Thursday, July 28, 2011

Is this Nancy Drew Book Rare? Sleuthing at eBay #18

As a long-time collector, I feel the need to help educate those who are not as involved in knowing what exactly you are collecting and those new to collecting Nancy Drew books. There are a lot of book sellers out there who don't know what they have or don't understand what it takes to actually date a Nancy Drew book (by having a guide/etc.) and often go by a copyright date ( a red herring in the case of these books) or other misinformation they pick up. Seasoned booksellers however, generally do know what they have or they should know... ;-)

So I'm going to from time to time, highlight something that's stated to be "RARE" and is most definitely NOT Rare...And I'll tell you why it's not rare so you don't fall for that "RARE" trap in the future.

The basic definition of rare is something that is "seldom occurring or found." You know how they sometimes say a specialized lunar or solar eclipse is rare because it hasn't occurred in hundreds of years? So how can something that reappears on eBay frequently be so rare. To those that should know better: If it's so rare, why is it often being sold for less than $10.00? Or even $50.00? Wouldn't Sotheby's be a super duper place for it, if it's so...rare? ;-)

Bottom line in collecting Nancy Drew books? It boils down to common sense. If someone is shouting out to you that it's rare, but listing it for a few bucks and if you search for it you find a bunch more just like it or see a quite a few of the same or similar in a short period of time, then chances are 99.9% likely it's not so rare. As always, buyer beware. Do your homework before jumping in.

Book: The Lost Files of Nancy Drew

Why it's NOT Rare: The fact that this was published in 2007 and it was a mass-produced publishing should be explanatory enough. In fact you can often find remaindered copies in book stores like Half Price Books these days. Fun tidbit--I got to do a little consulting on this book as to the history section and went over it for them. I had hoped to work on the content of the pages as well, but the UK book packager that put it together didn't really ask for my help. I thought it turned out pretty good overall, but I think they should have used more of the internal art from the books and things along those lines.

Book: The Haunted Bridge--Picture cover, 3rd art cover.

Why it's NOT Rare: The auction showed a shot of the back cover--and it lists to Crocodile Island meaning it's not even the first printing of this text/cover. There's nothing rare about this at all. In fact an eBay search turns up nearly a dozen of those so-called rare book. The only picture cover book that might even come close to being called rare--and even then I hesitate to say that since I have seen it sold at eBay before so it's certainly scarce--would be the first printing of #44, The Clue in the Crossword Cipher. Even I don't own it--yet!

Book: Lot of 27 Yellow Spine Picture Covers

Why it's NOT Rare: The auction described this lot as having "rare copyright dates." Some of them do have 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s copyrights--but that's because those books still have the original text which isn't anything rare or unusual. They just hadn't been revised yet. Original texts with those copyrights are not considered rare in the picture cover format.

Book: The Secret of the Scarlet Hand

Why it's NOT Rare: This is most definitely not rare! It's a mass--produced modern paperback. It's claimed to be so rare in fact, that it's on sale for 3.99 down from the starting list price of 4.99!

Book: The Mystery at Lilac Inn

Why it's NOT Rare: Startling is the fact that the seller has this library discard listed at 99.00! Yes, 99.00! These library editions are most certainly not rare and were fairly mass produced in this style. I see them listed at eBay frequently. Nothing rare about it at all. The seller states that there are "hardly any surviving copies" in existence! Really? Hmmm....

Book: The Mystery of the Tolling Bell--1st Printing Book

Why it's NOT Rare: Of all the books I've featured in this Blog entry, you might wonder about this one--it's a first printing after all. It's listed at a fairly decent 89.99, well under Farah's Guide value. But it's not rare, I've seen them for sale fairly regularly at eBay. It's really not even scarce. Just because something is old or a first printing, does not mean it's rare or even scarce, so be sure to do your homework!


1 comment:

KSMADMAN (Junior) said...

Jenn---I agree, that some of these "rare" items are NOT that "rare" or by your definition explained, scarce. Back before e-Bay, I was having a horrible time gathering a complete set of Reader's Club/Cameo editions in jacket. I was able to complete a set in 12 months that I'd been working on for 12 years. I was eager to buy DJ versions of Dragon and Lilac Inn, and see multiples monthly. Hollow Oak and Red Gate Farm (RT) seem to be the most scarce of the wrap-around era books. The first printing of Velvet Mask didn't surface for a long time, and now there are three online (an early buy, as that title is a sub-collection). In experience, there seem to be far more post-war first printings of any ND than during the war, with dust jackets, still on the market.