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Does anyone know anything about books and their value?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I found a very old book called Longfellow's Poems - Copyright 1882 & 1883 - Publishing Company is Houghton, Mifflin and Company.

Here's a link to the exact book I have:

http://www.questia.com/PM.qst;jsessionid=DBGW6gpnppCpVk49j3VvjFcDGmgBTnH6DGFyNMCLY4vnDlFFd34y!189192028 2!613154832?a=o&d=96239069

Any librarian's on this site? I know, a long shot but I figured I'd throw it out there. Just wondering if this is a collectible of any sort?

Thanks in advance!

Teshia
post #2 of 17
Sounds like a great old book, Longfellow was pretty popular too. What I would do, is take it's condition into consideration, and for spits and giggles, run a search on EBAY...a lot of independent book dealers list on ebay, and you may be able to get a fair idea of what you're looking at. I have looked up the value of several things here. Just a thought!
post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
I LOVE ebay.. addicted to it. Well, not addicted to all their fees.. but that's another story. Hehe.

Yes, I was thinking of doing that but in the meantime, I've been doing tons of research and I just came up with a link that showed someone else selling it for only $4.00 - or so it looks that way! Gosh... I would have thought it a lot more valuable than that! I may hold on it to it - you never know... another 50 yrs or so, when it's 150 yrs old... I'm sure it may be worth something.

Thanks for the post!

www.biblio.com is a good site to see what other's are selling books for... that's how I found the one I have.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc-n-SamsMom
Sounds like a great old book, Longfellow was pretty popular too. What I would do, is take it's condition into consideration, and for spits and giggles, run a search on EBAY...a lot of independent book dealers list on ebay, and you may be able to get a fair idea of what you're looking at. I have looked up the value of several things here. Just a thought!
post #4 of 17
I always use Abebooks for stuff like this

Longfellow
post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hmmm.. now you have me scratching my head. I don't know which one I have?

It's a hardcover but w/out the jacket. It measures about maybe 5" H x 3-3 1/2" W.

It says on the inside:

"Christus,
Containing The Devine Tragedy, The Golden Legend, and the New England Tragedies.

Cabinet Edition. Uniform in type and binding with this edition of Longfellow's Poems, 16mo, $1.00; half calf, $2.00; morocco or tree calf, $3.00.

These two volumes, the Poems and Christus, together comprise Longfellow's Complete Poetical Works. "

On the next page says,
"The Poetical Works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
Boston and New York
Houghton, Mifflin and Company
The Riverside Press, Cambridge"

That's about all I know... do you think it is one of those referenced in the link you sent me? Hehe.. I am clueless to these thing.

Thank you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by RoseHawke
I always use Abebooks for stuff like this

Longfellow
post #6 of 17
Hard to say unless any of the descriptions in the search I ran on Abe match up with what you've just told me. If you're really interested, you might be able to take it to a rare book dealer and see if you can get more information. It's also possible that you could find somebody not quite as "official" at an antiques mall. There's usually somebody in the larger ones who specializes in books and they might be able to tell you.

Another thing ... I started out on eBay 6-7 years ago selling a few books, and used to hang out in a book-oriented member's forum they had. I have no idea if they still have these or not, but those people (at least at that time) were quite friendly and a HUGE font of information. Like anything else of course, you'd probably want to lurk for a while before jumping in to test the waters. They might be able to tell you better. And there may be other book seller type forums as well.

When I really want to get into something, that's always been my habit, to go searching for forums.

It's how I ended up here .
post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
You sound just like me.. I try to find any kind of forum, etc. That's how I found the biblio site, it was referred from a forum I found.

Thanks so much, you had some great ideas! Maybe this book is worth more than I thought?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RoseHawke
Hard to say unless any of the descriptions in the search I ran on Abe match up with what you've just told me. If you're really interested, you might be able to take it to a rare book dealer and see if you can get more information. It's also possible that you could find somebody not quite as "official" at an antiques mall. There's usually somebody in the larger ones who specializes in books and they might be able to tell you.

Another thing ... I started out on eBay 6-7 years ago selling a few books, and used to hang out in a book-oriented member's forum they had. I have no idea if they still have these or not, but those people (at least at that time) were quite friendly and a HUGE font of information. Like anything else of course, you'd probably want to lurk for a while before jumping in to test the waters. They might be able to tell you better. And there may be other book seller type forums as well.

When I really want to get into something, that's always been my habit, to go searching for forums.

It's how I ended up here .
post #8 of 17
I collect old books and I am sorry to say yours is probably not worth anything unless it is in new (mint) condition, and even then not much. There are thousands of old poetry books around - the 19th century was a time when peotry was much more popylar than today, and Longfellow was very well published. He is best known for writing 'Hiawatha'. I have a beautiful edition of Longfellow published in 1890, that is very small ( I have to read it with a magnifying glass) and it is bound in green leather and edged in gold, and even that is only worth maybe $80.
post #9 of 17
I will come back to this thread and try to help you out. I work for an antiquarian book dealer. Upon a brief perusal of your info though, I have to initially agree with jennyranson though.

You don't know how many calls a day I get to do a quick appraisal of 19th century book (and how crestfallen people appear when I tell them their copy is worth $4.00)

The fact is the more popular an author is and the older it is doesn't make it more valuable. Sadly, its quite the opposite. What that means is that 1) the book was mass produced and there are likely more copies available (ie, its not a scarce rarity) and 2) the older a book is, the more likely that there isn't anyone alive to appreciate its nostalgic or sentimental value and that is what collecting and collectors are all about...

Essentially, the value of a book relies on what the market reflects as who is spending the money and what they are spending the money on...A 19th century beautiful pictorial boards hardcover with hand tipped colour plates may be pretty but if no one wants it, then its essentially less valuable than a rare Nancy Drew mystery hardcover from the 1940's complete with dust jacket that would sell for 10 times the value, simply because someone had it as a child and now has the money to splurge on such a nostalgic item. (that and because children often took off dust jackets and threw them away thus making that book with a dust jacket rare)

See what I am saying? These are just vague examples above but essentially the value of a book depends on MANY variables..What edition it is..IF its a first or a rare 3rd printing where 3 lines of text were repeated 3 times (yes, it happens and some books with flaws are MORE rare than their 1st edition counterparts !)..It also depends on content, condition, who the illustrator was if there was one, who the publisher was, whether the book was a limited printing or if it was mass-produced, etc. etc. etc..

I use www.abebooks.com exclusively. It has knowledgable rare and secondhand booksellers from all over the world. I sell all day on Ebay and 4-5 other exclusively book programs. I would check there and enter all of the information you have into the search fields and see what you come up with...Or I will check back later and do it for you...

BTW, my most treasured book is an 18th century marbled hardback edition of a long ago published monthly in England. For being printed on onionskin paper and being so intrinsically beautiful, its still only worth $150! But my dad gave it to me so to me, it has more value than anything
post #10 of 17
Isn't TCS wonderful? You didn't even have to go to eBay, one of the eBay book folks came to you to help out !

Something else just occurred to me, since older books are printed on high rag content paper, they're more likely to survive the ravages of time than many of our modern books which may (unless "archival quality") be printed on high pulp content paper. Ergo, a moderately small print run of 150 years ago, may actually have more surviving copies, in better condition, than a more recent larger print run. And of course the more copies of something, the less rare, and the less value it has.
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much everyone! Hehe... I know NOTHING about books but this was a good lesson learned, thank you!

The book I have is really small as well.. and is green.. hmm, maybe we have the same one?

In any case, I think I'll hold on to it just in case.

Thanks again, I really appreciate all the feedback!
post #12 of 17
Enjoy it for what it is, like your cats. I love my books, because they hold so much informationa nd so much history - I buy them because they are by favourite authors, or with good illustrators, and I don't worry about the value. Some cost mne a lot, some a few pennies. But I value them all and I love to think of all the people who have read and enkoyed a book before me. I know I am only guarding them for future readers, too. By the way, my Longfellow is about 2 inches square - is yours that small? If so, maybe it is the same edition. All the pages are edged in gold, it is very pretty.
post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hehe.. my treasured books are my collection of D.Steel & Mary Higgins Clark.

I have been getting donations for a benefit yard sale I'll be having at the end of October and this book was in there.

This book measures approx. 3" H x 2 2-1/1" W. Just eye-balling it. The pages are a darker brown paper, don't know about the gold?

I've never come across something so old so I instantly thought, maybe it's worth way more than anyone realized. Hehe, I honesly would have returned it to the person if it would have been an enormous value. I've heard of that happening, someone sold (I think it was a piece of furniture) at a yard sale and the guys that bought it sold it for 100k! They went back and gave her a lot of that money, which I thought was very honest and nice to do.

In any case, I may bring it to a book collector and see what they think- if they're willing to give me a decent amount for it - it will go right towards the benefit sale.

Thanks again!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jennyranson
Enjoy it for what it is, like your cats. I love my books, because they hold so much informationa nd so much history - I buy them because they are by favourite authors, or with good illustrators, and I don't worry about the value. Some cost mne a lot, some a few pennies. But I value them all and I love to think of all the people who have read and enkoyed a book before me. I know I am only guarding them for future readers, too. By the way, my Longfellow is about 2 inches square - is yours that small? If so, maybe it is the same edition. All the pages are edged in gold, it is very pretty.
post #14 of 17
Several yrs ago when we bought the property next door to us the gentleman who lived there was a recluse from being mentally injured in WWII (the D-Day invasion). Anyhow when he passed away and we looked at the house-evidently he when to lots and lots of rummage/garage sales. And had lots of books. Unfortunately his brothers toted off most of the stuff-most likely to the landfill so I never got a chance to see what he really had.
However Neil & I found that the attic was packed full of stuff and more books. I must have hauled a couple hundred back to the house.
One of the older book that I kept but from reading above comments has minimal value is a book called The Complete Home by Mrs Julia McNair Wright published in 1879 by J.C. McCurdy & Co. Its about running a household and has these colored pictures w/ tissue paper on them. Its just so unsual to read about life then.
There is a annual used booksale that I have attended for yrs and is a good place to get the "older" classic books too!!
post #15 of 17
Gail,
Compare yours to these two (the lowest and the highest priced one I could find)

I love the domestic manuals!! Often they are authored by a "mrs" and didn't include the first name of the woman author..I came across one this morning from the early part of the century entitled "how to be a young husband".



The Complete Home: An Encyclopaedia of Domestic Life and Affairs
Wright, Julia McNair Bookseller: Reading Room Books
(Wabash, IN, U.S.A.) [Shipping Rates & Speeds] Price: US$ 37.50
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Book Description: Philadelphia: Bradley, Garretson & Co. 1884, Philadelphia, 1884. Hard Back. Book Condition: Fair/reading Copy. No Jacket. 8vo. Hard Back. Fair/reading Copy/No Jacket. 8vo. A volume of practical experiences popularly illustrated. Wonderfully Victorian and an interesting look into the Victorian household duties, making the modern homemaker appreciate some of their luxuries. The cover is very worn: edge wear includes fraying, exposed cardboard in places, considerable soiling, and the bottom half of the front cover is dislocated from the spine cover. The cover is rubbed. The spine is cocked. The front cover is barely attacked at the front hinge. The binding is very loose in places. The pages are browned and page edges are soiled. Reading copy. 588 pages including an index. Bookseller Inventory # 4912


The Complete Home: An Encyclopaedia of domestic Life and Affairs.
WRIGHT, JULIA McNAIR (MRS.). Bookseller: Messrs Berkelouw
(Berrima, NSW, Australia) [Shipping Rates & Speeds] Price: US$ 302.57
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Book Description: 1879. The Household, in its Foundation, Order, Economy, Beauty, Healthfulness, Emergencies, Methods, Children, Literature, Amusements, Religion, Friendships, Manners, Hospitality, Servants, Industry, Money, and History. . Philadelphia: J.C. McCurdy & co., (1879). Thick Roy.8vo. Or.dec.cl. Gilt. (II,584pp.). With litho. frontisp., and 4 full-page col. chromolitho. plates. A fine Victorian guide. Bookseller Inventory # 158446
post #16 of 17
Wow!!!
Not to bad for a book that was "free" Unfortunately my books condition is a little closer to the 1st price.

Thanks!!
post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 
Now I am becoming a lot more interested in learning about books!

Okay, here's a question..

What couple pointers would you give someone to identify a valuable book as opposed to the average run of the mill? Don't get me wrong, I love history (which is why I was so excited when I saw an 1882 copyright date) but it's nice to have an eye for something valuable.

I wish I could be like those people on the Antique Road Show. hehe

Thanks! I thought it was a bad idea to post what I did but it seems to be turning into a really good one! I love your story Gail!
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