Sunday, August 29, 2010

Nancy Drew DJ and Dana Girls PC Prices

In the current market, Nancy Drew books with dust jackets seem to be mostly unwanted, while Dana Girls books in the beige spine picture covers are greatly in demand.

For the most part, I can no longer sell Nancy Drew books with dust jackets. People do not seem to want them. One could conclude that the people who want the dust jackets are not shopping on Bonanzle, but I lowered my prices when I relisted some on eBay. Those books did not sell, and some of them were below cost.

The books and dust jackets were not in perfect shape, but several years ago, I could have priced those same books at $15 to $20 and sold them easily. I had tweed copies of #1, 12, 14, 20, 21, and 29 with dust jackets and priced each at $6.99 each. None of them sold. A few years ago, people buying to resell would have purchased them for around $10 each and then marked the prices up. Times have changed.

I do not want to reset the listings for Bonanzle, so I may place those particular books in one lot and see if I can get a taker. I also wonder whether I should place many of my dust-jacketed books in lots to move them out, since I now have way too many. I hate doing that, since I do not feel that the books are worthless. Some people are still buying the dust-jacketed books at higher prices, so I do not wish to give away what I have. I just wish I could sell at least some of the dust-jacketed books to cut down on my extras.


Nancy Drew in the original text picture cover editions sell for around $5-$10 each unless the picture cover is a special or first printing. In those cases, the picture covers can sell for $15 and higher, although I have noticed that many people seem to prefer the cheaper copies rather than the first PCs.

I used to think that the Dana Girls beige spine picture covers have approximately the same value, with the exception of the high-numbered ones. I have concluded based on my sales on Bonanzle that the Dana Girls beige spine picture covers tend to be worth more than the original text Nancy Drew picture covers.

It is worth viewing the completed listings for Dana Girls books on Bonanzle, sorted by highest price first. While #27-30 are the hardest to find volumes, they are the hardest to sell when the prices are marked accordingly. I suspect that many buyers are content with the much cheaper white spine counterparts of those volumes, which keeps the demand down somewhat.

I have noticed that the prices of #1-26 in the beige spine picture covers are often priced low by many sellers. I began by pricing them low and sold them extremely fast. As I found more, I gradually marked the prices up since I concluded that the books had to be worth more than I thought. The books continued to sell fast even as my prices gradually increased.

The following comments do not apply to books with heavy wear or books that have noticeable flaws like a tape scar on the cover or a split binding. Books with those flaws are always worth less.

I have this lingering idea that the low-numbered volumes should be worth a little less than the mid-range volumes, but I may be wrong. I first priced these books at around $5, but I have now raised my prices to around $10. If the book meets the points for the first PC printing (#23 on back cover, ND to #39 and DG to #23 on inside), then I price it slightly higher, unless the condition is rough.

#7 to maybe around #11 are probably worth around $15 each. #12 to around #21 are definitely worth at least $20 each. Some of #12 to #21 may be worth more than $20 each. Some volumes are much harder to find than others, and #12 seems to be one of them. #23 to #27 are worth $20-$25 each. #28 and #29 are worth $40 to $70, roughly. #30 is worth around $100, and possibly a little more.

Collectors have known for years that the higher-numbered volumes are scarcer, but it is apparent that many people have trouble finding the middle volumes. The values mentioned here are based on what I have successfully sold so far, and some of the middle volumes may be worth more than what I have quoted.

I have observed that eBay auctions no longer yield actual values for the majority of books sold. Often, the Dana Girls picture cover editions sell on eBay for under $10 in the auctions, and that is why many people price them so low in their listings. The sellers who successfully get the higher prices have used the fixed-price listings in which buyers have more time to notice the books.

The completed listings search on eBay is mostly useless now, and I encourage sellers of series books to utilize other methods in order to fairly price their books. For series books, Bonanzle's completed items search will help greatly since it has many months of completed listings.

Sellers always need to watch pricing trends. Some books that were once high in demand are not currently of interest, and many once-coveted books are no longer worth very much at all. Sellers must be willing to adjust their prices up and down based on the current trends, even when the trends are down.


Lenora said...

The dust jacketed books certainly seem undesirable now. I suspect I could sell a blue tweed for the same price with a dust jacket as without. I wonder if this speaks to who is mostly buying now--readers, v. collectors? I know I loved finding the dust jackets when I first started collecting, but I admit that djs drive me crazy when reading current books. They just get in the way.

You make me want to list my own Dana Girls PCs. I've never been a huge DG fan, although I do like the early djs. It seems silly to waste the shelf space when I know I haven't read any in at least a year and a half.

stratomiker said...

Listen up, folks, it's the economy. Don't throw your DJ'd books away yet, or give them away. They'll be valuable again someday, when things get back to normal.

Most Americans who are still working at good-paying jobs, still making money, are still in a whole lot of denial about how bad things are. Unemployment is at 10& or more - but that's only the people who are actually collecting benefits. What about those who used up all their benefits and are still not working and not collecting. They are another 10%, at least. So you really have a 20% unemployment rate, and growing.

Saks Fifth Avenue is closing down stores, even Walmart is complaining about revenues, city halls are closing one or two days a week and the employees are losing the pay for those days, many companied are on 4 day weeks, their employees again losing the wages.

Frivolous spending is way down. It's amazing eBay is still alive and going. But I'll bet they are really hurting, especially since they keep messing up the good thing they had going.

People just can't afford to buy collectibles like they used to, and I've heard the same complaints from people who sell ivory, ceramics, Royal Doultons, electronics, Norman Rockwell, art, etc.

Stuff just isn't going to start selling like before until people start making money again. And, possibly, that may never happen if things keep up the way they've been going.

Anyone who is still selling series books (or anything) for good prices is really doing well and is truly the exception. Good for them. I've cut down on series books and have been selling huge amounts of collectible paperback mystery series for low prices. But even at $2-$3 per book, it all adds up. Having run a business for 40 years prior to retiring, I learned long ago that to stay in the chips during hard times you just have to work harder for lower prices. Then you keep working.


Jennifer said...

I find that the tweed Nancy Drew books without dust jackets sell more readily than the tweed books with dust jackets in rough shape, yet both are priced about the same.

There may be something to the idea that many people are buying just to read and may not want to mess with jackets.

The economy is still definitely a factor in all of this, and I also think eBay's 99 cent auctions are part of the problem.

I'm pulling out more books from my booth and will sell in a lot at possibly a significant loss. What I am not going to do is lot my Nancys in dust jackets other than the ones I already tried to sell on eBay.

If the economy ever does get better, which I suppose it will within a year or so (?), then it should get easier to sell some of these books. I hope.

Jennifer said...

I have still been thinking about this topic. Even though the economy is the reason why some expensive books are not selling, it does not explain the lack of interest in cheap Nancy Drew books with dust jackets. I can sell $5 to $10 original text Nancy Drew picture cover editions easily, but I can no longer sell $5 to $10 Nancy Drew books with the original text and dust jacket. Why? These same books with dust jackets used to sell for $30 to $40. Why do the current buyers not want to pay $5 to $10 but will pay the same amount for a picture cover book?

Brandi said...

There was a lot of 28 Nancy's with REALLY nice looking tweeds with jackets (in my opinion and from what could be seen in the picture) that sold recently for $285... only two of those had the possibility of being first printings. I thought that was low, and a good deal at $10 each for nice looking jackets, but I don't know as much about this stuff as you guys do. :) Item 220658917372

Jennifer said...

Lots like that one used to sell easily for $400 or more, and sometimes at that level to people buying to resell. The fact that one particular seller did not even bother to bid says a lot about the current deflation in prices.

The $164 bid was definitely someone buying to resell, and I am not sure about the two higher bidders. I suspect the lot went to someone who wanted the books for a collection. In any case, these books are not bringing the prices they once were.

Paula said...

Besides the economy which IMO I agree is a BIG factor, I can think of a few reasons why people might be buying picture covers rather than DJ tweeds:

1. As new collectors start out, they want to complete their childhood collections and people in their 40's and 50's who may be starting this new hobby were PC collectors. So they want the PC's first, and may not even be interested in older printings.

2. Although DJ books are going for less and PC's are going for more than they once did, I think PC's in general are still less expensive. Plus they are more plentiful and easier to find in decent condition. People are willing to pay more for a nice PC copy of a title they are missing and having trouble finding - this might be what you are seeing on Bonanzle with higher priced PC's. I don't see PC's with flaws selling much on Bonanzle.

3. The tweed books with DJ's don't make a nice looking set on the shelf. This may sound silly, but after I had my set of orginal text PC's (as many as are available in that format), then I wanted a complete set of the revised text PC's 1-56, THEN I decided to collect the white spine DJ books 1-22 (in any format, but with the white spine dustjacket). I decided not to collect the wraparound dust jackets because the same cover art can be found on the PC's. In fact the only wraparound DJ books I have kept for my collection are the two that have art that was not printed in any other format (2nd art Lilac Inn and 2nd art Broken Locket). So all my PC's have the yellow spine, and the white spine collection has all the older art covers and they look nice together even though the books are different formats. If you collect the tweeds with DJ's, you will have a mixture of white spines and wraparound spines. I think some people like to collect the tweeds without the DJs because they look nice all together, are in general cheaper, and that's what they remember reading. This may not make sense to a true book connoisseur, but many ND collectors are casual and just doing what they like. Do you find the prices to be the same for the white spine tweeds as the wraparound DJ tweeds? Just wondering about that...

Just throwing out some ideas... :)

stratomiker said...

Someone made a replica white spine DJ of the 2nd Broken Locket art cover (with the man)for tweed books and it was passed around a lot in the early 1990s. It was very nice.

Ok, I'm beginning to believe that the DJ'd books may be a thing of the past as far as collecting goes. Can it be? Hmmmm? We who grew up with them may never be really able to believe that. But it could be true.

Younger collectors will want what they were used to, not what came before. People that age would not be collecting 40s swing tunes or even Elvis, rather stuff from their own era.

Gosh, will Nancy Drew totally die someday? Well, at least we oldies will be gone by then and not have to endure it!

However, at a lot of book stores the DJ'd books are still priced high, and they sell. So I guess we have to wait and see what the outcome of this will be.


Paula said...

Mike, I didn't mean to imply that the DJ Nancy Drew books are a thing of the past and that prices are never going to come back. As I mentioned at the very first, I agree the economy has a lot to do with the low demand right now. As you commented, people don't have allot of money and are trying to be careful not to spend too much on extras, like hobbies.

I think the early 1930's DJ books and even the 40's books with good paper will always be popular, as they are very different from the PC's and really are the beginning of Nancy Drew. And tweed books with VG dust jackets are very desirable too - my point was just that new collectors these days will probably be like me (I'm in my mid-50's), and will *start* their collecting with the PC's, rather than the tweeds. Then they may advance into collecting the DJ books.

I'm the tail-end of the baby boomers, so maybe there will be an overall drop in interest as kids from the 80's get to middle age. I don't know - we'll have to see! I think there still will be interest from the kids of the 70's and that might be why, as Jennifer noted once before, the revised/modern PC's are almost as popular now as the original/60's printings.

Jennifer said...

I have not paid close attention to how often these big lots of Nancy Drew books with dust jackets show up on eBay, but it almost seems like they are showing up more often. I refer to the lots that are not offered by established collectors, so the books are new to the market.

A lot of the people who owned the tweed books with dust jackets when they were children are now of the age where they are getting rid of the books, if they have held onto them for this long. If there are more of the books getting dumped into the market, then that could be part of the reason for the drop in prices.

There are several stages in one's life when books are disposed of provided that they were not already disposed of previously.

- the teen years when interest is lost (My Nancy Drew books were kept but were used to prop up a broken leg on my bed, so many have deep gouges in the cover.)

- when the young person goes to college or gets married and the parents dump the books (I have heard many stories from people who are building their sets again because parents did this. Some of them have expressed anger that they were not asked if they wanted the books.)

- when the owners reach retirement and wish to downsize their possessions

- after death by the heirs

The really old series books from the very early 1900s are now just about impossible to find in dust jacket since they have already been disposed of by the original owners or heirs. Just about the only time those books surface are when they are offered by collectors. Additionally, many of the 100 year old books are disintegrating due to what I like to call "binding rot."

The blank endpapers Nancy Drew books are beginning to enter the stage of having been nearly all disposed of by the original owners. Think about how old the original owners of the very first Nancy Drew books would now be. They would have to be at least around 90 years of age or older. Most of their books have already passed into others' hands.

Lauren said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lauren said...

I'm the tail-end of the baby boomers, so maybe there will be an overall drop in interest as kids from the 80's get to middle age. I don't know - we'll have to see! I think there still will be interest from the kids of the 70's and that might be why, as Jennifer noted once before, the revised/modern PC's are almost as popular now as the original/60's printings.

I was born in '79 and didn't discover the appeal of collecting series books til I was about 23 so I fall into the odd category of the person who desires books far older than myself.

I remember rediscovering the Nancy Drew books I'd read as a child (though what made me come back to them is a total mystery to me now, maybe it was moving back in with my parents for a year while I paid off my loans??) and being baffled by how different some of them seemed. I must have read some original text books back in the day so reading the revised ones made me question my memory until I discovered that they'd been rewritten at some point.

On another topic, I read on the Judy Bolton group that The Strange Likeness (the listed last book of the JB series that didn't get written due to cancellation) will be released next year.

I was curious to see how Judy fans felt about this news. I myself loved The Talking Snowman but strongly disliked The Whispering Belltower, so I personally am torn about this new Judy

Jennifer said...

In answer to some of Paula's points:

I know that a small group of collectors do worry about whether their books will look uniform on the shelf and can be influenced in their purchases by this desire. Some of these people greatly desire to have all of the picture cover editions with the original text. The problem is that not all titles are available in the picture cover editions with the original text.

Around 10 years ago, the Judy Bolton Aeonian Press books tended to sell really high on eBay. When I sold my copies of #32-38, I had someone try to get me to close the auction for #35 (I think) early in a private offer. I declined, and the book sold for $150. That person told me that he wanted the entire set in uniform bindings, and the Aeonian Press books were the only way to do it.

The Nancy Drew white spine dust jackets have historically been easier to sell than the wraparound jackets, since the original Tandy art never made it to picture cover. At least currently, I am not finding the white spines to be easier to sell. I am having much trouble selling all Nancy Drew books with dust jackets, white spine or not.

In answer to Lauren's comment:

I am neutral on Strange Likeness since I have not read any Judy Bolton books in a long time. I expect I will buy and will read it eventually. I did enjoy Whispering Belltower as I recall, but I can understand why some people would not. Sometimes I do not like reading stories where the characters have advanced in age or circumstance past how they were in their original form.

stratomiker said...

I ordered a copy of The Strange Likeness early in the year from Amereon (Aeonian) after it was advertised for sale in The Whispered Watchword, the Phantom Friend fanzine. It was to be available March 1st, written by the person who wrote The Whispering Belltower. However, when the copyright holder got wind of it, she put a stop to the book.

I find it hard to believe that the author would publish without the proper permission. I published Belltower for her and got written permission from Margaret Sutton to do it. And, as far as I know, permission for Likeness was also granted.

Whatever, the copyright holder didn't want the book out and has decided to write her own version, which is the one supposed to come out next year.

The first three chapters of this were read to the gang at a recent reunion. I haven't heard any praise of it yet. It will be interesting to see what eventually comes out. The jist of the story is well known - Peter is missing on a case and Judy traces him down to Panama where a man strangely like him menaces her. Judy is also supposed to give birth in this book, which is something that never appealed to me. That should happen beween books.

Belltower was too modern, fans complained, and had its faults, such as Judy leaving her children with suspicious strangers to go off and sleuth. Snowman was mostly liked, but I thought it was written with too much of a feminist bent for a supposed-to-be-1930s book.

Some fans don't like add-ons, but others love them and crave for more. I have a collection of fan-written Judys that are every bit as good as the originals, and I'd love to publish them into a volume via Lulu or one of the on-demand sites. But the authors don't want it and the copyright holder surely would object.

But there are some of us who always welcome more.


Lauren said...

Belltower was too modern, fans complained, and had its faults, such as Judy leaving her children with suspicious strangers to go off and sleuth. Snowman was mostly liked, but I thought it was written with too much of a feminist bent for a supposed-to-be-1930s book.

I have to confess that I have not read either of these books in several years so I'm just going on my memory.

I understand logistically that since The Whispering Belltower was set in the late 60's (right?), that the pot smoking stuff (again, I'm not quite remembering the whole book, but I could swear this stuff was in there) fits in that era, but for me, it didn't fit into the series as previously written. It seemed like it was aiming toward a different demographic than the original series.

As for The Talking Snowman, again I'd have to reread it, but I enjoyed that one more because it kept the general voice of Judy more consistent, IMO.

Some fans don't like add-ons, but others love them and crave for more. I have a collection of fan-written Judys that are every bit as good as the originals, and I'd love to publish them into a volume via Lulu or one of the on-demand sites. But the authors don't want it and the copyright holder surely would object.

I myself would be interested in reading fan written Judys but only ones that fit in with the original series, which for me, Whispering Belltower did not. (No offense intended toward the author or anyone involved!)

The Judy series is my favorite of all the girls' series, even if I didn't love some of the later ones) and I thought it was a shame that it was only 38 volumes long.

stratomiker said...

I agree that it's a pity there aren't more Judy Boltons, and that if there were, they ought to be in the spirit of the originals.

The latest I've heard on The Strange Likeness is that the copyright holder got someone to edit the writer's version. This new person is not a writer or an editor! I'd be insulted to have a non-writer edit my work. And just plain wouldn't allow it. I'd rather go unpublished than be edited by an amateur. The person who wrote the book is a very good published writer.

I smell some politics here. And personal agendas. They're everywhere!