Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The First Printing of Nancy Drew Lilac Inn

As readers of this blog know, I once wrote that the first printing book for The Mystery at Lilac Inn ought to be worth more than the first printing book for Old Clock, due to the scarcity.  Of course, my comments have caused sellers to value all early Lilac Inn books at huge prices, even though their books were not the first printing.  This has caused me endless frustration.

Before I continue, I want to make certain that people not familiar with Nancy Drew books understand that for a book to be the first printing of Lilac Inn, it must have certain post-text ads in a certain order.  It is not enough for the outside of the book to look the same as the one pictured in this post; the ads must be identical.  Those ads are "This Isn't All" followed by 9 Hardy Boys titles ending with Great Airport Mystery, 20 Outdoor Girls titles ending with Canoe Trip, and 10 Blythe Girls titles ending with Margy's Mysterious Visitor.  Any other ads or even the same ads in a different order make the book not the first printing.

In late 2011, a first printing Lilac Inn, detailed here, sold for $407.07.  That amount reinforced my belief of the value of this book.  I also recall another example from the last year which was quite trashed.  I'm not sure whether it found a buyer.

Recently, another first printing of Nancy Drew #4, The Mystery at Lilac Inn, came up for sale on eBay.  The book appeared to be quite worn or possibly trashed, depending upon one's perspective.

1930 First Edtion/First Printing~Nancy Drew #4 The Mystery At Lilac Inn/Blankeps

The seller has now deleted the other photos that displayed while the auction was live.  They showed that the book is a library discard and not in the best of shape.  I was not too enthused when I spotted this auction, since I needed a nicer book for my first printing dust jacket.  As the auction progressed, I continued to think about it, still indecisive as to whether I should mess with trying to win the auction.  Finally, I realized that I needed only one first printing book of Nancy Drew #1-56.  If I were to purchase this book, then I would be able to say that I have every single first printing book, even if my first printing dust jacket remains stuck with a later printing book.  Hence, I decided to bid.

I won the auction at $96.55.  While I did not regret buying the book, I had this feeling that I overpaid.  The book looked really bad in the auction photos.  I now have the book in my possession, and it looks better than it did in the auction.  Sometimes photos make flaws stand out much more than they do in person.  This is especially true for the front cover, as seen above.  All of those flaws are present, but they are not as noticeable in person.

The book does have a bit of wear, and the binding is weak.  However, I feel that the book is overall a decent copy.  Now that I have the book, I am seriously considering placing my first printing dust jacket on it.  I also feel that I got a bargain.  Compare this book to the one that sold for $407.07 (follow the link near the beginning of this post).  That book also looks a bit rough, even though I can't tell exactly how it compares to this book.  Even if that book is in better condition, my book at $96.55 is not bad.

Does this end my search for the first printing of Lilac Inn?  I wish I could say that it did, but I will continue my search.  Not only would I like a better condition book, but I also need another book to go with my second printing dust jacket.  Both the first and second printing dust jackets need the first printing book in order to be a perfect match.


Danika said...

Hi, can you help me with a valuation? I have a copy of The Hidden Staircase, which I think is a 1947-1951 issue. It has the blue cover with offset silhouette, without author name, black silhouette endpaper and plain frontispiece illustration. But the dust jacket has an ad on the back for the Connie Blair mystery series, with three photos and a description of The Clue in Blue. The spine of the dust jacket is white with the pale blue silhouette in the center. Can you tell me anything about this and what it's worth?

Jennifer said...

It could be anywhere from $10 to $30 depending upon how nice the jacket is. If the jacket is quite worn, then it is worth around $10. If the jacket is very nice, then $30 is more accurate.