Thursday, June 13, 2019

Nancy Drew Early First Printing Values and Avoiding Buyer Regret

Attention sellers:  This blog post was written for advanced collectors and will not contain the information you seek.  The first printing dust jackets for the first 10 Nancy Drew books are extremely scarce and seldom come up for sale.  Do not confuse these with later dust jackets.  A first printing dust jacket is the jacket printed for the very first printing of a book.  The second and subsequent printing jackets are different.  You must own Farah's Guide in order to tell.  You can also search this blog for old posts about the first printing dust jackets.  For some basic information, read this guide and this page.

The first printing Nancy Drew dust jackets are especially scarce for the first 10 Nancy Drew books.  Around 20 years ago, I decided that I wanted to own every single first printing Nancy Drew book with the matching first printing dust jacket.  It seemed to be an impossible quest.

So that I would never have buyer regret, I always purchased any available first printing book and jacket as it became available at a reasonable price.  A bad condition first printing dust jacket is better than not having a first printing dust jacket.  A few critical comments were made by some of you regarding a few of my purchases.  I didn't understand why those critical comments were made, since bad condition books and jackets could always be upgraded.

Some collectors want to buy each book only once and never have to upgrade.  If you have that kind of patience, then that's wonderful.  I don't.  I could never be sure when or if another example would surface and at a price I could pay.  The goal always was to secure a copy then worry about a better copy.  Bad condition copies could always be upgraded.  I was never locked into always having to keep the copies I purchased that were in bad shape.

I recall that the first copy of the 1933A-1 dust jacket for The Password to Larkspur Lane that I owned was badly water damaged.  So what?  I sold that book many, many years ago and have had a nice dust jacket for many years.  Someone owns that water-damaged jacket now, and I am sure that they treasure it.  There is something thrilling about purchasing a first printing book and jacket in rough condition for a reasonable price.  Those purchases can be much more satisfying than the expensive purchases in nice shape.

These days, few people are seeking the early first printing Nancy Drew books with dust jackets.  Actually, everyone would love to own them, but only a handful of collectors are willing to spend the serious cash necessary in order to acquire the jackets.  I have recently concluded that the handful of collectors who currently seek the early first printing jackets only want examples in very good or better condition.  This means that the dust jackets in great shape are still very expensive when they show up for sale.  The dust jackets in rough shape do not sell except at lower prices.  That's an interesting turn of events.

One of the bad condition books and dust jackets that I purchased was for the first printing of The Secret at Shadow Ranch.  The book had mildew all over it, and the jacket was pretty bad.  I swapped out the book for the one I already owned and placed the jacket on it.  I sold the mildewed book for a very low price.

Yeah, it was pretty bad.  But by purchasing it, I had one.  I purchased the above jacket in 2011.  I am not sure if one sold between 2011 and 2019.  The first printing dust jacket for The Secret at Shadow Ranch is quite scarce.

Note:  I mark first printings with stars on the spines.  The star is on the mylar cover, not on the jacket itself.

A seller recently listed a first printing book and jacket for The Secret at Shadow Ranch on eBay.  The jacket also isn't very nice, but overall, it is better than mine.  Knowing that most people are currently uninterested in paying very much for the early first printing dust jackets when not in excellent condition, I didn't want to pay the seller's asking price.  The seller kept relisting the book at a slightly lower price each time.

After a couple of weeks, I decided that I wanted the dust jacket.  I actually didn't care about the signed book one way or the other.  Signed books do nothing for me.  That probably doesn't make sense to most of you, but I simply do not care about signatures in books.  I have no emotional reaction to a signed book.  Also, I am quite aware of the story about how Mildred Wirt Benson was allegedly not paid much to sign a large quantity of books.  That taints the signature.

But I wanted that dust jacket.

I wondered what most people would be willing to pay.  I suspected that a price reduction to $500 would likely do it, because the signature would be quite desirable to many people.  I saw the book itself as no better than the book I already had.  However, I knew others would see the book differently due to the signature.

The dilemma is in deciding how long to wait when a seller continues to relist a book at a lower price each time.  I wanted to get the jacket at a lower price, but I needed to make the purchase before the price was low enough for others to decide to go for it.

When the listing priced at $825 ended, the seller relisted the book at $750.  That was a $75 price reduction and more than the previous reductions.  I pulled my jacket off the shelf.  I had forgotten that the back panel was missing a huge piece.  That made my decision.  I purchased the book at $750.  It likely would have gone lower, but I felt that any further reductions would have made it too risky for me to keep waiting.  As stated previously, I wish to avoid buyer regret.  I am still haunted by two certain books from around 15 years ago that got away.

The seller had written $1100 inside the book, which means that the book was originally priced at $1100 before it was ever listed on eBay.  I am satisfied with having paid $750, especially since I will have to pay 9.1% local sales tax on all of my eBay purchases beginning July 1.  By the way, the sales tax will also be applied to any postage charges.  After July 1, the book would have to be reduced significantly more in order to cancel out the sales tax.  $750 was the right price point for me.

Sometimes we think a price is too high when we first see an item listed.  Sometimes it really is way too high.  If the price is somewhat near what you are willing and able to pay—and the item is very scarce and not likely to show up again anytime soon—then you should purchase the item.  Don't wait and regret it.

1 comment:

Albert Alioto said...

This won't be what you intended, but it is the kind of thing I frequently get from your site. The back of the dust jacket advertises the Amy Bell Marlowe books. I had never heard of them. I looked them up and now I am interested. Thanks always for giving more than you intend.