Sunday, May 3, 2020

Nancy Drew #57-64 Hardcover Flashlight Edition

In 2005, Nancy Drew #57 through 64 were issued in the hardcover flashlight edition by Penguin under the Grosset and Dunlap imprint.  The books apparently went through at least two printings, but even so, they are quite scarce.

The existence of #57-64 in the Grosset and Dunlap edition has caused many collectors to believe that the original Nancy Drew series ended with #64.  This is not true at all.  As I explained in "Hidden Clues #4 Collecting the Entire Nancy Drew Series," collectors make a mistake in stopping at #64.  The Stratemeyer Syndicate was responsible for all books up through #78.  Furthermore, the original Nancy Drew series did not end until #175.  It is a mistake to stop arbitrarily at #64 solely because of the hardcover format.

I did not purchase the hardcover flashlight editions of #57-64 when they were new.  I tend not to purchase some books when new simply because they are new, meaning easy to find.  I have this odd quirk of waiting until long after some books go out of print before I finally decide that I am interested.  It's like I am unmotivated in getting books that are very easy to acquire.  There's no challenge in buying new books.

However, the main reason why I was uninterested in these books was because I already had multiple hardcover copies in the Wanderer edition with dust jacket and in various hardcover library bindings.  Having the books in hardcover by Grosset and Dunlap wasn't that alluring to me, since hardcover editions were already commonplace in my house.

Most all other collectors felt differently than I did about the hardcover editions of #57-64.  They didn't own all the library editions, so these books provided a great opportunity for acquiring #57-64 in a hardcover binding.  Since collectors desire these books, they are worth more than the average flashlight edition.  #1-56 are worth no more than the original cover price, but #57-64 are out of print and tend to be worth around $20 each depending upon condition.

It was around three years ago that I suddenly decided that I should build a set of all eight books.  By that time, the books were long out of print and scarce.  When the books show up for sale, they are usually offered for $20 or more apiece online in individual listings.  The books are sometimes sold in partial or complete sets for $100 to $200.

I determined that I would not pay more than the original cover price of $6.99 per book.  That might seem like I was limiting myself too much, but I've always had great luck in finding bargains with a little patience.  I knew that I could do it, but it would probably take a few years.  This was a very low priority, so I wasn't concerned with how quickly I could accomplish the task.

I watched for bulk lots of these books on eBay as I checked the new Nancy Drew listings each day.  Bulk lots are my source of fun variants and hidden treasures.  They are also the means to get really good books inexpensively.  I love bulk lots.

I used bulk lots to begin building my set of #57-64 in the hardcover flashlight edition.  Over the last few years, I have purchased a number of small bulk lots of these books at inexpensive prices, within the cost of $6.99 per book.  I ended up with duplicates, which I sold.  #57 was oddly elusive in the small bulk lots that I was able to grab before others did.  #57 either came up for sale at a higher price than I wanted to pay or in bulk lots that others got to first.  I just could not lay hands on a #57, but I knew that I would eventually.

It was in April that I saw a bulk lot of all eight books on eBay at a very cheap Buy It Now price.  The lot had just been listed, and I got to it first.  Finally, I had acquired a copy of #57.

The books arrived, and I sorted through them, deciding which to keep and which to sell.  It gets really confusing, and I have to use sticky notes with these labels written on them:  new - sell, new - keep, old - sell, and old - keep.  For this latest acquisition, I used all four labels on various books.

This photo shows the books that I already had.

I once had several books with partially faded spines that all came from one of the earlier bulk lots that I purchased.  I had upgraded all of them except for #58.

This photo shows the books from the recent purchase.

As I compared my old and new books, I discovered that some books are the first printing and others are the second printing.  I decided to go with the better condition book, regardless of printing.  Even without caring about the printing, I decided to keep both copies of two titles, #61 and #64.

I mentioned that I love bulk lots in part because they are my source of fun variants.  The main variants that I find in bulk lots are books that have covers with a different tint.  It is very hard to spot such books in online listings, because of differences in monitors and mobile screens.  Even when I photograph books for my own listings, what I see on my screen is sometimes not tinted just like the actual book. 

A prospective buyer also never knows when a seller might have adjusted the color or contrast in a photo.  This makes it impossible to purchase tint variants online just by looking at photos.  Tints variants show up with some frequency in bulk lots, always unnoticed in the online photos but readily apparent once the books arrive.

#61 The Swami's Ring is seen below in the first printing followed by the second printing.  The first printing is thicker, and the cover art is darker.

#64 Captive Witness is the one that really fascinates me.  The first printing is shown first followed by the second printing.  The first printing is also thicker and darker in tint.

I am fascinated because I am reminded of another Captive Witness tint variation that I have from the original paperback edition.

The book seen above on the left is the first printing, and the one on the right is the fourth printing.  Notice that the dresses are different shades of red and that the covers are different shades of gray.  It's an odd coincidence to have two books from the 1980s and two much later books from 2005 from different publishers have a similar difference in tint in the red dress.  There is no connection whatsoever; this is merely a random but fun coincidence.

Most collectors scorn the flashlight edition Nancy Drew books, but even the flashlight editions have interesting variants.  Another variant which may be of interest to collectors is the textured flashlight edition.


Evelyn said...

Thanks for this post -- I found it very informative! I'm still not confident that I can identify the textured editions (especially in online pictures), but I think I have a better idea now. And it's very interesting that the higher number books are so much rarer.

I'm actually working on a collection of the flashlight editions. These are the first Nancy Drew books that I read as a young girl (I was born in the 1980s), so I guess they're somewhat nostalgic for me, even if they aren't the "prettiest" editions, so to speak. That's what is so great about collecting, though -- you can collect what you like, and it doesn't really matter what other people think! Well, I guess I have to explain to my husband why we need another bookshelf. :-)

squeezewax said...

A flashlight edition I bought last summer of Danger On Vampire Trail was more light weight and printed on thinner paper than the flashlight books I bought throughout the 2000s. It was probably the first flashlight book I bought in ten years, and I felt slightly disappointed because it seemed like a drop in quality.

likewow said...

I had a friend with a Sam's Club membership who took me to the store to buy a sealed pack of these that came with a bookmark! Some of the books in the packs were actually not the new books, so I had to buy two packs to get all the new ones. Sam's Club also had the new Hardy Boys in packs.