Thursday, October 27, 2011

1930A-1 Nancy Drew Lilac Inn First Printing Book

An auction for the 1930A-1 first printing book for the Nancy Drew, The Mystery at Lilac Inn, just closed. The book sold for $407.07.

The Mystery At Lilac Inn - Nancy Drew - Blank EPS - 1st Edition - 1931

The book is not in the best of condition, but the seller provided pictures of the post-text ads, proving that the book is the first printing.

The photographic proof of the content of the post-text ads likely helped the book reach this high of a price.

I have previously written about the extreme scarcity of the first printing of Lilac Inn. I gave detailed information in my post, "Scarcity of Nancy Drew Lilac Inn First Printing". I also included the book in my list of the "Ten Rarest Nancy Drew Books and Collectibles."

The first printing Lilac Inn book may perhaps be the most difficult to acquire of the early first printing Nancy Drew books. It is definitely harder to find than the 1930A-1 Old Clock first printing book. Keep in mind that I refer to the bare books, not the dust jackets, which is another situation entirely.

Farah's Guide values the 1930A-1 Old Clock first printing book at $1,000, yet I know of only one time that an example sold that high. That example hardly counts since the buyer was that infamous buyer from the summer of 2008 who was buying $30,000 in books per month on eBay and allegedly paying with stolen money. Aside from that one case, I do not recall seeing the book sell that high in the last ten years.

By contrast, Farah's Guide values the 1930A-1 Lilac Inn book at just $500 in very good or better condition. The example that just sold is not in very good condition. If Farah's value were correct, the book should have sold for far less than the guide value. This example sold for slightly above $400, which is higher than the 1930A-1 Old Clock in similar condition normally brings.

I feel like the values given for the two books should be switched with each other. The 1930A-1 Old Clock first printing book is worth more like $500 and the 1930A-1 Lilac Inn first printing book is worth more like $1,000. That would seem to be more accurate, in my opinion, especially since this one first printing continues to elude me. Of course, I have no intention of paying $1,000 for one, but the value of the Lilac Inn first printing book is certainly higher than that of the Old Clock first printing book.

Remember that no portion of this post is meant to be critical of David Farah or his guide in any fashion.

Edited on November 23, 2011 to add: The first printing of Lilac Inn cannot be determined by outward appearance only. You must give the post-text ad information, which you will note is shown in photographs in this blog post. The four post-text ad pages are "This Isn't All!" followed by Hardy Boys to Great Airport Mystery, Outdoor Girls to Canoe Trip, and Blythe Girls to Margy's Mysterious Visitor, in that exact order. The same ads in a different order means that the book is not the first printing. Any other combination of ads means that the book is not the first printing. Later printings are much easier to find and are worth much less than the first printing.


Suzanne said...

Hi Jennifer,

I just purchased a large lot of Bobbsey Twins and tweed Nancy Drews because I spotted a early copy of Lilac Inn (no DJ) in the picture provided by the seller. I got the books today, and Lilac Inn is the first printing, with Hardy Boys Airport Mystery, Outdoor Girls to Canoe Trip, and Blythe Girls to Margy's Mysterious Visitor in that order. The book itself is in better shape than this one, except unfortunately it is missing the third glossy internal drawing. Do you have any idea as to how that might affect the value?


Jennifer White said...

It's really hard to place values on these early first printings, since it depends upon who is interested as well as the condition. This post mentions one that closed at around $400, and I bought one, mentioned here for around $100.

An internal missing does diminish the value, but I couldn't say how much or exactly what the value of your book is. $400, based on the closing price of this book, is likely a good estimate, since the internal missing would balance out the better condition. It could even be worth more, but that would be assuming that someone is willing to pay more.

Jennifer White said...

P.S. Nice find! Congratulations!

Suzanne said...

Thanks for your feedback! It's only because of your website and Jenn Fisher's that I knew the book was a first format of some kind. I just got lucky that it was a first printing. I will definitely be holding on to it!

Sarah said...

Is this a first edition?

Jennifer White said...

The seller has not given enough information for us to be able to tell. Usually when collectors leave out the post-text ad information, you can be absolutely certain that the book is not the first printing.

For the convenience of anyone reading this comment, here is a link to the current listing about which I was just asked.

Current Lilac Inn blank endpapers listing

I know that the book is not the first printing since I sold the book to her. Check out my listing and compare the stains that are on the front endpapers to the ones in the current listing.

Nancy Drew Lilac Inn

Since the post-text ad lists to Clue in the Diary, the book is one of the last printings of the blank endpapers format and is not the first printing.

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

Interesting. Do you often find that people purchase your items to resell? Strange that buyers think they can realize a different value on books than you, a seller with a proven track record of books sales.

Jennifer White said...

I find it very strange to see someone price a book at five to ten times higher than my price. This person has also paid some high prices for books in the past week, and I'm curious to see if those are marked up to extreme prices. Duplicates of those have been bought, so I know some of them will be offered for sale.

People do buy books from me to resell. It doesn't happen nearly as often as it did five years ago, because prices have gone down so sharply. In some cases, the way I describe a book may lead to me getting less for it, and others know that they can take the same book and make a profit from it.

Lady in Pink Waders said...

I find your blog interesting. I have been collecting the oldest printings of Nancy Drew series for about 25 years. The only one I am missing is Lilac Inn and every once in awhile I google it and this is how I found this blog. All of my books I collected have been from antique shops and book stores. I have been thinking about starting to sell some of them, but it seems prices have gone down substantially since I started collecting. What is your view on the market now and do you anticipate prices rising in the near future? How hard is it to come by Lilac Inn at a decent price? Thanks for your input.

Jennifer White said...

I think if prices do rise again that it won't be for a few more years. We are firmly in a slump that has now persisted for 5 1/2 years.

It's not any harder to get Lilac Inn in the blank endpapers format than any of the other first format printings. If you are wanting the very first printing, that is different. The very first printing is extremely hard to find.

Robert said...

I have 3 Nancy Drew books that are topic of conversation above and throughout the web. Contact me so we can further discuss the books I have on hand please.I am looking to sale.

Robert said...

Can you contact me regarding 3 Nancy Drew books that I have, 4692471628 or

Jennifer White said...

Run a search on eBay for the titles of the books. Click on "sold" in the left sidebar. Sort the results and then look for books like yours. If you find books that look like yours, that will tell you the value.