Saturday, October 24, 2020

An Auction for a Nancy Drew 1940s Style Library Binding

A copy of Nancy Drew #2, The Hidden Staircase, in the 1940s style library binding was auctioned on eBay.  It is quite fortunate for the seller that they decided on an auction, since two people bid very aggressively on the auction.


I did not need this title since I do already own it.  My page on this library edition does not show this title, because I no longer add images to my cover art galleries.  I have lost interest because of people who have taken my images and put them on their own sites with no source attribution.  Also, most people seem to be more interested in asking questions on Facebook than in using Internet search to find series book websites.  Why should I bother?

So fortunately, I didn't need this book.  I consider this particular binding style to be the scarcest of the Nancy Drew library bindings.  This binding is so scarce that it could be considered rare, and that's a word I typically never use for anything.

Consider that there are fewer known copies of each title in this library binding set than there are known copies of The Secret of the Old Clock with the 1930A-1 dust jacket.  In fact, there are only slightly more known copies of all titles combined of this library binding than there are of known 1930A-1 Old Clock dust jackets.  At present, we know of 13 surviving Old Clock 1930A-1 dust jackets.

Known copies of the 1940s style library binding:

 #1 one (mine)
 #2 three (mine, another one, and the one just auctioned)
 #3 one (mine)
 #5 two (mine and one that I sold years ago)
 #6 one (mine)
 #7 one (mine)
 #8 one (mine)
 #9 one (owned by someone else)
#10 two (both owned by someone else)
#11 one (mine)
#13 one (owned by someone else)
#15 two (one that sold on eBay and another owned by someone else)
#16 two (both owned by someone else)

That's not very many known copies.  Describing these books as rare is justified.

While I know of three copies of #2, that doesn't make it any easier to find than the rest of the books.  There just aren't enough of these books out there for anyone to find.  

The question is whether the book is worth the final price of $234.50 plus $3.45 shipping (with sales tax possibly added to the total).  Rare items are always worth whatever someone is willing to pay.  So yes, paying over $200 is worth it.  

A rule of thumb used many years ago was that the actual value of an item auctioned on eBay is what the third highest bidder was willing to pay.  The third highest bidder for this book was willing to pay $77.00.  I feel like $75 to $100 is probably a fair price to put on these books if using the fixed-price format, so $77.00 is in line with that. 

However, I do not feel that the winning bidder paid too much.  When two people want a book badly, they will have to compete for it.  That's what happened here.  If I had needed the book, I would have had to have joined the fray as well.  With the competitive bidding now occurring on Nancy Drew library editions, I would have had to have to outbid anyone else who wanted the book.  That's just how it is.  Sometimes the winning bidder has to pay a large amount in order to acquire the book.

As long as the winning bidder can afford the closing price, then it is always worth paying that price to win the auction.  It is far better to pay a higher price than what one might prefer than to regret not bidding high enough.  I still regret not bidding higher on the copy of #15 in this library binding that sold around 10 to 15 years ago on eBay.  Another one has not come up for sale.

I do recommend that library binding enthusiasts consider eSnipe.  If both of the two highest bidders had used eSnipe and held their bids until the final 10 seconds, then the book almost certainly would have closed a good bit lower.  I have used eSnipe since 2001.  While I cannot determine exactly what I have saved, I am certain that I have saved a large amount of money.  

There are also other reasons why waiting until the end of the auction is best, especially when one has become well known among other collectors.  The below passage is an excerpt from an old post in this blog.

Many of us have had bad experiences when bidding early.  I used to bid my maximum early in cases when I was unable to be home to snipe, before I began using eSnipe.  One time a knowledgeable collector spent an hour picking at my bid and finally gave up at just under my maximum.  I would have saved a lot on that book by not bidding until the end.  I never understood why he spent an hour bidding on the auction.

Back years ago when IDs were not hidden and before I sniped, I had a stalker who would bid on items I had found.  That person would "grudge bid" by bidding an outrageous amount just to make me pay a high price for the item.  I got tired of it and decided to bid lower than usual on purpose to catch him at it.  He won the auction.  I received a second chance offer from the seller, since apparently my stalker was unwilling to pay what he had bid.  I refused the second chance offer, even though the price was within what I was willing to pay.

For those reasons and others, I always bid my maximum at the very end of an auction.  

While I cannot prove that I have saved money by sniping, I am absolutely certain that I have.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

The Dana Girls Guide

We have been waiting for the Dana Girls Guide for around 20 years.  Finally, it will be available in early November.  Please visit SynSine Press for ordering information.  

If you think you will ever want to have a guide to the Dana Girls series, then you need to go ahead and purchase the guide.  The guide will most likely not remain in print.  If you miss this opportunity, then you will have trouble ever finding it in the secondhand market.  Past SynSine Press publications like A Guide to Judy Bolton Country are desired by many who never had the chance to order when available, and those publications almost never come up for sale.  When they do, they are usually expensive.  Don't miss this opportunity.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Series Collector Obituaries

We have lost several series book collectors this year.

Collector Tim Sampson passed away back in the spring.  He was active on Facebook.  He collected many very obscure series and often shared photos of them on Facebook.  Below are a couple of pictures he shared of some of his books.



We lost Joe Slavin in May from Covid-19.  Joe was a well known collector of series books.  You can read Joe's obituary here.

In September, we lost Carolyn Stewart Dyer, who organized the first Nancy Drew conference in 1993.  Read Carolyn's obituary here.

A shocking recent death was that of Bob Williams this month.  Bob passed away from a heart attack.  Bob was actively buying and selling books and had made quite a few recent posts on Facebook about some outstanding series book finds.  Read about Bob's life here and here.

Below is a screen capture of Bob's Etsy shop from right about when he passed away.


I am saddened by these losses.  

Saturday, October 17, 2020

A Group of Books Purchased Locally

In my September 6th post about book hunting, I explained how I hunt for books these days. 

For a number of years now, I have done only targeted book hunting.  I only go to places where I often make good finds.  That way, I'm not wasting much energy.  My pattern prior to March was to check those select places around twice per month.  During this pandemic, I will check those places around once every four to eight weeks.

That was six weeks ago, and I finally made my next visit to just a few select locations where I am more likely to find books.

I purchased some Three Investigators, Nancy Drew, and Trixie Belden books.


The Three Investigators book was priced lower than it should have been.  The Ghost of Blackwood Hall is the first picture cover printing.  It was priced about what I am usually willing to pay, which means not cheap but not too high for me to be able to sell it.  

I purchased the square Trixie Belden paperbacks just to rescue them from the store.  I have mentioned in previous posts that paperback books are almost always priced at $2.00 and up here in Oklahoma.  I continue to be astonished that people can actually purchase books nowadays for as low as $0.10.  Around here, those days are long gone.  The Trixie Belden paperbacks were $2.00 or higher.  I truly was just rescuing them, since I find that buyers prefer the oval Trixie Belden paperbacks.

I found three Dean Trixie Belden hardcover books from the UK.  Those don't show up in the United States very often, so that was a decent find.  The books were not cheap, but they were worth purchasing.

I also purchased some vintage teen books from the 1990s.


The books had been in the store for a number of months.  I posted a picture of the books as seen in the store in September in the Vintage Teen Books group.  There was enough enthusiasm from members that I realized that I should rescue the books.  Some of the books were $2.00 and others were a bit higher.  I don't think I will be keeping them, so the price was a bit steep to me, which is why I hadn't already purchased them.  However, the low price of the Three Investigators book balanced out the cost.

I still am not planning to sell any books online before May 2021.  The books will be shelved, and they will be waiting for the day when I finally open my stores again.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

A Trio of Nancy Drew Books Signed by Harriet Adams

I recently looked at a bulk lot of Nancy Drew books on eBay, only because the title mentioned that two books were signed by Harriet Adams.  The below photo was taken from the listing.


I didn't need the books, but the idea of two books being signed by Adams was interesting.  The price was low enough that the books were worth purchasing, especially if two were signed.  I also enjoy purchasing bulk lots, because they are my source of tint variants, which cannot easily be found by viewing online photos.  Online photos tend to distort any tint variance that is present.

The books arrived yesterday.  I started looking inside each book, searching for the signatures.  I expected the signatures to be on the inside front cover, which was Harriet's usual location.  I finally found a signed book, but the signature was on the title page.  I then started over and looked again at the books I had already checked.  I found a signature in one of those.  

I didn't stop there, since I couldn't be certain whether just two books were signed.  I continued through the set and found a third book.  I then checked all books again (and some for the third time), but I didn't find any additional signatures.  So I was sure that I had found all of them.

These are the signed books.  Remember that you can enlarge any photo by selecting it.






When I looked for the signatures, I also checked the back cover lists and set aside any books that looked interesting for any reason.  I found three such books.




The Mystery of the Brass Bound Trunk interested me because of the nice condition and how clean the cover looks.  The book has no soiling, and the sky is very light.  The book turned out to be a tint variant, seen third in the below photo along with two books from my collection.  I will be keeping it.


The Ghost of Blackwood Hall is in nice shape.  It is not the first revised text printing, but it is in nicer shape than my first revised text book.  It is seen below to the right of my first revised text book.  I will be keeping it.


The Secret of the Wooden Lady looked to be a tint variant, and it is, seen third in the below photo.  I'm sure that I have seen other copies tinted as dark, but this one is from 1971, earlier than others.


I will be keeping it as well.