Thursday, September 20, 2012

Nancy Drew Clue in the Diary Library Edition

The Nancy Drew library editions that I have named the "1940s-Style Library Binding" are the most difficult to find of the Nancy Drew library editions.  Fortunately, the rest of you do not seem to want them, so I have had little trouble winning auctions whenever one comes up for sale, which is not very often.  I have been fortunate this year, because I found one early this year and a second in August.  The one I just acquired is The Clue in the Diary

This book has a spine symbol just like all of the others.  The spine symbol always represents some important part of the mystery.  This book has a diary on the spine.

I always look to see who bound the book, if that information is present.  This book has endpapers upon which "College Bindery, College Place Washington" and "Better Bound Books" are printed in several locations in a rough pattern.  The last book of this style that I purchased came from Geo. A. Flohr Co. Library Binders in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Books that seem to be from the same "set" as to the style, like these that have the 1940s style binding, come from a variety of binderies around the country.  I have no idea where the binderies came up with the images used on the covers.  Did the binderies share the images with each other or did they have some kind of partnership with Grosset and Dunlap or someone else? 

Keep in mind that library bindings were not issued as sets, which is why I put the word in quotations in the above paragraph.  I used to be under that mistaken assumption.  Rather, the binderies rebound whichever random books were sent to them by libraries.   They had certain bindings that they used which made the different random books end up having the appearance of sets.  Just because I am building a "set" of this style of library binding does not mean that an actual "set" ever existed.  Even though I know of the existence of #15 Haunted Bridge does not mean that all of #1-15 exist.  I may never be able to find all of them.

Take the books that I call the "Cameo Binding."  I have scores of Nancy Drew books in this binding, and I have most titles in quite a few different colors.  In spite of the large quantities of books that I have acquired, I have yet to see even one example of #12 Hollow Oak.  Refer to this page to see how I have no image of that book and note how many I have of the others pictured on that page.   While I have built a "set" of the books, a complete set may not exist.


Jenn Fisher said...

I saw this particular one but though the opening was a bit high at around 49+. I suppose it doesn't come up for sale often though ;) I keep hoping one will get listed at a lower price.


Jennifer White said...

Yeah, I went ahead and bought even though it had a high starting bid. I still regret passing on Haunted Bridge around 10 years ago because someone had bid it up to $30. I probably could have had that book for $35. 10 years, and another still has not surfaced... Will it ever?

Mike G said...

I saw this book on eBay too. I don't collect this particular variation of Nancy Drew books, but when I saw it I thought, "I'll bet Jennifer will want this book!". I guess I was right.

On another topic, about 2 weeks ago, I happened across a lovely looking set of Beverly Gray books (A. L. Burt ) editions being sold individually with Buy-It-Now. I made the critical mistake of asking a question. (I wanted to see if there was much fading of the dust jacket spine.). The buyer emailed me back, not understanding the question so I emailed her back another essage, but UNFORTUNATELY for me, the owner emailed me that a "lady from Ooklahoma" had just bought them all with the buy-it-now option. Any chance that lady was you??? I still would love to see a photo of the books where you could see the condition of the dust jacket spines. Obviously, I shouldn't have delayed, but wanted to make sure that the books were definitely an upgrade before I purchased them. :-)


Jennifer White said...

I don't like to have regrets like I do over the Haunted Bridge book from 10 years ago, which is why I didn't want to risk not bidding on this book and waiting to see if the price would go down. What if someone else had bought it?

With one exception, I have seen each of the books of this library binding exactly once, which is each book that I have bought. The exception is Shadow Ranch for which I know that two examples exist.

"Lady from Oklahoma" does point to me, doesn't it? I am the person who bought the Beverly Gray books. I was very hesitant because the spines were not pictured. I almost asked the seller a question about the spines, but hit the back button to think some more.

The spine is the part of the jacket that is most likely to be faded or damaged, and for some reason, sellers often do not picture that one part of the jacket. Some sellers do it on purpose; the Beverly Gray seller does not fall into that group.

Anyway, I was quite concerned about the spines and probably thought on it for 15 minutes before I did the first Buy It Now. Wait, it might have been longer. I think I had several windows open on the books and went off and did something else for a while before coming back to think some more.

What I did was look at the left edge of all of the books. I couldn't see any fading and decided to take a gamble on them. Even then, I was taking a huge risk. You can't even trust sellers to answer the fading question right. This has nothing to do with these books, but I recall asking a seller if the spine had any fading at all, received the answer "no," bought the book, and found that the spine was partially faded.

So, remembering that I couldn't even be sure of getting an answer, I decided to take a big risk. The seller told me about his Adventure Girls books, but I decided to pass on them until I received the Beverly Gray books. There was no point in increasing my risk further.

The spines are in nice shape with the exception of Junior which has a faded spine. I am keeping all of the books except for that one. I have written a blog post about the books and have included a picture of the spines.