Before giving you the best sources for finding antique book values, I thought I should give you some general guidelines about the values of antique books. First, just because a book is old doesn’t mean it is valuable. This is a very common misconception. People were always coming into our antique store wanting to sell us old books, thinking they had a fortune in that box. You have to remember that there were literally millions of books printed, even before 1900.
So, use some common sense when you are out shopping and come across some old books. , ask yourself “Is this a book that people will want to read?” Is it a book that you have heard of or by a known author? Those are what will determine the worth of a book. A book with a nice leather binding will have some value based just on the binding, because people love to decorate with leather books, even foreign language ones. These can sell for $15-$25 for clean leather bindings, sometimes a little more, solely because of the leather bindings.
Finally, most know that first editions are the most desirable. Serious collectors not only want the fist editions, but also the first printing of the first edition. If you want further information on how to identify first edition and first printing, you can look here. Later editions are not worth near the amount of first editions and first printings. Some sellers will misrepresent these, so do your homework.
Best Online Sources For Antique Book Values
The best online source for finding antique book values is www.abebooks.com. I have listed this as the best source because a book dealer in Dallas who makes a living selling old books, uses this site extensively. Here you will find thousands of booksellers selling their books. They even have signed books for sale here, so you can find books that are actually for sale. They have an international section with books from several other countries. Unfortunately they don’t show prices for books that were recently sold. I prefer knowing how much a book actually sold for rather than the asking price. A seller can list any price, but that doesn’t mean it will sell for that. You can find the same book priced at all different prices sometimes.
Be sure and check eBay, you can not only find what people are bidding for books, but (if you have an account) you can find what books have sold for recently. I think this will give you an idea of how little some old books bring. Since people have found how easy it is to sell books online, it is more difficult to find books at yard sales and estate sales. So many people can now become online book dealers.
Another site is www.bookfinder.com which states it has over 150 million books for sale. They also have a blog with some interesting information on buying and selling books. There many other sites, way too many to list here. Even the retail giant ww.amazon.com now has many thousands of old books for sale. Nearly anyone can now become an online book seller. This has brought down the prices of more common books because many more have now shown up for sale. This is true of many collectibles. Prices have come down as the popularity of the internet has grown. People realize they can now dig through their old things and sell them on eBay or other online sites.
Some Price Guides for Antique Book Values
The “Antique Trader Book Collector’s Price Guide” is the most up tp date price guide that I could find on Amazon. It was published in December,2009. There is a Kindle version of this also. Has sections on identifying first editions and also high value books that are still in circulation. A quick read through this section will help you know which books to be looking for when you are out hunting.
Although not a price guide, “The Home-Based Bookstore: Start Your Own Business Selling Used Books on Amazon” had a lot of positive reads and looks like it should be worth the investment if you wanted to try out becoming a book dealer. This is much easier than you might imagine. You can even get started with books around your home that you no longer want.
The other price guides on Amazon were over 10 years old and, in my humbled opinion would no longer be relevant. There are new books that have surprising high values, so don’t think only old books can be valuable. A rare first edition of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone recently brought $40,355 at auction. So it can definitely be profitable if have a general knowledge of antique book values.