Friday, March 27, 2009

Sleuthing at eBay #15: Where Are All The Vintage Books?

I've been searching eBay from time to time lately and the more I thought about it the more I realized as I've discussed here before just how bare the proverbial shelves are these days! Perhaps one doesn't notice it as much when looking at the mixed version of stuff on each search page, but I decided to do a search by title and not within the description to avoid sets or lots of more than one book. I found about 170 vintage books with dust jackets--not including a few book clubs or those common Applewood Books reprints.

One other trend I noticed, is that about 95% were being sold by resellers. Where's "mom and pop" selling out of their attic? Fellow Blogger Jennifer White has pondered this same question as well...

Here's a listing by title/keyword and for each cover art dust jacke:


1ADJ: 4
2ADJ: 7


1ADJ: 1
2ADJ: 7


1ADJ: 4
2ADJ: 6


1ADJ: 2
2ADJ: 1
3ADJ: 1


1ADJ: 1
2ADJ: 4


1ADJ: 3
2ADJ: 3


1ADJ: 3
2ADJ: 1


1ADJ: 2
2ADJ: 6


1ADJ: 2
2ADJ: 3


1ADJ: 5


1ADJ: 2
2ADJ: 2


1ADJ: 6
2ADJ: 0


1ADJ: 5


1ADJ: 4


1ADJ: 4


1ADJ: 3


1ADJ: 8


1ADJ: 4


1ADJ: 5


1ADJ: 4


1ADJ: 4


1ADJ: 4


1ADJ: 1


1ADJ: 3


1ADJ: 4


1ADJ: 6


1ADJ: 6


1ADJ: 2


1ADJ: 4


1ADJ: 4


1ADJ: 3


1ADJ: 2


1ADJ: 2


1ADJ: 0


DJ: 4


DJ: 1


DJ: 3


DJ: 2

It kind of reminds me of the old days of eBay when this few books of each title were being listed. But at the same time, the prices aren't overly high like they were back in the day. Of course, the auction world is cyclic--next week I might find double or even less. Scary thought!


Sunday, March 22, 2009

2009 Book Hunting for Nancy Drew #2

Welcome to this virtual Blog style book hunt! I recently hit an antique mall in Apache Junction, AZ which always has series books throughout the place--and they seem to have good turnover too and reasonable prices for the most part!

Patterns of the Past Antique Mall
300 W Apache Trl # 101
Apache Junction, AZ 85220
(480) 671-3566

I ended up finding some red-topped Nancy Drew picture covers which were part of that bookstore promo, a Cameo edition, a Mildred Wirt Boy Scout Explorers book and the last Connie Blair book though it was missing the dust jacket.

As you can see from some of the photos I took, they had quite a variety--including a shelf+ of Bobbsey Twins in dust jackets which I find are hard to even give away to buyers sometimes, they just generally with some exceptions don't command very high prices. The following stack was what I walked out with:

I enjoy searching for books in person, it's nice to see the condition and hold the book. The thrill of the hunt is exciting too!


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Nancy Drew Speaking Engagements & AZ Book Discussion Group

I will be speaking at the Greater Paradise Valley Reading Council on Nancy Drew history, collecting, and wit and wisdom on Wed. April 22nd at 4pm in Phoenix, AZ.

If anyone is interested in attending e-mail me: or check out their website for details!

Local Nancy Drew Sleuths members and collectors will be getting together on Sat. April 25 at the Barnes & Noble at Chandler Fashion Mall (Phoenix area) to start up a book discussion group! 1pm for those interested. Contact me via e-mail if you are!


2009 Book Hunting for Nancy Drew #1

I love book sales! Between getting there early, the nervous anticipation in waiting in line as to what will happen once the doors open and everyone makes a break for it, and the interesting items you find once you rush the place and try and grab what you can before the tables and shelves become mobbed!

I used to go to two sales a year when I lived in Texas: The Lubbock library sale each October and the Amarillo library sale each summer. At the Lubbock sale, if you were a member of the library, you got a preview day to attend early before the general public. It started around 9am and people would start getting in line about 6am or earlier. I would get there between 5:30 and 6:30. You bundled up and set out your chair in line sometimes staying in the car until more and more people started arriving. There were book dealers in line and even teachers or home schoolers. Collectors like me. There were two areas I targeted: the children's general area and then the collectible/rarer books section. I usually hit the children's section first and sent my husband or anyone else that was with me to the collectibles area. The object was not to look at each individual book closely but to grab everything that was recognizable and then go through it all later. If you didn't, it would be gone quickly! I used to find a nice well rounded amount of books in both sections. Never anything too vintage though. And sometimes I would find things for my collection, other times I would resell on eBay to support my collecting habit! The Amarillo sale was smaller and not as good, mostly library bound editions in the children's section the last two years I attended.

One of the interesting things about standing so early in line is listening to the stories of those in line who do this for a living. There are quite a few regulars to these sales who drive around the country hitting them. You can look for sales at I think that would be fun to do one year of just hitting a few major sales! These dealers always mentioned a sale out in Arizona which was the HUGEST sale they'd been to, the VNSA sale, each February. Over 600,000 books they boasted--and thousands of people attending. But you had to get there very early--some would go as early as midnight before the sale started. It always sounded intersting but a bit hectic too! One humorous story that was circulated involved two sellers who would get there very early. The fairgrounds in Phoenix is where the sale is held. They didn't open the gates to drive in, so people would line up in their cars outside for hours until the gates opened a couple hours before the sale started. One year these sellers fell asleep and the next thing they knew there was a barrage of honking, cars flying all round them and they quickly had to get it together and race inside. Once the gates opened the cars would race inside into the parking lot for spaces and then it was on! Like settling the Oklahahoma territory!

So once I moved out to Phoenix, I had to look up this sale. I went in 2006 with my mom and my husband. We got there about 4am, and were probably 30 to 40 cars back in line. Once they opened the gates, we drove in quickly and parked. As we were parking, I noticed a ton of people already standing in line and was crushed. I didn't realize that you could walk in and get in line! So we were probably 500-600 people back in line before we finally got in line and set up with chairs. I figured that I wouldn't find much. And the sale only lets in so many people to start with, so I was worried we might not even get in at first. With nervous anticipation the sale began and they let people in who were taking off in all directions. As we approached the front door, we barely made it inside before they cut off the group.

At this point there were thousands of people in line behind us still waiting! I took off and went to the children's area and began looking. Found some odds and ends, but then realized I had missed an area along the wall that had a lot of older chilren's series books--in dust jackets! But by the time I noticed it, it was mobbed and there wasn't much left. My mom and husband had gone to the rare books and sets sections and found a lot of Nancy Drew picture covers for me. All in all it wasn't a bad sale, but I learned some things for the next time I would go!

I didn't go for 2 more years. eBay prices had fallen, and I just wasn't as in to buying and selling on eBay. And you had to get up so early and freeze while waiting in line. But this year some friends wanted to go, so 5 of us got up early and made it down there about 3:30am. The sale started at 8am. To our surprise, the gates were open and so we could just drive in and park and there were not a ton of people there yet so we were probably 200 back in line. Apparently they started letting people drive in a year or two ago, so that was a plus! We set up chairs and had blankets. And it was COLD! I was freezing--In the 20s or low 30s for temps with a slight wind chill. We took turns going back to the car to warm up. I decided then and there, not doing this again! And I was totally sure about that...ha!

So once the sale opened, we stormed the place! I ran to the children's section with that table of old books in mind. But also in the back of my mind was the recent DUD of a LEAD law, what if there were no books I wanted!? The table that normally had the vintage books had other stuff. Crap I thought! So I darted among the tables and just found paperbacks and mostly hardbacks of other stuff. I finally saw a table with some vintage books but most had no dust jackets and I didn't see any Nancys. So I grabbed paperbacks and some other items that looked interesting and ran off to the rare area and sets where my mom and husband were. The rare area had little but the bonanza was in the sets area! There were tons of Nancy Drew picture covers, various editions, one in a dust jacket, other series too like Cherry Ames, Dana Girls, Trixie Belden, Hardy Boys, and Three Investigators. So I enjoyed that!

All in all, I found a few books to resell but also added to my own collection. There were some Scholastic Nancy Drew paperbacks from the mid-2000s that I was missing from my set and I'd been looking for the Grimm's Fairytales Nancy Drew Favorite Classic, and it was there! I also picked up some minty bright green APCL library editions of Nancy Drew which I like.

And are we going again? YEAH! Ha ha. We're just going to bundle up more and maybe take small tent next year to stay warmer. You think Phoenix is hot, but in February it's cold! Our friends found lots of good stuff too and my mom added a bunch of mystery books to her library, so it was a win-win all around.

If you're interested in attending this sale, visit the VNSA website. Next year's dates are Feb. 13 and 14th, 2010.


Friday, March 13, 2009

Sleuthing at eBay #14 Today's Listings & Commentary

More eBay commentary on what's up for auction every once in a while to help educate collectors. I'll highlight a few interesting finds just listed today and I have some comments as well!

The amount of vintage Nancy Drew books and collectibles has gone considerably down on eBay the last couple of years--especially lately. If we didn't have so many resellers, I'm not sure if we'd have much there! Ha. So, in weeding through the listings today (March 13) most of which are ending on March 20, there were a lot of modern books, flashlight pcs, and computer games plus movies.

I noted about a dozen matte yellow spine picture covers (YSPCs) listed individually and several lots of these either mixed with newer stuff or Hardy Boys books. There were surprisingly about 30 vintage blue and tweed books listed mostly individually today! So if you're looking for reading copies, like them without dust jackets or for neat decorating displays, check out the "newly listed" items! Books in dust jacket totaled about 18 with some duplicates of cover art on a few books. I didn't see any first printings or really early stuff. Where is it?! That's a mystery!


Item Number: 250389427149


(Ends: Mar. 18, '09) - If you are interested in a signed photo from the 1970s TV series, this is interesting--it was recently signed however and you can view a picture of Pamela Sue Martin as to how she's looking today.

Item Number: 130293629977

Description: Nancy Drew The Mystery of the Brass Bound Trunk Library

(Ends: Mar. 20, '09) - This book is a neat library bound edition for those of you who collect these editions.

Item Number: 140307627309


(Ends: Mar. 20, '09) - The 1934 Fortune magazine issue which features an article on Edward Stratemeyer and the Syndicate. Interesting read. Some myths/legends to story and some misinformation, but it's a very early Syndicate article!

Item Number: 330314314679

Description: 1977 Nancy Drew Lunch Box

(Ends: Mar. 20, '09) - For collectors of the 1970s Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys TV show memorabilia, this is one not to miss! A lunch box featuring Nancy Drew/Pamela Sue Martin's somewhat likeness. It does have wear and is missing the thermos so it shouldn't sell too high.

Item Number: 220377618853

Description: Nancy Drew Cookbook Clues to Good Cooking 1976 HC NICE

(Ends: Mar. 20, '09) - A vintage Nancy Drew Cookbook! These are fun.

Item Number: 370172730944


(Ends: Mar. 20, '09) - If you didn't get the neat bookmark shrink wrapped in book sets of the flashlight pcs sold in recent years, here's your chance!


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Rudy Nappi Nancy Drew Ghost of Blackwood Hall Painting Sells for $3250.00

Also ending today, was another Nancy Drew cover art painting! Two in one day made for a nervously excited Jenn! Especially since I was bidding on this one. I'd mentioned this painting in a previous Blog, at our discussion group and noted it in the Jan/Feb '09 issue of The Sleuth. Below is the video taken as the auction was unfolding live online--and also includes the sale of the Hardy Boys painting following this one, Skull Mountain.

The painting was sold for $3250.00 plus fees to end at a little over $3800.00. I was outbid at the last minute. Once again, perhaps a Sleuth member or a collector amongst us was the high bidder? We may never know and it might just remain a mystery!

My hope is that more of these Nancy Drew paintings for the classic series will begin to surface in the coming years! Imagine if the Tandy painting for The Secret of the Old Clock was ever uncovered! I'd imagine that one would go for big bucks.


Russell Tandy Shadow Ranch Painting Sells for $9500.00

The video below, is the live online auction viewing of Swann Auction Gallery's sale of the Russell H. Tandy Nancy Drew painting, The Secret at Shadow Ranch. You can view the auction and see how it sold! I was excited to see the painting come back up for sale!

Several years ago, the painting was being sold in NYC and several of us got together planning to purchase the painting as a group since it was being sold for $15,000.00 and that was a bit spendy! However, we were uncertain at the time due to some differences in the painting and the book's dust jacket art. Plus, we were unable to get provenance provided nor a back story of how the consignor came to have the painting. So it all fell through and shortly thereafter the consignor took the painting back and we didn't hear anything further until a couple of months ago when I was contacted by the auction gallery selling it.

The back story was that the consignor purchased it over 10 years ago from a man in her building who worked for Simon & Schuster.

Turns out, thanks to David Farah, who purchased the Tandy Hidden Staircase painting, as profiled in the September/October 2007 issue of The Sleuth, he discovered that his painting was rather light on some details/shading especially--and further discoveries with other Tandy paintings led to the realization that the Tandy paintings were heavily added to in the printing process--especially with the purples/blacks in the shading process. So this explains why the Shadow Ranch painting is a bit different from the printed version on the dust jacket.

The minimum bid was at $3000.00 to start this afternoon, and while I really wanted to bid, I knew it would go for much higher than my budget. It sold for $9500.00. To whom? That's a mystery! Hopefully it was one of the Sleuths or a collector amongst us.


Thursday, March 05, 2009

New Classic Nancy Drew & Hardy Boys Boxed Sets

Go Vintage! Check out the new boxed sets from Grosset & Dunlap for their classic collections! These will have the first 6 books in each. These will be out Sept. 3rd, 2009. They have that classic tweed look. Although the Nancy Drew tweed was blue and the Hardy Boys was a brown color, it looks like they've used a yellowish color for Nancy to go with the yellow spine books and then the blue look for the blue spine Hardys.

Here's descriptions from the publisher:

Nancy Drew Starter Set by Carolyn Keene:

The Nancy Drew Starter Set is the perfect gift for aspiring detectives, or longtime fans of the series! The first six books are packaged together in a collectible box set with an updated design. Titles included are #1 The Secret of the Old Clock, #2 The Hidden Staircase, #3 The Bungalow Mystery, #4 The Mystery at Lilac Inn, #5 The Secret of Shadow Ranch, and #6 The Secret of Red Gate Farm.

The Hardy Boys Starter Set by Franklin W. Dixon:

A special treat for Hardy Boys fans! The first six books in the classic mystery series are packaged together in a collectible box set featuring a newly redesigned slipcover. Titles included are #1 The Tower Treasure, #2 The House on the Cliff, #3 The Secret of the Old Mill, #4 The Missing Chums, #5 Hunting for Hidden Gold, and #6 The Shore Road Mystery.

Can't wait for these to come out. They are so much better than those black/yellow or black/blue sets with the flashlight!