PDA

View Full Version : Book Collecting Question



Sarita
12-31-2007, 09:56 PM
A friend of mine just went through his grandfather's and mother's things (they both died ages ago) and discovered a massive cache of books, some antiques, some obviously collectors items. He's wondering how to handle them. He's not a collector and would like to sell any items that would be worth selling. Some of his items include personal notes from authors to his grandfather, who was a Harvard Art/Literature Scholar.

I collect antique books, but I'm no expert on distribution. Does anyone have any tips or ideas for how to handle this sort of book collection?

Shadow_Ferret
12-31-2007, 09:58 PM
Find a local expert that would be willing to look at them. Might have to pay a fee for such a service though.

Or give them all to me.

Sarita
12-31-2007, 10:05 PM
No way, if he's giving them to anyone, it's me! I think I'll take the first edition Following the Equator as my finders fee ;-) Either that or all the first edition James Branch Cabells.

slcboston
12-31-2007, 10:17 PM
Collectibles of any nature are really dependent on two things: how rare they are, and how much demand there is for them. You can have something that's unique and therefore rare, but if no one's really interested in it there's no market for it.

I'd ask around at a couple of rare book shops or two and go from there, but be prepared for these items to be of mostly sentimental value to you. Unless you get lucky. :D

benbradley
12-31-2007, 11:03 PM
A friend of mine just went through his grandfather's and mother's things (they both died ages ago) and discovered a massive cache of books, some antiques, some obviously collectors items. He's wondering how to handle them. He's not a collector and would like to sell any items that would be worth selling. Some of his items include personal notes from authors to his grandfather, who was a Harvard Art/Literature Scholar.

I collect antique books, but I'm no expert on distribution. Does anyone have any tips or ideas for how to handle this sort of book collection?
Does he want to sell them all (or a large amount) at once and get it over with, or get the maximum amount for them?

If the first, call local collectible book dealers and have them come and make offers. Many dealers are reluctant to do this because so many such calls are for "old books" that aren't worth anything, but the previous owner being a "Harvard Art/Literature Scholar" and it including "personal notes from authors" may well get them interested enough to come out and look.
Be careful with this, dealers may undervalue the collection. For a collectible book, an honest dealer will offer about half of what he can sell it for.

It would also be a good idea to find someone knowledgable (an established book appraiser, someone whose opinion an insurance company would accept) to pay them to look over the collection and give a value, but who due to the nature of what they do wouldn't be offering to buy it.

If you put time into it, you can look up the "current value" (at least for the online world) of each book (being sure to account for condition) online easily enough through amazon.com and ebay.com (the completed auctions is most useful, they tell you what something SOLD FOR, not just someone's asking price who may be throwing stuff on the wall to see if it sticks). Also, look in my blog for other places (specifically http://bookfinder.com) to find similar books that might not be listed on Amazon or eBay. If a book has an author's signature or inscription, look for other copies for sale with signatures. A book worth $50 without a signature might be worth $55, $100, or $2,000 with a signature, depending of course on the author and demand, bla bla bla.

HeronW
12-31-2007, 11:37 PM
Depending on the subject, check with local universities, large dioceses, museums even.

ishtar'sgate
12-31-2007, 11:51 PM
A friend of mine just went through his grandfather's and mother's things (they both died ages ago) and discovered a massive cache of books, some antiques, some obviously collectors items. He's wondering how to handle them. He's not a collector and would like to sell any items that would be worth selling. Some of his items include personal notes from authors to his grandfather, who was a Harvard Art/Literature Scholar.

I collect antique books, but I'm no expert on distribution. Does anyone have any tips or ideas for how to handle this sort of book collection?
I stopped at he wants to sell them. He wants to sell them? I wouldn't know how to handle it, I'm sorry, but I'd give my right arm to be him. What a wonderful legacy, complete with personal notes. I'm salivating all over my keyboard.:)
Linnea

jenngreenleaf
01-01-2008, 12:03 AM
I stopped at he wants to sell them. He wants to sell them? I wouldn't know how to handle it, I'm sorry, but I'd give my right arm to be him. What a wonderful legacy, complete with personal notes. I'm salivating all over my keyboard.:)
LinneaMe, too! :) The personal notes bit is my favorite. I received my grandmother's personal collection of books (about ten banana boxes full), but there were no notes. I'm not parting with mine for anything though because, while they may be worth some money, they're priceless to me and not worth letting go. ;) (I wish there were notes!!!! LOL)

Sarita
01-02-2008, 06:27 AM
I agree with Jenn and Ishtar, but what can I say to him, except "How many can I buy?" Seriously, he doesn't want to keep them. His family was big into art collecting and he has collections from both of them, too. The art they passed down is his sentimental keepsake, not the books. Oh well. I can't understand it.

veinglory
01-02-2008, 06:31 AM
These days the antiquarian and collectable section of Ebay tends to provide a fair price. Although I would suggest waiting a few weeks for the holiday slump to pass. Collectors use it quite a lot and you can set a reasonable minimun. Be sure to promonantly post if a volume is signed and if possible provide a scan.

Old Hack
01-02-2008, 02:19 PM
There's also www.abebooks.com (or .co.uk), which lists books of all kinds for sale throughout the world. There are lots of collectible ones there, and it might be worth a look.

jenngreenleaf
01-02-2008, 05:45 PM
I agree with Jenn and Ishtar, but what can I say to him, except "How many can I buy?" Seriously, he doesn't want to keep them. His family was big into art collecting and he has collections from both of them, too. The art they passed down is his sentimental keepsake, not the books. Oh well. I can't understand it.Wow, this is so interesting to me! It sounds like he's gotten some wonderful treasures. My mother and her boyfriend make a healthy living selling vintage and antique items (including books, maps, ephemera, etc.) on ebay throughout the year (there's slow times, but it tends to be in February and the middle of summer). So, as veinglory suggested, that might be an option to run by him. Why didn't they have an estate auction?

Sarita
01-02-2008, 06:05 PM
Why didn't they have an estate auction?Great question. His mother had all of his Grandfathers things and she died very suddenly of cancer. I think he was just trying to not deal with it and threw everything in storage for 2 years. He's just now clearing out the storage.



There's also www.abebooks.com (http://www.abebooks.com/) (or .co.uk), which lists books of all kinds for sale throughout the world. There are lots of collectible ones there, and it might be worth a look. This is where I directed him, just to get an idea. I think I'm going to tell him to contact a local book dealer or appraiser and go from there. Once he has a general price for the highly collectibles, he shouldn't get duped.

I'm going over there sometime this week to go through some of the ones that interest me and suit my collection.

jenngreenleaf
01-02-2008, 06:09 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by jennhollowell
Why didn't they have an estate auction?

Great question. His mother had all of his Grandfathers things and she died very suddenly of cancer. I think he was just trying to not deal with it and threw everything in storage for 2 years. He's just now clearing out the storage. That makes a lot of sense - nothing about these sitations are easy. My grandmother passed away in 2003 and my mother is *still* trying to figure out what to keep, what to distribute to family, and what to sell.

I'm going over there sometime this week to go through some of the ones that interest me and suit my collection.Good luck!