Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Outdoor Girls Series Values

After the recent auction for The Outdoor Girls in Desert Valley in dust jacket closed at $204.39, I was asked whether that price was a bit high. Since I have a dust-jacketed copy of #22 The Outdoor Girls in the Air up for sale on Bonanzle at around $65.00, it was felt that #23 would not be worth much more, perhaps around $100. This was my response.
I think the closing price of that auction was a bit low. #23 is extremely scarce and seldom comes up for sale, with or without a dust jacket. If I did not already own that book with a jacket, I probably would have bid at least $350 to get it.

#22 is also very scarce in the original Grosset and Dunlap edition, although not as scarce as #23. What keeps the value of #22 down is that it was reprinted by Whitman during the 1940s, and the Whitman copies are not that hard to find. People have a cheap alternative to #22, so it is not necessary to pay much for it. There are very few surviving copies of #23.

There are no price guides for series books other than Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, and Rick Brant. John Axe’s books give an approximation for several other series as well, but there are no other guides.

I have been collecting long enough that I have a very good idea of what the books are really worth, so I go by my past experiences when pricing my books.

I believe I sold an Outdoor Girls #23 with a rough dust jacket for around $150 to $200 a couple of years ago. I had to upgrade twice before I had that book with a nice dust jacket. It took several years to finally get one that was to my liking.
After I sent that response, I found another Desert Valley without a dust jacket that sold for $28.99, so I sent this response:
Check out this auction that I just found:


It included Desert Valley, and it should have sold for at least $50 to $75, maybe more. Most of the value is in the dust jacket, which is why the other auction at over $200 went so high.

Click on the bidding history of this second auction. Look at how many times the high bidder bid. That person was desperate to win the auction and may have bid a huge amount.
It is very hard to know how much certain books are worth without years of watching the sold prices of books. Most of the Outdoor Girls books are worth no more than $10 provided that they do not have dust jackets. In fact, #23 is the only one that is worth more than $10 without a dust jacket.

With dust jackets, the average Outdoor Girls book is worth $15 to $50, and this depends upon the condition of the dust jacket. The duotone and plain dust jackets are harder to find than the color jackets, so their value will be a little higher.

It also depends upon how many people are searching for the books at a given time. Most people do not collect the Outdoor Girls books (which is a shame because the series is one of my very favorites), so the books can be had for fairly cheap prices. The consistent exception is Desert Valley, which is so scarce that not enough copies are available for the people who do collect the Outdoor Girls books.


beautifulshell said...

I was the underbidder of that second book, darn it. My lack of bidding was a combination of only mild commitment to the series and a grad school budget that doesn't encourage paying full price. I was hoping nobody would notice it!

Gina said...

I agree, it is hard to tell how much a book is worth, there are so many factors that come into play. I got my copy of The Outdoor Girls in Desert Valley (with dust jacket) back sometime in 2002 on Ebay. I'm thinking I paid somewhere between $40-$60? I don't know if I got incredibly lucky and no one was watching, or if the popularity of the series was just really low back then.

Jennifer White said...

The series was probably less popular back then. I was not interested in the Outdoor Girls at that time. It has been since that time that I collected a set and created the page on my site.

I have noticed that after I have created new sections on my site that sometimes prices for those series spike on eBay. I am not sure if the Outdoor Girls is one of them, but it has happened several times for different series.

There has been a fairly low amount of interest, relatively speaking, in Jim Towey's reprints of the two rare Linda Carlton books. I was hoping that enough interest would be generated for Jim to order a second printing, but it does not sound like enough people were interested. When I finally get the Linda Carlton section created, I have a suspicion that some people will suddenly wish they had bought one of his reprints.

Gina said...

I can certainly see how adding sections to your site, could potentially cause prices to spike. There really is so little information about girls series books on the web as it is. If more people become aware of a particular series because it's on your website, there might be more people interested in purchasing those books. The more demand, the higher sellers can go with their prices. I never purchased any books in the Linda Carlton series (just too many other series to collect and not enough money), but I'm sure if you do make a page for it, people will definitely be wishing they had those reprints.

Jennifer White said...

It is very hard to find information about the less popular series, and it makes it hard to decide which ones are worth collecting.

I am confident that most all of the Stratemeyer Syndicate books are worthwhile, though very formula-driven, since I am very familiar with many of the series. For books by independent authors, it is very difficult to know whether the books are worth reading.

I have read part of the Dorothy Dixon books, but I did not like the writing style at all and have never finished them. After having a few experiences like that, I dislike spending money on collectible books that might not be very good.

Gina said...

Yeah it's always kind of a disappointment when I spent money on a book series and they aren't that great. I don't know that I've ever actually read a bad series, but there are definitely some that I like more than others. As for independent authors, have you read any of the books that Margaret Vandercook wrote? (Campfire Girls, Ranch Girls, Red Cross Girls, etc). I was thinking about looking into trying some of those.

Jennifer White said...

I own a few scattered books by Margaret Vandercook, but I have yet to read any of them.