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.

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