Thursday, July 16, 2015

Another Nancy Drew Lilac Inn First Printing DJ

Note:  If you are a seller trying to identify whether you have a valuable book, please read the comment in bold at the end of this post for more information.  Many sellers read these blog posts, which are written for advanced Nancy Drew collectors, completely misunderstand the content, and misidentify books that are not valuable.  If you have a 1930A-1 Lilac Inn book, you can identify it through the above link.  If you have a 1930A-1 Lilac Inn jacket, it must match the below jacket in every single detail on both the front and reverse sides with no differences whatsoever.  Anything different means it is not the same.

Second, this post is in no way critical of Farah's Guide, so please do not read meaning into this post that is not present.


A recent eBay auction featured Nancy Drew #4, The Mystery at Lilac Inn, with the 1930A-1 dust jacket.  The book sold for $4,302.22.


According to the seller, the post-text ads were Nancy Drew, followed by the Blythe Girls, and then Amy Bell Marlowe.  Those ads in that order make the book the 7th printing, 1931D-7.  I now know of four different first or second printing Lilac Inn dust jackets that have sold on eBay, and every single one of them was matched with the wrong later printing book.

The first three books from the following list sold on eBay in 2010, and the last one is the above book.

1930A-1 jacket paired with a 1931D-7 book
1930B-2 jacket paired with a 1930C-3 book
1930B-2 jacket paired with a 1935B-22 book
1930A-1 jacket paired with a 1931D-7 book

I own the first and third books in the list.  For the books that I purchased, the wear patterns on the books and jackets matched, which indicated that they had probably been paired together from the early 1930s.

I find it very strange that my first printing dust jacket was paired with the 7th printing book, just like with the book in the recent auction.  While books and jackets do sometimes show up mismatched, they are matched with a printing from Farah's Guide the vast majority of the time.  I'm not sure how often they match precisely as Farah has observed, but I'd guess that they match at least around 85% of the time.  For the four Lilac Inn first or second printing jacket sales of which I am aware, 0% were matched correctly.  This is very unusual.

Sometimes stores kept the jackets separate from the shelved books for sale, and this was one reason why books and jackets ended up mismatched.  Additionally, books and jackets were printed separately from each other, so the jackets from the same batch could have ended up on books from separate printings.

Most of the early and first printing Nancy Drew books from 1930 to 1932 have shown up fully matching what Farah has observed and noted in this guide.  It is only The Mystery at Lilac Inn where most copies showing up do not match the guide.  I don't have the answer for what the real reason is, but I find it fascinating.  Whatever the reason, I believe it is why the first printing book and jacket for the The Mystery at Lilac Inn are both so extremely scarce.

The Mystery at Lilac Inn first printing book appears to be the scarcest of all the first printing Nancy Drew books.  Farah's Guide identifies the first printing of The Clue in the Diary as extremely scarce and gives it a much higher value than the first printing book for The Mystery at Lilac Inn.  However, The Clue in the Diary shows up more often than The Mystery at Lilac Inn in the first printing.  The first printing book for The Secret of the Old Clock is also assigned a higher value, but it also shows up more often.

Collectors covet the 1930A-1 dust jacket for The Secret of the Old Clock more than any other dust jacket.  As incredibly scarce as the Old Clock jacket is, that jacket is slightly more common than the 1930A-1 dust jacket for The Mystery at Lilac Inn.  In my opinion, the first printing dust jacket for Lilac Inn is the toughest first printing Nancy Drew dust jacket to find, although its value will always trail behind Old Clock simply because collectors covet Old Clock so much.

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