kat-fine wrote:

I love old books. I have an addiction to wandering through tiny bookstores in out of the way towns. Recently I picked up a book of short stories by Poe. It looks rather old and I'm sure it wouldn't be worth much but I'd like to see just how old it is. I have no idea how to go about doing this and there's no copyright page. It was printed by the Knickerbocker Press, at least I think so. It's the only name I can find anywhere on the book. If you have any ideas I'd love to hear them.

 

B&N Responds:

It sounds like you found a single volume of the 10 volume Knickerbocker Press Edition of the Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe. This set was originally published in 1902 with a critical introduction by Charles F. Richardson and illustrations by Frederick Simpson Coburn. Additionally, the Knickerbocker Press published various degrees of Collector's Sets based on print run size, paper quality, and if they were hand numbered and signed by the publisher. These Collector Sets were called the Arnheim, Eldorado, and Tamerlane Editions.

 

Single volumes of this storied publication fetch anywhere from $15 to $50. The Complete Works intact are worth quite a bit more, as illustrated by these current market prices:

 

$3960 for the Arnheim Edition.

 

$7000 for the Eldorado Edition

 

$19500 for the Tamerlane Edition

 

Wondering what one of your books is worth? Feel free to PM me through My Profile Page.

Comments
by Moderator becke_davis on ‎05-07-2009 11:05 AM

Many people wonder about the value of their old books -- I, for instance, have a really nice edition of Robert Louis Stevenson's A Child's Garden of Verses.  It's a first edition, but not a first printing, so not all that valuable.

 

I was stunned to find out that if I have anything valuable hidden in my overflowing bookshelves, it's more likely to be a hardcover first edition of a mystery, possibly as recent as the 80s or 90s.

 

And what the hell was I thinking when I loaned out our British copy of the first Harry Potter, which may or may not have been a first edition, because (no surprise here) the person I lent it to lent it to someone else, and so on, and it's never been seen again. 

by on ‎05-07-2009 02:47 PM
Do you mean the green Scribner Edition, Becke? If so, I don't believe printing numbers were noted. You should be able to tell by the year it was printed. I think 1897 was the first year the Illustrated American Edition appeared.
by Moderator becke_davis on ‎05-07-2009 11:40 PM

Okay, I had to go check.  The second edition I have is of A.A. Milne's Now We Are Six, (British), 1927.

 

The edition I have of A Child's Garden of Verses has an incomprehensible roman number, but I've found it online and apparently it was published in 1899.  It's an Old World Edition by Thomas B. Moser publishing in Portland, Maine.

 

I have a first edition of Uncle Remus published by Thomas Nelson and Sons in 1907, an 1870 edition of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (not in good shape,  a not-great 1890 edition of Jules Verne's Around the Moon, andmany more.  They're old, they're fun, but they aren't worth a whole lot. 

by on ‎05-07-2009 11:57 PM

They must be worth something to you, Becke, or you wouldn't still be holding on to them.  Right?

by Moderator becke_davis on ‎05-08-2009 10:51 AM
That's it, Kathy.  If I were rich, I might collect the real thing, but I bought a lot of these when I lived in England and was downright poor.  My husband and I couldn't afford to party, so we spent our weekends taking the bus or train to towns we hadn't been to (we couldn't even afford a car for our first three years there), and our favorite thing to do was go treasure hunting in junk shops (if the word "antique" was there, we couldn't afford it).  We did find some real treasures - my 1805 needlepoint map of Great Britain is one -- but the books we bought were just old and interesting.  If they were pristine, they might be worth something.  But I kind of like the fact that some kid 100 years ago colored in all of the Tenniel illustrations in my "Alice."
by on ‎05-08-2009 11:55 AM
Becke, I think there are precious, and there are precious, books.  The ones you can't put a price on, those are the ones that mean the most to you.  I don't think I would be able to "collect" books, just for the sake of collecting.  I have a few old books, and it would be fun to see if they might be worth something, monetarily, but would I be willing to sell one?....Would knowing it's being worth a fortune, compromise your feelings for that book?  I don't know.
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