probably blue silhouettes). This makes the total number of books (30) so I think that's what the seller meant, since we know they cannot have blank endpapers.

Additionally, it sounds to me as if there are only 3 books with the wartime conditions notice - the books where the seller indicated "complete & unabridged" after the title.

So we have one picture that is quite fuzzy and small, with only the front cover showing on many of the books. And we have the seller's descriptions of "wore" covers and yellowing pages. The only dust jacket that shows significant damage in the picture is Ivory Charm and the seller says that cover "is shot". If we disregard all the books without DJ's, and Ivory Charm, and any book with any type of water damage as worthless, I still don't see how this buyer overpaid by a ridiculous amount.

Here's my reasoning:
1. From what I've observed, it seems that orange silhouette books with decent white spine dust jackets, especially those not available with the white spine DJ in tweed, usually go for at least $20 even with yellowed/brown pages. "Decent" dust jackets seems to be quite liberally defined as no major flaws such as huge missing pieces, gross stains, obvious old tape marks, etc. From the seller's description and the picture it doesn't appear to me that any of the following jackets are in horrible shape. So let's say Red Gate, Twisted Candles, Mysterious Letter, and Shadow Ranch are worth $20 each. And Haunted Bridge, Hollow Oak, Missing Map, Old Attic, Whispering Statue, and Tapping Heels are worth $15 each. All of these books are orange silhouettes w/ white spine DJ's and no major flaws noted.

2. It seems that acceptable tweed books w/ DJ's usually fetch around $10. So let's say $10.00 for Golden Pavilion, Hidden Window, Bungalow, Witch Tree Symbol, Scarlet Slipper, Black Keys and Old Album.

That comes to $240 without attributing any value at all to any of the other books. So what am I missing? Is it the condition of the books, and if so, what is keying you in that these are "ratty" books? I don't doubt that you are right, as I have been burned a number of times. So how can you tell? Or are the values I am assigning these books way out of line? That could be too, because I haven't watched blue books closely in the past. However, it seems that these prices are the ones that are common for the books I have bid on. What value, if any, would you give this batch of books? I greatly appreciate any explanantions and repsonses as I would like to learn more about these books from a valuation standpoint. Thanks!

Jack C said...

As close as I can tell,(The pictures is pretty bad!) it appears that there are not any desirable books in the lot. They seem pretty well used, and I am always hesitant when I see that any books have water damage. Dust jackets can warp just by being exposed to humid conditions over a period of time.
I'm wondering if the prices you have seen Paula are attached to books that have been better quality, or perhaps lower printings based on David Farah's guide? It is so hard to say based on the description and picture this seller gives.
I can say this- The books in my Bonanzle booth are not selling to any great extent, and the quality of the books I'm offering are very nice. Most of my dust jacketed Nancys and Hardy Boys, with the exception of early white spines and later firsts are priced at 24.99. 240.00 could buy someone some nicer quality books to start out a collection of series books.
I think new collectors, like most of us are looking for deals, and 30 books grouped together would seem to give someone a nice start at rebuilding their own childhood collection. It becomes a question of what do you want: quality or quantity?

Jennifer said...

Either Mike or Paula could be right. The photo is so bad that I cannot tell whether the books are in decent shape or horrible shape. I looked at the description again, and at least five books were mentioned as having some type of water damage. As Jack stated, water damage is always a concern.

I have bought books which had "slight water damage" which turned out to be in very bad shape. There is no way of knowing whether these books really had minor or severe water damage. The seller looks to be just someone who listed some books they had, so the seller probably knows little about selling books and what we need to know.

People sometimes bid really high on large lots because they see it as a deal. Usually it is a deal, but sometimes they bid way too high for the condition of the books and pay too much. I have bought large lots of books in the past that appeared to be at a good price, but when I received the books, they had extensive water damage, etc.

I do note that the buyer left positive feedback for the transaction and seemed pleased.

Jennifer said...

I forgot to mention that often when a seller states that books have water damage, the seller fails to mention the mold, mildew, and strong musty odor. It's like they think that mentioning water damage covers all of the damage that water can create. If these books have mold and mildew, then they are in horrible shape. If not, they might be okay.

Also, at least half of the books are stated as having pages that are yellowed. I find that, typically, whenever a seller states that a Nancy Drew book has yellowed pages that it is a book from the early to mid-1940s that has pulp paper that has turned brown. The books do not have to have the wartime conditions notice in order to have the bad paper. Many books have no notice and very poor condition paper.

The wartime books tend to smell bad, just because of the deterioration of the paper. If the books have water damage as well, the books may very well smell very bad. It is a gamble to bid on a lot like this one.

I sometimes bid on these bulk lots if the prices are low enough. I noticed this lot the day it was listed. Because of everything I have stated, I felt that it was not worth risking more than $50 to $75 on the books, therefore, I never placed a bid. That said, the books could be worth the winning bid price, but we will never know.

keeline said...

As far as the orange silhouette on the front cover + blank endpapers goes, this format combination does exist with the Applewood reprints. Sometimes people have only seen these in person and have not seen vintage copies.

On the Hardy Boys side there is a really strange combination of formats:

* red cover stock
* orange Gretta endpapers
* pulp paper (no wartime notice)
* jacket with a blue spine and the pictorial cover artwork

I have Skull Mountain and Skeleton Rock in this format. Skull Mountain has 14 titles advertised on the jacket and Skeleton Rock has 13 (not complete overlap on these lists).

Of course these are the UK Sampson Low, Marston & Co., Ltd. editions. The UK copyrights are 1964 (Skeleton Rock) and 1966 (Skull Mountain). The latter has a matching inscription.

The point of mentioning this is to indicate that an anomalous format, sometimes modern or from another country, can confuse beginning collectors' understanding of the patterns for the US G&D books we mostly see on eBay.


Jennifer said...

As far as the orange silhouette on the front cover + blank endpapers goes, this format combination does exist with the Applewood reprints. Sometimes people have only seen these in person and have not seen vintage copies.

Thanks for reminding me of this. I have made that connection inthe past, but I tend to forget about it. The Applewood editions are supposed to facsimiles of the first printings, but they really are not since none of them have the orange and white endpapers. Of course the first printings of the first seven titles did not have orange and white endpapers, but the books still do not match since the first printings of those books did not have orange silhouettes on the front cover. Therefore, none of the Applewood editions are true facsimiles of the first printings, which is what people think they are.