Saturday, December 29, 2012

Values for Tweed Nancy Drew Books

Note: This post does not in any way criticize Farah's Guide. Prices have changed since the 12th edition of Farah's Guide was published, and this post covers that topic.

Nearly all Nancy Drew books with dust jackets have fallen in value during the last four years.  For most books, the Farah's Guide values are greatly inflated from what the books now actually bring.  Here, I want to focus on the Nancy Drew tweed books from 1951 to 1961.

I chose these books since I have had quite a few pass through my hands in the last few years.  I have a very good idea of the current value of the tweed books, both with and without jackets.

Farah values the first printing tweed books and jackets, #29-38, at around $100 and up for books and jackets in excellent condition.  In the current market, most first printings with dust jackets from 1951 to 1961 are worth roughly $50 each in excellent condition.   If the jackets have flaws, then the first printing books usually sell for well under $50 and sometimes for as little as $10 to $20.

For readers not well-versed in the specifics of collecting Nancy Drew books, first printing dust jackets usually have a list of Nancy Drew books in which the very last title listed is the same as the title of the book.  For instance, the first printing of The Ringmaster's Secret has a list ending in The Ringmaster's Secret on the front flap of the dust jacket.  This is not the only point; the other lists on the jacket and inside the book matter, and sometimes price codes matter as well.  The Ringmaster's Secret actually has two printings that end with The Ringmaster's Secret on the front flap, which means that a copy of The Ringmaster's Secret that lists to The Ringmaster's Secret is not necessarily the first printing.

Two titles, The Mystery at Lilac Inn and The Message in the Hollow Oak, have scarce wraparound dust jackets which are pictured below.

The Mystery at Lilac Inn went through two printings with this dust jacket art.  The Message in the Hollow Oak went through one printing with this dust jacket art.  Both of these dust jackets are quite desirable since the picture cover books that came immediately after eliminated the spine portion of the art.  Farah values this Lilac Inn dust jacket at $250 and this Hollow Oak dust jacket at $180.

While both jackets are hard to find, Lilac Inn shows up much more often than Hollow Oak.  Lilac Inn went through two printings, so it should show up twice as often.  Since Lilac Inn shows up more often, it is worth less than Hollow Oak.  I have never understood why Farah has always valued Lilac Inn higher since it is much more common.  Perhaps 20 years ago, Lilac Inn came up for sale less often and seemed to be much more scarce.  If so, this is no longer true.

In the current market, the Lilac Inn book with the above dust jacket sells for $75 to $100 in excellent condition.  I have seen far fewer copies of Hollow Oak with the above dust jacket sold in the last few years, so it is harder to determine.  My reasoning is that if Lilac Inn is worth $75 to $100, then Hollow Oak should be worth $100 to $125 and possibly as much as $150. 

Farah values all bare books for #1-38, printed in the tweed format from 1951 through 1961, at $6 each.  He values the dust jackets for #1-38 from this time period at $25 to $40 depending upon the title and year printed. The $25 to $40 dust jacket value in Farah's Guide is for dust jackets that are not first printings and not special printings of any type.

Many sellers continue to price the tweed books with dust jackets at $30 to $50 each, even when the jackets have flaws.  Occasionally, the books do sell, but not typically.  They are overpriced.

My range is around $20 to $30 for tweed books with dust jackets if the jackets are in nice shape.  If the jackets have chipping, then I go for $10 to $15.  And the books with chipped dust jackets do not sell fast, which means that they are not underpriced.  If anything, my $10 to $15 tweed books with chipped dust jackets are overpriced.

In fact, I have concluded that people who desire the tweed books would rather have a bare book without a jacket than a book with a chipped dust jacket.  This is why the chipped jackets are hard to sell.

Farah's value of $6 for all bare tweed books from 1951 through 1961 in excellent condition is too low.  While the tweed books with jackets have fallen in value, the tweed books without jackets have risen in value. 

I price all bare tweed books at around $10 if in very nice shape.  My worn tweed books are priced at around $5 to $6.

Over a year ago, I had a tweed Dana Girls book with a jacket that was completely missing the spine.  The jacket looked awful in a mylar cover, since the spine area only showed the white paper from the mylar cover.  The jacket had no value, and I priced the book at around $6, hoping someone would take the book as a reading copy.  I could have printed a copy of another dust jacket and placed underneath to make the spine look better, but I decided not to take the time for such a low value book.  Even though the book was priced low, the jacket kept it from selling.

I removed the jacket from the book and placed the book back up for sale at the same price.  It sold fast.  This proved my point that people would rather have a bare book than a book with a flawed dust jacket.

Since you no doubt will wonder what I did with the jacket, I sold it with two other jackets that I removed from other books.  If you look at all three jackets and think about how they would have displayed in mylar covers, you can see that they had significant flaws that would have made selling the books difficult.  The books were much easier to sell without the jackets.  In some cases, I find it better to let someone who wants worn jackets have the jackets, while I sell the books without the jackets.

Tweed Nancy Drew books with jackets have fallen sharply in value because the supply now far exceeds the demand.  During the 1990s, far more people were buying Nancy Drew books for their collections, so the values were always high.  Now, more books are available than people who want them, so the books are much harder to sell.

1 comment:

Paula said...

Thanks Jennifer - nice article and great information! You've mentioned it before, and it is odd how the tweed books sell quicker without the dust jackets.