Thursday, March 4, 2010

Why Didn't It Close Higher?

I mentioned my luck at being the first person to notice four Nancy Drew books with blank endpapers each offered at a Buy It Now price of $300 in this post. I bought two of the books, which were the best two in my opinion, including a book that had the first printing dust jacket of Lilac Inn. Someone else bought the third book. The fourth book had the Buy It Now deactivated by a bid.

Nancy Drew Old Clock Auction

The auction closed at only $56.00, which is quite a steal for the person who bought it. The buyer is a reseller who will no doubt have the book back up for sale within the next couple of months. It's too bad that more people who needed the book did not bother to bid. It probably would not have mattered, since I am quite confident that the winning bidder had a maximum bid of at least $200 to $250.

Why did the book close at such a low price?
  1. The auction's title did not mention how early of a printing the book is.

  2. The fixed-price listings are now mixed in with the auction results by default. Many buyers may not be removing the fixed-price listings from the results and may have missed noticing this book in eBay's horribly cluttered search results.

  3. The dust jacket is in two pieces and does not look very good in the photo. The jacket will look much better in a mylar cover.

  4. Many prospective buyers may not have bid because they thought that the book would be certain to sell for a high price. It is always worth trying.

  5. Those of us who seek the Nancy Drew books with blank endpapers are not wanting a seventh or eighth printing of Old Clock. It is the first three printings that have dust jackets that list to Bungalow Mystery or Lilac Inn that are of the most interest.
I want to elaborate on my last point. Unquestionably, this book has value, but the amount of value is far less than the first few printings. Here are the values of the blank endpapers printings of Old Clock according to Farah's Guide.

1st $10,000 or more for DJ/$1,000 book (jacket lists to Bungalow Mystery)

2nd $1,500 DJ/$400 book (notice the sharp drop in value from the first to the second printing)

3rd $1,500 DJ/$250 book (the 2nd and 3rd printing jackets both list to Lilac Inn so they have the same value)

4th $750 DJ/$250 book (this jacket lists to Shadow Ranch and shows another steep drop in value from the third printing)

5th $750 DJ/$200 book (jacket lists to Shadow Ranch)

6th $600 DJ/$200 book (jacket lists to Shadow Ranch)

7th $400 DJ/$200 book (jacket lists to Red Gate Farm)

8th $400 DJ/$150 book (jacket lists to Red Gate Farm)

9th $400 DJ/$150 book (jacket lists to Red Gate Farm)

The book offered in this auction appears to be the 7th printing, the 1931B-7 printing. Consider that the dust jacket is valued at $400 in very good condition, and the dust jacket is not in very good condition. It is worth less than $400.

Many people are under the mistaken impression that all of the blank endpapers editions are equally scare and of equal value. While all of the blank endpaper books with jackets are scarce, the ones that list to Bungalow Mystery or Lilac Inn are significantly more scarce than the ones that list to Shadow Ranch, Red Gate Farm, and Clue in the Diary. The 1931 and 1932 printings were probably larger than the 1930 printings. The 1931 and 1932 books, while scarce, are much easier to find than the 1930 books.

Now consider the value of the first three printings. Those are the printings that are brutally hard to find and that we want more than anything. The first printing dust jacket of Old Clock that lists to Bungalow Mystery on the front flap is extremely scarce, so scarce that fewer than ten surviving examples are known to exist. Most of us will never own one.

If I cannot have a dust jacket of Old Clock that lists to Bungalow Mystery, then what is the next best one to own? Why, the second printing of course! This is the second printing dust jacket of Old Clock.

Since I have the second printing dust jacket, I had little interest in one that lists to Red Gate Farm, which is why I did not buy Old Clock at $300.

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