Looking for info on old books

lots2doMarch 13, 2007


I am a regular poster to the quilting forum but need some help and hope to find it here.

My Mom passed away in December and left behind a house full of things. She had a lot of old books. We want to try to find out if some are worth something and then find someone wants them. (We do not want to sell them ourselves over Ebay or anything. We are looking for a middleman, I guess). What is the best way to go about this? Is it better to contact a reputable bookseller or go through an auction house? This has become one of my jobs and I want to do it the right way.

Thank you for your help,


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I would start by seperating out the books into piles. Do you have cookbooks, fiction, non-fiction? Look at condition -- are covers coming off, do you have dustcovers (keep these as preistine as you can), did the grandchildren color on the pages? Book collectors are incredibly picky about condition.

Then start looking at value -- go to Abebooks.com -- and look at values. Do you have anything of value? Be very careful about publishers and dates and condition.

Then carefully sort the books of value and take them directly to a bookseller -- you will get more if you eliminate the "junk". Take it to your local library for their annual booksales.

Realize that you will recover approx 1/3 to 1/2 of the value. Carefully, check out childrens' books -- there are many books in the 50 year range that are worth quite a bit. Look at illustrators too ---- Harrison Fisher, Maurice Sendak, Wythe are just a few that are very collectible.

Also look at things that you may think are waaay outdated to be of value -- old catalogs for lighting, fencing, hardware are invalueable to home-restorers and are quite costly now. Old cookbooks from Calumet and Lydia Pinkham's also can be worth several dollars -- so be careful not to throw them out.

It would be good if you have a friend that collects books to
help you. I live in terror that my daughters will just throw my first edition 3rd printing Mark Twain's or my complete collection of first edition Bobbsey Twins with pictorial covers and dustjackets on the hayrack during an auction!


    Bookmark   March 13, 2007 at 8:01AM
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