Saturday, November 12, 2011

My 11/11/11 Book Find

On Friday, I decided to check one of the book stores to see if anything interesting had shown up. I almost reconsidered, since the last three times I have been to that store, I have found nothing. I decided to go anyway.

Upon my arrival, I spotted around seven Nancy Drew picture cover books on the shelf, and I knew that most of them had not been there before. At least I had some books to check. Mystery of Crocodile Island was the one I spotted first, since the cover faced me from my direction of approach. I knew I would likely buy it, simply because I can always use another extra to sell. I pulled Crocodile Island off of the shelf and determined that I would purchase it.

I noticed that the next book to the left of where Crocodile Island had been was a copy of The Clue in the Crossword Cipher which looked like it could have been from the 1960s and was in pretty good shape. As always, I was ever hopeful, but I knew that my wish would almost certainly not come true. I snatched Crossword Cipher off of the shelf and immediately turned it over to the back cover, where I saw that the last title listed was The Phantom of Pine Hill.

I stared at the back cover in disbelief for around five seconds or so. I was thinking something like, "This can't be... seriously? I must be mistaken." I checked the price, which was low like all of the Nancy Drew books always are. I then stared at the back cover again making sure I was thinking straight and that I was holding Crossword Cipher and that it did list to Pine Hill. Yes, I was right.

In the back of my mind, I thought of my knowledge that two variants exist, one with an interior list and the other without. I didn't care at that moment which version I had in my hands. I already own the one with the list, but that book is in horrible shape and is hardly worth having. I have been seeking a Crossword Cipher listing to Pine Hill that is in good shape for the longest time. The presence or absence of an interior list is trivial.

I held onto my Crocodile Island and Crossword Cipher and checked the remaining books. I determined that I would purchase Twisted Candles and Larkspur Lane since they were early picture covers in nice shape. Both books list to Pine Hill.

Clutching my books, I checked the other part of the store where the newer Nancy Drew books are kept. I saw three Applewood editions, #1, 2, and 3, but I was not interested in buying them. I paid for my purchase and left.

Once I was inside the car, I thought to check for the interior list in Crossword Cipher. The book I had just purchased does not have the interior list, which means that it matches the points for the 1967A-1 first printing according to Farah's 12th edition. This is good, since I can now state that I have the first printing of Crossword Cipher.

There is the problem of the books that list to Pine Hill and have an interior list, and Farah has not yet determined whether the book with or the book without the interior list is the true first printing. Since I do have my horrible condition book that has the interior list, I now own the first printing of Crossword Cipher regardless of what Farah decides. I hope to eventually acquire a nice copy with the interior list present, so that I have a nice book either way.

My horrible Crossword Cipher with the interior list

This purchase means that the only first printing Nancy Drew book from the original 56 that I do not own is The Mystery at Lilac Inn. I do have the first and second printing dust jackets for Lilac Inn, but I can't seem to get my hands on that book.

By the way, I am now down to needing only one first printing Nancy Drew dust jacket, which is the 1930A-1 jacket for The Secret of the Old Clock. I am very close.

Also of note, I almost never find books that I greatly desire for my collection while checking local stores. The last time that I found a book locally that was high on my want list was in 2007, when I found the Ruth Grosby book, Mystery Across the Border, in dust jacket in an antique shop.

My book find of November 11 was quite remarkable indeed.


Jenn said...

Lucky girl :) Congrats! Here's hoping more turn up!


stratomiker said...

Good for you! What a nice story to hear. So often, we feel, 'oh why bother checking the store?' All the more reason to do it! You never know when a good find will be at hand.


Jennifer said...

You are so right! I make myself check these stores once every two to three weeks, because I never know when a good book might show up. I checked the other stores last week and found nothing. I hadn't checked this store in a couple of weeks, so I checked it. It is the one that is near where I work, so I can check it easily. The others require a special trip. Usually, I find nothing, but finds like this one are what keep me checking.

Usually, all I ever find are books to resell, for which I am content. If I can pick up a book or two to sell, then at least it pays for the gasoline, which as we know is quite expensive these days.

I never wrote about my find of a few weeks ago, since it was not a book for my collection. I randomly decided to check a few antique shops north of the city. I tend to find books there once every three to four trips, so most trips are wasted. I found the last Happy Hollisters book, Midnight Trolls, in dust jacket. That is a $50 to $75 book.

For those who read this blog who do not collect series books, the Crocodile Island book that I bought is valued at $10 to $25, depending upon condition. The Larkspur Lane and Twisted Candles books are valued at $5 to $10. The Crossword Cipher first printing is valued at around $100.

Andy said...

Congratulations on your Crossword Cipher find.
I remember how elated I was when I got my Crossword Cipher-with-Phantom-on-the-back-cover-and-no-inside-list book earlier this year. Like you, I also am holding on to my copy of the version that has the interior list as well.
I am confused by your valuation of Crossword Cipher, because in Farah's 12, he lists it at $30 in very good condition. I'd love to hear your thoughts on that, as I too believe Farah's price is too low.

Jennifer said...

There was an auction of the first printing of Crossword Cipher that I missed while it was active but have heard about from several other people. It was sometime in the last two years, and the book sold for slightly above $100. If I remember right, the book closed at around $105 to $110. That is pretty strong evidence that the book is worth much more than $30.

Andy said...

Jennifer, that's good to know. As we've discussed before, I think Farah's prices are low on several books and possibly high on several books (partly because of the down economy we're in right now).
I am thrilled that you got a 1st of Crossword Cipher! Did you pay standard used-book prices for it? If so, that was an incredible buy!

Jennifer said...

Crossword Cipher was $3.00. Since I like to get books at inexpensive prices, I do not name the specific stores in this blog. I'd hate for them to search their store name and location and then begin to charge high prices "just in case." Most books that show up are ordinary and should be priced low for the average customer.

Another comment I forgot to make is that the books I bought yesterday were dated 11/11. The other locations use month and day, and assuming that this one location is using the same method, the books were put out yesterday. There is an off chance that the date could have been for month and year, but that does not fit the dating method that the other stores use.

Most all of Farah's prices for the picture cover books are now at least slightly too low, while most of his prices for the dust-jacketed books are way too high in the current market. Sometimes I check his prices when putting a book up for sale that is a first PC, but I tend to use other factors to price the books.

Andy said...

Jennifer, any idea how many documented 1sts of Crossword Cipher there are, assuming that the true 1st doesn't have a list? And do you think this book is on par with revised-text PC of Brass-Bound Trunk in terms of scarcity?

Jennifer said...

While Crossword Cipher is very difficult to find, a number of people report having it. I used to think that it is the scarcest of the desirable picture cover books, but now I think a few others are more scarce. The first revised text Broken Locket (man with pipe 1965 text) may have around the same scarcity as Crossword Cipher.

The first printing of the third cover art of Old Album seems very hard to find as well, although I have no good feel for what the true scarcity of that book actually is.

Since none of us have been able to find Brass-Bound Trunk in the first printing of the revised text PC, Brass-Bound Trunk is definitely much more scarce, at least at this point in time. Farah only values that book at $15, and I am confident if one came up for sale and were advertised as the first revised text that it would sell for well above that amount. How high depends upon how badly people want it, but I am thinking that one might sell for $50 or a good bit higher.

Some people wouldn't bid high, because they take the Farah's Guide values as the absolute truth. I always bid based on how soon I think I can find another, and I suspect that others do the same, so that is why I feel that it would sell at a much higher amount at auction.

Maybe I'll find a Brass-Bound Trunk listing to Sky Phantom in a local store at some point in the future. I can hope. :)

Mike G said...

Jennifer, I remember the auction for Clue in the Crossword Cipher from about 1.5 years ago because I was one of the birders. It went ( not to me unfortunately) for over $100 because I bid a little over $100 myself.

Your Cipher book looks to be in great shape; maybe I need to revisit the idea of hitting used bookstores again, though here in Tampa Bay there are not very many. For now, I'm still not convinced that there is a first printing of Brass Bound Trunk listing to Sky Phantom. Have you queried david Farah?


Mike G said...

Bidder!! Not birder!


Jennifer said...

I have not asked him yet. I am assuming that the book exists, but I remain skeptical for reasons that should be apparent. I still find it odd that so many people are trying hard to find one with no luck.

If one exists, it could be a binding error. What if no others exist? That would mean that books that have the cookbook ad and list to Parchment on the order form are the actual first printing.

I find that independent book stores owned by individuals are still a complete waste of time. They price their books way too high and probably also have the books for sale on the internet at the same prices.

The only reason that I am having success is because a certain chain now has three stores in this area. They price their books low, so I can find some good stuff. Those are the only stores where I find anything.

I know that more than one chain exists and that it varies by part of country which one might be near. If you are lucky to have one of those chains near you, they are definitely worth checking periodically.

seproductions said...

Hi there! First of all, thanks so much for your fabulous website about series books. We have grown up collecting old books and it is very great to find such a great source of concise information!

The reason that I found your site was the section on the "Beverly Gray" series. We picked up copies of "Freshman", "Orient", and "Challenge" over the years, but never read them. Then one day, I decided to try. Liked the first one, so then I read the others two. Boy, was it confusing to read "Orient" without any of the other three about the world cruise! I was sold on the set and decided to get the whole series. Bought lots on eBay, found some around, etc. I soon had all of them except "World's Fair". Happily, I was able to prepay and get a copy from the first run from American Web Books.

I was just looking through some of your blog entries and was interested about the Burt Blue Ribbon editions. I looked at mine and found two. "Career" is red, and "Sophmore" is green.

Thanks so much for all your work. I really appreciate it. I love Beverly Gray (although, Lenora is my favorite!), and not many people know about the series!


Jennifer said...

I love Lenora. She is so much fun! I'm pretty sure a number of other people also like Lenora the best. She is such a vibrant, alive character.

Many people are familiar with Beverly Gray among series book collectors, but the general public knows nothing about her. I think if the series had been published originally with much more consistent cover art, it might have had a greater chance of becoming more popular. We are so lucky that the series ran for a total of 26 volumes including World's Fair.