Friday, October 15, 2010

Nancy Drew 1st Printing Auctions Part 3

The seller of the Nancy Drew books from round one then listed his 1930A-1 Old Clock book with dust jacket and his 1930A-1 Hidden Staircase book with dust jacket. These auctions overlapped with the auctions mentioned in my previous post. This is the first time that two copies of the 1930A-1 Old Clock and 1930A-1 Hidden Staircase dust jackets have ever been sold on eBay at the same time. Normally, years pass with neither surfacing, yet we saw two of each simultaneously.

1930A-1 Old Clock with dust jacket

Old Clock sold for $7,633.88, once again, far short of $11,700.

1930A-1 Hidden Staircase with dust jacket

This book sold for $4,361.00.

We have two differing opinions about the overall value of the books and jackets in cases like this where the books are in rough shape. Some people feel that the books are worth less than the Farah's Guide values while others seem to think the books are worth more than the Farah's Guide values.

I have been in communication with the other bidder on these two lots. Neither one of us wanted the books and only wanted the dust jackets. A lot of people assumed that the horrible condition of the books made these particular auctions to be undesirable. I saw this as an opportunity. Those of us who are actively bidding on these first printing books and jackets already have the books and only desire the dust jackets.

The dust jackets that list to Bungalow Mystery are so extremely scarce that collectors have to settle for whatever condition dust jacket comes up for sale. There are only eight known examples of the Old Clock first printing dust jacket in existence, and two of them are the ones that just sold on eBay.

The dust jackets are very scarce and desirable, but these particular examples are not in excellent condition. They are valuable but worth somewhat less than the Farah's Guide values. The books are in horrible shape and are not worth much at all.

Someone told the seller regarding Old Clock, "Do you know yet that this book is valued at $10,000 for the dj and $1,000 for the book?? It is noted in Farah's Guide that 'the first edition dust jacket is extremly rare with, probably, less than ten existing copies in any condition.' Your dj is perfect! I hope you will get what you should for this unbelievable find!!"

The book is trashed. How can it possibly be worth $1,000? The Farah's Guide values are for books and jackets in great shape. The seller was told that the jacket is "perfect." As I told Jenn Fisher, the jacket has a "huge freaking water stain! It's not perfect!" The jacket is not worth as much as Farah's Guide states since it is not perfect!

By telling the sellers the very highest values, the sellers are guaranteed to be disappointed when the books fail to reach those values. It happens every single time one of these books goes up for sale. It happened with the Bungalow Mystery first printing book and jacket I purchased recently.

In the Bungalow Mystery auction, someone told the seller, "Wow! Awesome book! This is the true first print for this book and worth around $5000! May go higher, its in such great shape." Most people who commented publicly about that auction and who are the same people who desire these early first printings pointed out the mildew problem and felt that the book was worth somewhat less than the Farah's Guide value. Why do other people who are not interested in bidding tell the sellers that the books are worth more than the Farah's Guide values?

Jackets aside, the water-damaged Old Clock and Hidden Staircase books are of low value, which makes the comment about the Old Clock book having a value of $1,000 to be completely ridiculous.


stratomiker said...

As much as some collectors like to interfere in auctions, it really doesn't have much of an effect on the outcomes. The book will find the value present bidders are willing to give it no matter how many non-bidders butt in.

Why do others nose in on an auction? Many are annoyed they can't bid because they don't have the money, so they want to make sure the seller knows what the book is 'worth' so that the eventual buyer will have to pay at least that much. It's pure jealousy.

Others are habitual do-gooders who feel they have to protect the seller and make sure he gets what the item is worth. Never mind that an auction is all about the item going for what people are willing to bid for it.

Still others jump at any chance to show off their knowledge and flash their egos. Being an expert is always fun, even when nobody asked you for your opinion. The funny thing about these 'experts' in relation to Nancy Drew books is that they are basing their expert opinions on a guide that has no cachet outside the small Drew collecting world. It is a book real bibliophiles laugh about because it is not based on any kind of records, only visual speculation. And it does not follow accepted bibliographical standards.

I think interfering in auctions is unethical. It is none of our business to butt in. When I used to auction rare books I would totally ignore emails from non-bidders who wished to set me straight about my books.

EBay continues to allow this kind of interference with the excuse of 'keeping the lines of communication open' between members, but it mostly results in problems for those who interfere, as we have seen in this instance. You can become very unpopular and hated if you are one who habitually interferes in auctions on eBay.

You can't swim with eBay sharks; they'll eat you right up.


Brandi said...

Yea for the winners on these books that really desire them! I'm so happy for them that they are one step closer to getting their collection complete. :) I'm so happy that people get what makes them happy. To me, it's all about the love for books... and if you get a book that you have wanted for years, yea for you. :)


Jennifer White said...

I have a post written from days ago that I will never publish because the comments I made were too strongly worded. Before I continue, everyone needs to remember that whatever I state about this situation regards what I have collectively witnessed on eBay over the course of nearly 14 years. My comments are not directed at anyone in particular. We have already discovered this week that this is a touchy topic.

One of the points I made in that unpublished post is that it is only Nancy Drew auctions in which people contact the seller and quote huge values. They only do it because of the price guide.

When an extremely scarce lot of girls' series books other than Nancy Drew goes up for sale, usually nobody contacts the seller with information on the value. This is because no price guide exists for those series books. People don't have a guide in which they can look up prices, so they stay out of it.

Think about it: How often have you seen an auction for a girls' series book other than Nancy Drew in which people contact the seller and gush over how extremely rare, beautiful, desirable, and valuable the book is? It never happens.

It makes collecting Nancy Drew books very stressful for those of us who desire the valuable first printing dust jackets.

I have been guilty of the same behavior. I recall mentioning a few auctions in the Nancy Drew group years ago for the high value first printings. I knew I wasn't bidding, so I thought nothing of advertising the auctions. I'm so sorry now...

-continued in the next comment

Jennifer White said...

When these books were nearing the close, one of the Sleuth members went to the Nancy Drew group and announced that she couldn't afford the books but that we all needed to know about the auctions. She meant well, but actually, we didn't need to be told. Those of us who were interested in bidding had known about the auctions the entire time and did not need others telling the entire world about the auctions. Nobody ever advertises an auction when intending to bid. The psychology of this behavior is interesting.

Everything Jenn mentioned in her blog happens every single time these early first printing dust jackets go up for sale. The actions surrounding the auctions are always a circus.

I stated in one of my recent comments that I had a stalker in another area of interest. That person was jealous of me and forced me to pay extremely high prices out of vengeance. That person could not afford the amounts he was bidding. He did it to make me pay. I had to stop collecting the stuff. Isn't that sad?

I think most normal collectors, unlike my stalker, may feel some envy when they can't buy something but are generally happy that someone has made a certain purchase. I wish I had the first printing Old Clock dust jacket, and I do feel some envy, but I am happy for those people who have been able to acquire one.

Mike is right that these books will find their value without interference. I contact the sellers to tell them to keep the auctions open, which is interference, but I'm trying to protect the integrity of the auctions. The people making private auctions are interfering with the auction process.

I have been contacted by people with incorrect information over the years. I had a blank endpapers edition of one of the Nancy Drew books which was definitely not the first printing. I did not describe it has the first printing, because it was not. Someone contacted me telling me that I had a "first edition," and I knew they meant "first printing." I responded that it was not.

I had someone with a Farah's Guide tell me I was asking too much for an early printing of Ivory Charm with dust jacket. They quoted me Farah's Guide information which was misinterpreted. I told them the correct interpretation and stated that my book was up for sale for slightly less than the quoted value.

I see the usual sellers of the RARE RARE RARE Nancy Drew books (meaning the ones that are relatively common that people like to try to convince people are RARE) stating that a certain book does not come up for sale but once every few years. The funny thing is that each time I read that statement I can think of one I saw in the last few months. Odd...

stratomiker said...

Contacting the seller by non-bidders is not peculiar only to Nancy Drew. This same thing happens quite often with Hardy Boys books auctions, certain Rick Brant titles, a couple Biff Brewster books, and others.

I used to get interfering emails about Judy Bolton books, Connie Blair, Dana Girls, Oz books, Little Golden Books, and others.

The Rick Brant book THE MAGIC TALISMAN often goes for $4,000 and recently went for $8,000 on eBay. Almost always the seller is notified by email on the 'worth' of the book.

The so-called 'true' first of Hardy Boys #34 THE HOODED HAWK MYSTERY (which some believe is just a variant DJ version sent to Canada to avoid USA mailorder problems from the original DJ)has sold for $15,000, has been advertised that way in a fanzine, and two sellers on eBay Canada who offered the book were email-notified of that value, although the book did not go anywhere near that high.

This kind of interference probably happens more often with the Drews, but it is very common with other series books and rare adult fiction as well.


Jennifer White said...

I'm not surprised to learn that it happens with the Hardy Boys auctions, since a price guide exists. With the $15,000 book that you mentioned, the value is subjective, so quoting a specific value can be detrimental to the auction process.

My concern is always that these sellers might think that the books are worth even more than the quoted values. If someone has a book that might have a value of $10,000, they could end up thinking it is worth $15,000 or $20,000 and refuse to sell the book.

Recently someone tried to sell the first Penny Parker book with no dust jacket for $1,500. One might think that the price was a typo, but the listing fee would have been an indication of a mistake, and surely one would notice all the extra zeros. The seller relisted and lowered the price to around $1,200 and then finally to around $1,000. The seller had to have known of the high price.

Some people are out of touch with reality, and I would hate for one of those people to have a $10,000 Nancy Drew book. They'd probably try for $100,000. That is really my biggest concern about these people being told very high values.

stratomiker said...

"Some people are out of touch with reality, and I would hate for one of those people to have a $10,000 Nancy Drew book. They'd probably try for $100,000."

****The fellow who paid the $15,000 for the so-called Hardys #34 'true' first has a complete set of Hardy Boys firsts in DJs, including that one, available for sale via his blog site for $140,000!

Which, of course, is insane. But this is what happens when makers of faux guides and fan hysteria combine to drive up prices.

If people would just leave the auction process alone, rare books would find their true values, not bloated ones, and 'newbie' sellers would easily be able to find that out by checking records easily available.

There are TWO guides for the Hardy Boys done in the same manner as the one for the Drews. There are also guides for Rick Brant and Judy Bolton, although not as in depth.

There are three guides for the OZ books, which are not as hot an item as they used to be in the 70s and 80s. Each guide has a different spin on some things and this caused a lot of infighting amongst Oz collectors, but the guides do follow bibliographical standards more closely than series books guides do.

There are at least two guides for Little Golden Books, which are pretty much exact because those books do state printings inside via little letters usually hidden on last page under spine.

Probably the most sought-after series book right now is Rick Brant #24 THE MAGIC TALISMAN. It was privately printed by the author in the 1980s, twenty years after the series ended. Only 500 were made. We all bought our copies for $25. Most collectors won't part with them.

Even though you can get free electronic copies from other collectors or illegal downloads, buyers will pay up to $8,000 for the book. And when it is offered on eBay, you can bet there is all kinds of auction interference going on. The tales of this happening are legendary, as you can read about on the Rick Brant Yahoo group.

Interestingly enough, it is a very good story, about ESP, unusual for the science-based series, and it nicely wraps up the series to the liking of all fans.


Brandi said...

I'm just curious... I think the first Old Clock's jacket was in better condition then the second that came up for auction. Maybe I don't know enough to know that the second one was better? However, the book certainly is in better condition. Why do you think that the first one went for less money then the second? This has confused me since they sold.


Jennifer White said...

There are lots of reasons.

The first one did not have "Nancy Drew" in the title and also did not originally have "Nancy Drew" in the description. A few people would have missed the first auction. The person who went to the Nancy Drew group to advertise the second auction probably did not notice the first auction. The first auction did not get advertised by people not wishing to bid. The fact that it was not advertised is another factor.

Additionally, the second book was listed approximately 24 hours before the end of the first auction. We knew we had a second chance. The person who won the second auction lost the first auction. He undoubtedly would have bid higher on the first auction if he had realized what would happen.

A lot of it has to do with timing, who knows about the auction, and whether another copy is available. The value of these books is highly volatile, and the auction results are influenced heavily by adrenaline and emotion.

Jennifer White said...

It was a fluke that I won the two auctions that I did. I will be discussing why I was able to win those two auctions in a future post. It has everything to do with timing and which auctions end first.

Those of us who bid on these types of auctions throw out a bid not knowing what the end result will be. There is a reason the serious bidders wait until the final 10 seconds. The risk, however, is that we may not bid high enough. If we bid early, we definitely would not be able to bid high enough because we would be guaranteed to be outbid.

Brandi said...

I thought that might have been the reason, but it makes me feel better to know your opinion on it.


Paula said...

Mike said "If people would just leave the auction process alone, rare books would find their true values, not bloated ones, and 'newbie' sellers would easily be able to find that out by checking records easily available."

Just wondering what sales records are being referred to here? I would love to have some means of checking recent sale prices. Ebay keeps searchable auction results for only 2 weeks now, and although we can see Bonanza results for the last year, there is not really alot of volume there. What other records are available for newbie sellers? Thanks!

Jennifer White said...

I don't know that there are any easily accessible sales records other than what you just mentioned. It is hard for inexperienced sellers to know how to price fixed-price listings. Mike is correct that truly rare books that are worth thousands of dollars will attain their actual value with no interference from others.

In the current economy, most books are not acquiring their true value in the eBay auctions. Additionally, eBay's traffic continues to slide downhill, which is further impacting the auction results. For books that are not extremely valuable, fixed-price is now the way to go.

The auctions listed in this series of posts have caused some inexperienced sellers to grossly overprice their books. This happens every time the 1930A-1 Old Clock sells with a dust jacket.

Read the comments to this recent post:

"Helping Out a Seller"

A seller is trying to get close to $7,000 for a Nancy Drew book that is worth no more than a couple hundred dollars because he thinks it is the 1930A-1 Old Clock with dust jacket. The book and jacket are from a later printing.

Paula said...

Thanks for the reply, Jennifer! I'm actually finding Bonanza to be the better indicator of going prices for ND books. Ebay is just all over the map, with many over-priced BIN's (IMO). At the same time though, there are many well-priced auctions not even getting bids. There just seems to be a lot of price confusion right now. To make matters worse on ebay, the volume of active listings that have to be sifted through is huge, while the amount of referential history is meager. The old ebay history used to be helpful to buyers as well as sellers. Sellers were more likely to price their books in a feasible range, and buyers could see more consistency in actual sale prices and be more confident in their own bidding. But hey, I guess ebay is ceding that advantage to Bonanza also. :)

To Mike: if you had some other resources in mind that we could use to help determine going prices, please share... :) Thanks!

Coffeegulper said...

I don't think for one minute that the authors of those comments (in the "Questions" section on the Ebay listings for the 1st printing auctions) were "do-gooders"....invasive know-it-alls even somebody putting in their 2 cents worth----I'm nearly positive that WHENEVER such so-called "helpful" comments appear, they're the product of the seller, themselves!

They don't fool me one bit. It's always an eye-rolling moment for me. LOL