Sunday, November 21, 2010

Nancy Drew's Inner Circle Book Club

For the most part, I am not very interested in collecting old magazine advertisements for the Nancy Drew series. The advertisements tend to be plain black and white and fairly generic. I did recently make an exception.

I chanced to notice an advertisement for "Nancy Drew's Inner Circle for Girls" and the "Hardy Boys Inner Circle for Boys" book clubs in an eBay listing. It was a Buy It Now, and I liked what I saw, so I immediately purchased it.

The advertisement has staple holes in the center, so it must have been removed from a magazine, as is almost always the case with these old inserts. The seller wrote "August 1963" on the cardboard backing used for the ad, so I assume that the ad was removed from a magazine that was published in August of 1963. As always, click on the images to view larger versions.

I think it is a very attractive advertisement due to the use of the cover images in blue that mimic the blue multi endpapers. The spine symbols used also look nice.

The book club is for the Nancy Drew picture cover editions that have no number on the spine and have a blank back cover. #1-32 were issued in this book club.

The advertisement gives us some important information about the book club. The book club was called the "Nancy Drew Inner Circle for Girls." The book club offered four introductory volumes: #7 The Clue in the Diary, #8 Nancy's Mysterious Letter, #18 The Mystery at the Moss-Covered Mansion, and #21 The Secret in the Old Attic. Additionally, each member had to commit to purchasing two additional books each month for four months before canceling the membership. This means that each person had to purchase a total of twelve books.

David Farah has speculated that the volumes were issued in four groups: #1-8, #9-16, #17-24, and #25-32. He drew this conclusion because the earlier volumes appear to be less scarce than the later volumes.

This advertisement indicates that the first four volumes issued were #7, 8, 18, and 21, which means that those four volumes should be the most abundant, in addition to whichever eight additional titles were required to be purchased by members. It would be nice to know which eight were next. It is possible that after the introductory volumes that the books were sent in order, which would account for the earlier volumes seeming to be less scarce than the later ones.

I decided to check eBay listings to see if I could draw any conclusions. I have listed the volume number followed by the number of listings of the book club edition picture cover that I found currently listed. The numbers are interesting, although flawed, because some books might sell more readily than others.

#1 - 2
#2 - 6
#3 - 5
#4 - 3
#5 - 1
#6 - 3
#7 - 7
#8 - 8
#9 - 3
#10 - none
#11 - 3
#12 - 3
#13 - 2
#14 - 1
#15 - 3
#16 - 1
#17 - 1
#18 - 3
#19 - 3
#20 - 2
#21 - 2
#22 - 1
#23 - 1
#24 and up - none

#7 and #8, which are two of the four introductory volumes, are definitely the most abundant. #2 and #3 are next, followed by #4, 6, 9, 11, 12, 15, 18, and 19. I notice that a few early volumes such as #5 plus some of the later ones like #10, 14, 16, 17, 22, and 23 seem to be equally scarce. It does not look like #1-8 are equally scarce, followed by #9-16 and #17-24, as indicated by Farah. The scarcity of #25-32 matches Farah's observations. It sounds like the early volumes were some of the ones mailed out first, but not all of them and that the later books were definitely mailed out last.


Jenn said...

OMG !!! This is what I've been asking collectors about for several years now--I have a membership card from this club that I got inside a Scarlet Slipper book club edition! And I have some info from the NYPL about it--but it was vague info. Awesome!


L E Hartter said...

I noted that when that lot of 12 was up last winter, that the first four were the promotional volumes, or rather, the books were the promotional volumes, and then the sequential volumes in the series. Which led me to believe they might have been issued sequentially for a time (for your required purchase books), but lately, I've seen several copies of 17, 24-25, 23, and 19, in fact, far more copies of these middle to high numbers (for a series only issued from 1-32). I have always seen more of volume 11 than any other.

TimK said...

Hi Jennifer,

I'm going through your blog in reverse chronological order. Very interesting! I read both Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys (as well as Trixie Belden, but that's another story) as a kid.

In the two-page advertising spread that shows the individual books, did you notice that some of the descriptions don't match? Under the image of The Secret in the Old Attic is a summary of the plot of Nancy's Mysterious Letter, and vice versa. I'm pretty sure the same is true on the Hardy Boys page for The Secret of Pirates' Hill and The Secret of the Lost Tunnel, but I've never read Lost Tunnel, so I can't be sure.

Best regards,