Monday, June 20, 2011

How to tell if a book is valuable

A book's value depends on several factors, including its condition, its edition, the paper it's printed on and much more.


Part of what we were doing at the recent Georgia Antiquarian Book Fair was evaluating old books that people brought in for appraisal.

It’s always interesting to see what kinds of books have stirred people’s curiosity. Whether they’re bringing in heirlooms that have been passed down from generation to generation or they’re just cleaning out Aunt Martha’s attic, there’s bound to be a pleasant surprise or two.

At the Georgia fair, someone brought in a 1608 Bible. That’s quite a find. Another had a signed, limited edition volume printed on vellum with illustrations by the early 20th century French illustrator Edmund Dulac. There was also a fellow who had a half dozen late 19th century books on the Civil War.

Unfortunately, not everything that someone dusts off and brings in is terribly valuable. Some may have more sentimental value than monetary value. If you’re not had any training in evaluating books, it can be tricky to tell which is which.

If you are curious about a book you have, you’re in luck. We’re giving a free lecture soon on how to tell if a book might be valuable. We’ll talk about the factors that go into establishing a book’s value, including quality of paper, condition of the book, the importance of dust jackets on fiction volumes, the importance of first editions versus later ones and more. We’ll also discuss copper and steel engravings in older books, what makes one more valuable than the other, and we’ll have examples of each to help you identify them.

You’re welcome to bring your own books for evaluation, but please limit the number of items you bring to no more than five.

The lecture will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 30, at the Baywood Club House, 596 Baywood Drive North, in Dunedin. That’s on the East side of Alternate U.S. 19, South of Curlew Road. For those with local knowledge, it’s behind the Walgreens and the Wells Fargo Bank (which was formerly the Wachovia Bank). Got it? If not, there is a map accompanying this article.

We think it’ll be an interesting time and we hope you can make it.

If you want more information or want to call to reserve your seat, please call (727) 738-8090.

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Our specialties

Our specialties include Floridiana (Florida History, Florida Authors, Florida Related Ephemera), American History, Literature of the South, Military History (including, but not limited to, Civil War, Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, Vietnam, Korean War), Children’s Literature, Maps, Leather Bindings and Rare & Unusual items.

We also have a wide variety of general stock, including a large Landscape/Gardening section, a great selection of Christian/Church History/Bible Study titles, Beat Literature, and much more. Please browse our extensive category list.

Appraisal service

Michael F. Slicker, is one of about 450 qualified members of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America, Inc., and its affiliate the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers.

Condition of the book, demand for it and history of comparable sales are among the factors considered in evaluating the value of a book. Other factors may apply as well.

Please contact us for more information regarding our certified appraisal services. We encourage you to visit our website, Lighthouse Books, ABAA

Florida Antiquarian Book Fair

Michael Slicker was the founding president of the Florida Antiquarian Booksellers Association and has served as chairman of its annual Florida Antiquarian Book Fair since its inception.

The 36th annual book fair is set for April 21-23, 2017 at The Coliseum in St. Petersburg.

The fair is the oldest and largest antiquarian book fair in the Southeast. Learn more about the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair and the Florida Antiquarian Booksellers Association.

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