Thursday, March 21, 2019

The 13th Known 1930A-1 Nancy Drew Old Clock Dust Jacket

The first printing of the first Nancy Drew book, The Secret of the Old Clock, is quite scarce, especially in dust jacket.  The first printing dust jacket lists just three Nancy Drew titles on the front flap.  It seldom comes up for sale.  The last one auctioned off on eBay was in the summer of 2014, nearly five years ago.

Several copies have sold in the last five years, but these have been copies that were previously known to us.  The first printing of Old Clock in dust jacket frequently sells to book dealers who are buying to resell, so the book often goes right back up for sale.

I have been thinking a lot about the 1930A-1 Old Clock dust jacket in the last year.  I reflected on how no new known copies had come up for sale since 2014 and wondered whether I should consider paying a higher price so that I could finally acquire one.  The dust jacket is not getting any easier to find.  A few copies are probably still in the wild unknown to us, but even the existence of just a few more copies has little effect on the scarcity and value.  Hundreds of people would love to own the first printing dust jacket, and fewer than 15 are known to exist.  Most people will never have one.

A first printing Old Clock book and dust jacket was recently listed on eBay in a fixed-price listing. 

Secret of the Old Clock Carolyn Keene a signed 1st Ed in DJ 1930A-1 Nancy Drew





The book was first listed at a fixed-price of $9,300 and is currently listed at $8,500.  The book was signed by Mildred Wirt Benson during her later years.  

I am not sure whether the above copy is one of the 12 known copies or whether it is the 13th known copy.  It could be one of the copies previously known to us, back up for sale.  (Note:  This copy was later confirmed to be one of the 12 known copies.)

I took a good look at the above listing and briefly considered whether it was worth purchasing.  I decided that I would never pay that much for a book that has a chipped dust jacket.  For me, the chipped dust jacket makes it quite undesirable unless the book were priced at a much lower amount.  Additionally, I am not that enamored with autographs.  I realize that sounds strange, but I can't help that I feel that way.

I kept an eye on the listing to see if someone else would purchase it.  So far, no one has.

I continue to advocate checking eBay every single day no matter what, because you never know what might show up.  I checked eBay in the late evening of February 23 and spotted an auction for the first printing of Old Clock with the first printing dust jacket.  It had been listed only around 10 minutes before.  The book had a starting bid of $24.99 and had been listed by a reputable bookseller who knew what it was.

1930 1st Printing NANCY DREW #1: THE SECRET OF THE OLD CLOCK by Carolyn Keene




This 1930A-1 Old Clock dust jacket is not one of the 12 known copies, so it is definitely at least the 13th known example.

I actually didn't get excited when I saw the auction.  I thought it was really interesting that a new one was up for sale, but I stayed quite calm and detached, unlike how I was years ago when one came up for sale.  I did place an initial low bid as I have always done on these first printing auctions.  I do it just to show that someone is interested, hoping that the seller will keep the auction open.  I did not contact the seller like I used to do.  In the past, I contacted sellers to tell them that they shouldn't close the auction early to private offers, since those people would offer less than the true value.  I felt confident that this seller was knowledgeable enough to let the auction run.

I placed a bid on eSnipe on that first evening, just like I always do when I plan to try to win an auction.  eSnipe is a service that bids on my behalf at the very end of eBay auctions.  I checked on the listing several times per day each day that week.  I waited for someone to let everyone know about the listing in one of the Facebook groups, but no one ever did.  I kept my fingers crossed that no one would advertise it.

The Hollywood dealer who buys to resell to wealthy clients finally bid on the fourth day.  Darn.  I was hoping that he wouldn't notice it.  He is very hard to beat in auctions, because he has very deep pockets.  Check out his many high-priced listings.  I felt that he would be willing to pay $5,000 or more for the book.  Did I want to bid that high?

I spent the last three days of the auction trying to reason out what the Hollywood dealer would be willing to pay and whether I wanted to try to beat him.  This was a dilemma.  I didn't want to get stuck paying some huge amount, but I didn't want to lose and regret not bidding higher.  Hmm.  

I edited my eSnipe bid several times, and I actually lowered my bid on the last day due to some concerns I had about the condition of the reverse side of the dust jacket.

The Hollywood dealer was outbid just before the auction closed.  I was so calm that I sat back in my chair and impassively watched the time click down in the final minute of the auction.  Usually, my heart would be pounding, and I would be bidding manually right at the very end just in case eSnipe failed.  I have always submitted manual bids in addition to the eSnipe bids for important auctions.  I didn't feel the need this time.  It's like I just knew that this would work out for the best and that I didn't need to be concerned.  I couldn't believe how calm I was.

And so I won the auction.  Can you believe that?  

The auction closed at $2,550 for a total cost of $2,553.99. 






The piece that is missing from the back panel of the dust jacket is stuck to the book, and I am confident that I can pull the part free that forms the hole.  The print is fine on the reverse side of the piece stuck to the jacket.  Right now, I'm not going to worry about it.

The price paid for this book is a good price.  The jacket and book do have flaws, but other copies that have sold for more also had flaws.  Some of the other copies have had more significant flaws.  One book that sold for above $7,000 was moldy.  The book typically sells for $4,000 or more and has sold for as high as $11,700.  Last year, one was listed for sale at a fixed-price of $16,000.  The book apparently sold, but I do not know if it sold for the full $16,000.

I expected this book to sell for at least $4,000 to $5,000.  I fully expected that I would be at least the second-highest bidder.  I expected the Hollywood dealer to be the highest or second-highest bidder, but neither was the case.

Some of you are probably thinking that I'm rich or have way too much spending money.  Not at all.  I sell books in order to afford books.  I sold an unusually high dollar amount in books during February.  This happened partly because I lowered eBay prices in order to move some books.  My cash flow in books from February actually covered the cost of this book.  That cash flow was not profit, but still, the money spent on this book had already spent in the past and covered the cost of this book.

My number one collecting goal for over 20 years has been to acquire all of the first 38 Nancy Drew books in first printing dust jackets.  This was the only one I needed.  I now have all of the first printing books and all of the first printing dust jackets.  A few could stand to be upgraded, but I have managed to acquire all of them.  It wasn't easy.

For more information about the scarcity and value of this book, please read these past posts about sales of the first printing Old Clock book and dust jacket.

Scarcity of Early First Printing Nancy Drew Books
Nancy Drew 1st Printing Auctions Part 2
Nancy Drew 1st Printing Auctions Part 3
The Ninth Nancy Drew 1930A-1 Old Clock Dust Jacket
More on the Tenth Nancy Drew 1930A-1 Old Clock DJ
More Early Nancy Drew First Printing Auctions Part 1
Noteworthy Nancy Drew First Printing Auctions

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