Wednesday, March 2, 2011

2011 Book Sale Part 2: What I Found

I will begin with the books that I consider to be my best finds of the evening.  I was lucky to get them, because the area was getting crowded by the time I noticed them.  The books were organized differently this year and placed where I was not expecting to see them.

I bought a bunch of Tom Swift books with dust jackets.


The spine condition places the dust jackets at the low end of the value range, but I am still very pleased that I found them.  My problem is that I do not collect Tom Swift and do not follow the auctions.  I have no idea which ones are worth more and how to price them.  Of course, I do know that duotone jackets and higher-numbered titles are usually worth more, but I'm going to have to watch Tom Swift auctions for a while to try to get some idea.  If possible, I would prefer to sell them at fixed price on Bonanza, but this will require me to figure out specific prices.

I bought some Judy Bolton books with dust jackets.

The books are from around 1940 with good quality paper and a glossy frontispiece illustration.  The only one that might be a first printing is Midnight Visitor.  A few of the books have been chewed by mice or insects.

I hesitated briefly before I grabbed every book by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

At $3 to $5 each, I was not sure since these books are Grosset and Dunlap reprints that do not have dust jackets.  However, I am aware that even the G&D reprints are very collectible.  I did some checking upon arriving home, and a few of the books have sold for $10 to $35 on eBay in similar condition.  Be aware that I am referring to sold copies, not unsold copies.  Unsold copies can never be used to assess value, unless the unsold copies are priced at $1.00, and then one knows that a book has no value.

The red Happy Hollisters in the above picture is Midnight Trolls, the last and most scarce title in the series.  I left all of the other Happy Hollisters books that did not have dust jackets.

Here are some Tom Swift, Grace Harlowe, and other books.

Here are some miscellaneous books as well as a few Judy Bolton books.

I found one Judy Bolton, Fog Island, as well as a few Cherry Ames, Connie Blair, Brains Benton, and Trixie Belden books.  There was a stack of Random House Black Jacket Mystery books, but I only took one.  There were also stacks of each title from the recent Bobbsey Twins series, but I did not take any of those.

I bought some Black Stallion books.

I bought these hardcover Nancy Drew books.

I probably got all of the blue books, but I left all of the flashlight editions and many of the matte books.  A preteen girl was looking over the matte books when I finally found their location, and she was carefully selecting titles.  I left the area so she could finish.  I then went back and selected primarily higher-numbered titles.

I bought just some of the softcover Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books.

I probably bought most of the Nancy Drew Files and just some of the Boxcar Children.

I concentrated on higher-numbered Nancy Drew Girl Detective books.  I did not own any of the books above around #32.  I was pleased to find books that are not library discards.  They have some bumping and minor wear, but I am pleased not to have to pay the full price of a new copy.

This year, I did pass on a number of books, as already mentioned above.  As usual, I did pay too much for some books and wish I had not come home with some of them.  I always place a sticky note inside each book with what I paid for it, and I reconcile my mistakes by adding to my cost of the better books, such as the Tom Swifts and Judy Boltons.  That way I can rid myself of my mistakes without feeling bad about them.


keeline said...

The duotone DJs are earlier, of course, and seem to do OK on eBay. With complete spines, though often faded, $100+ seems to be the range. These will probably fall in the $50-$100 range I predict.

I don't see Flying Boat (1923) in duotone in your photo but since it is the last one in that format, it is the hardest to find. Some of the titles you do have, War Tank (1918) and Air Scout (1919), were first issued in duotone format.

This weekend we sold Chest of Secrets (1925, 1928 printing) in a complete but faded DJ for $50 at a SF/F convention. Other titles in a similar price range failed to sell at all. We did sell some of our Ked's book format Lulu reprints of the five 1910 stories ($10 each).

Obviously the spines will not be upgrades for many collectors and some who are concerned with condition might hold off because of the need to upgrade and buy the book again. I've encountered many collectors who seem to live in mortal fear of buying the same book twice, forgetting that they can sell the lesser books (usually) and get some temporary satisfaction by owning the other copy until the right one appears.


keeline said...

I just spotted your later picture. Sky Train is tough but Giant Magnet is an especial find, even without a DJ. That book was available for just a couple months in 1932, from about January to April, before the format change to orange in May. With the right buyer, you might cover your day's investment with that one.

Good going! I wish our sales in this area (San Diego) offered books like the ones you found, even with the condition issues.


Amanda said...

What cool finds. I'm totally jealous!

sequesterednooks said...

It sounds like a great sale! I can never find many of the older books around here, especially with dust jackets.

I'm the opposite with the Girl Detective series. I'd rather pay a little more (usually with a Barnes and Noble membership/coupon) than have a beat up copy. I don't mind as much for the files.

Out of curiosity, how many of these are for your collection and how many are for resale?

Jennifer said...

This is what transpired with the Tom Swifts. When I finally spotted them, it was already crowded. I knew that I had to get the ones with jackets. They were down on the lowest shelf, so I had to get on my hands and knees and lean over to them. Some men were standing in front of the shelves, so I could not get close.

After I had all of the ones with dust jackets, I then made sure that Planet Stone was not there. Due to the stress and having trouble thinking, I couldn't even remember the title, but I knew I would remember it if I saw it. I had a memory that the last title has a different binding, and all of the Tom Swift books at the sale had the tan binding. However, I was taking no chances. I read every single title just to make sure.

Next, I figured out which titles were the higher-numbered ones. All of the Tom Swift books were priced at $4.00 each, regardless of whether the jacket was present. I did not want to buy low-numbered titles at $4.00 each and end up paying too much for common books.

I was down on the floor with people all around. I took one book off the shelf and opened it to the copyright page. I then took each book in turn and figured out which ones were the high-numbered ones. Those were the ones without jackets that I purchased. I probably left at least 12 Tom Swift books behind. I certainly didn't want to pay around $50 for books that were not special.

I am glad to know that I did choose the right ones that did not have dust jackets. :) It is particularly pleasing to know that I found Giant Magnet.

By the way, none of the books had mylar covers, as is typical for books at the book sale. I put mylar covers on the Tom Swift books that evening as soon as I unpacked the books. Some miniscule pieces flaked off in my bags, but they were so small that I could not do anything with them.

I always think about how many pieces probably chipped off of those spines during the last year while the books were being sorted, and last week, when the volunteers were setting up for the sale.

Also, the Tom Swift and Edgar Rice Burroughs books came from the same donor. All of the books in both sets have the same name and address written inside.

Jennifer said...

The vast majority of the books will be sold. Years ago, I tended to find more books that I actually needed. Since my collection is pretty far along, I don't find books that I need very often. I had a sharp eye out for A. L. Burt Linda Carlton books, but no luck.

I will keep the Girl Detective books that I need. I bought the Girl Detective books new each month up to around #10, but I then found that most copies in the book stores had defective spines. That was what got me started buying the books secondhand. I have nearly perfect copies of most of them up to around #30, however.

I will keep the Brains Benton book for now. I need to make sure I don't want to collect that series.

I will likely sell everything else. Since I suddenly have a good many Tom Swifts, I may read one of them just to make sure I still don't want to collect them. I tend not to be interested in books that feature inventions and scientific stuff, which is kind of odd since I do have a mathematical mind and a math degree. If I read one entire Tom Swift book and am not interested enough, then I will definitely sell those as well.

If you click on the tag on the right side of my blog called "Book Hunting," you can see what I bought last year and the previous year. You will see that what I find varies considerably from year to year. This year was interesting in that there were very few Nancy Drew books that had the original text. Usually, I find quite a few older PCs and usually at least a few Nancy Drew books with dust jackets.

Paula said...

Very nice finds, Jennifer! Even though my rooms are overflowing with books, it makes me want to go to a another book sale! I hope you weren't competing with Mr. Cranky - heavens knows what he would be like in that situation!

I love to hear of young girls still discovering the "old" Nancy Drews! It brings back sweet memories! :)

Thanks for sharing your experience and what you found. I always enjoy these posts!

Jennifer said...

I don't think I saw Cranky while inside the sale. He apparently was interested in other books. This is why someone saving a chair is not that big of a deal. The first 30 to 40 people in line seem to be after different books. Nobody else wanted the series books, or else the Tom Swifts would have been gone by the time I noticed them.

The women who were worried about the chair were near me, however. One of them was right beside me, but she was after some other type of children's books. I couldn't exactly tell what, but whatever they were was of no interest to me.

Linda said...

Wow. I don't know where this book sale was, but I would have loved to have gone to it!

ruffin said...

Your pages on the history of Nancy Drew are great. Quick question -- I was wondering about the current run of 1-64 that you can find in yellow hardback in most big box book stores. You have a good deal of info on the paperback series that covers the initial publication (and paper editions) of many of these, and you mention the Wanderer dust jacket hardbacks of some of those numbers.

But there still seem to be at least 57-64 that are in "picture cover" format -- or, possibly more accurately, the the flashlight format. I can't track down these eight on your site. My apologies if I'm missing something obvious.

(This, btw, is brought on by our inability to locate 65 in yellow hardback. Kindle also stops carrying the mystery series at 64, so I wondered who was doing the printing and eprinting now, and what the future for 65-175's reprinting, Kindle or otherwise, might be. If you have any info there, we'd love to hear about it. I'm having a hard time explaining why the series seems to end at 64 now and used to run out to 175! (Though I've tried explaining how people waiting for a new book to come out tends to drive publication, and how the current (c) holder might think that, with the end of the old series, new readers only need 64. Still, "Why 64? Why not 65? Or an even 70 or 100?" I'm asked, and I have to admit that's a decent set of questions.)


Jennifer said...

You asked some great questions.

That has been an oversight in which I have never mentioned #57-64 in the flashlight editions. I just corrected the mention of the flashlight editions on my formats page to indicate that #1-64 have been printed in that format. I also added a short note to my page that shows all of the paperback cover art.

Grosset and Dunlap licensed #57-64 from Simon and Schuster. As I recall, G&D first printed #57-60 and then began printing #61-64. I believe that G&D was planning to do additional titles but the sales were not good enough to warrant licensing any additional titles. I'm pretty sure that the set will never extend beyond #64.

The only way to get hardcover editions past the Wanderer hardcover editions #57-77 (and #78 which exists but good luck finding one) with dust jackets is to buy hardcover library editions, which can be a bit hard to find and are usually not in very good shape.

The reason why #65-175 are unavailable is that Simon and Schuster quit printing them. #57-64 are only available because G&D licensed them, otherwise all of #57-175 would be out of print. Simon and Schuster, for whatever reason, decided to end the original Nancy Drew series and relaunch Nancy Drew in the Girl Detective series.

Therefore, the only way to obtain #65-175 is to find a secondhand copy. I hope this helps.