Antique Book Acquisitions

So… I’ve been thinking on whether or not I should post this here this past week, because it’s not particularly geeky in my opinion, or of any particularly relevant geek concern. But I’d like to share my semi-interesting story with some of my followers, and perhaps one or two of you could help me out.

Last Saturday some family friends were helping another family move. My brothers and I chose to volunteer our time and energy to help out. It’s always tough seeing friends move, but thankfully they were merely moving to a more convenient place in roughly the same area. So that’s nice. We started with the stuff in the garage, then the dining room furniture, bedroom furniture,  etc. And while doing so, we were constantly throwing stuff out that they no longer used or wanted. Al, the head of the household, an older man of African decent, asked me to throw out the two last boxes. The first was full of junk. Useless. But the second. Well, I thought he was joking. It was full of antique literature. Proper hardcover books with gilding, more than a few of which were novels I was personally familiar with. I just couldn’t imagine throwing them out. I asked him if it’d be alright if I took them off his hands, and he urged me to take them. So I did, and placed them in the trunk of my car, after much trouble getting the heavy box up the stairs and out the door. I returned to work.

Later that day, I got the chance to take a look at the acquisitions, and I was overwhelmed with the haul. I could easily see that the 50 items therein would be valued (monetarily) far greater than the 600+ books that were bequeathed to me earlier in the year. But I need your help. This isn’t my area of expertise and I’m by no means a proper appraiser. If anyone has any idea how to go about searching for antique book value, or have a rough estimate of what the lot is worth, I’d like to hear your comments. Above is the list of books in the haul, categorized by author. Thanks guys!

Author  Title  Publisher  Year  Edition  Quality 
 Amelia E. Barr  Jan Vedder’s Wife   Dodd, Mead & Company  1885  1st  Very Fine
 R. D. Blackmore  Lorna Doone  Collins’ Clear-Type Press  ?  ?  Very Fine
 Jacob Catlin  Catlin’s Theology  Boston, Doctrinal Tract and Book Society  1886  3rd  Good
 F. Marion Crawford  Corleone, vol. II  The Macmillan Company  1897  ?  Very Fine
 Alexandre Dumas  The Three Musketeers, vol. I   Little, Brown, and Company  1904  ?  Near Mint
 Alexandre Dumas  The Three Musketeers, vol. II  Little, Brown, and Company  1904  ?  Near Mint
 George Eliot  Wit and Wisdom of George Eliot  Roberts Brothers  1873  ?  Fine
 Mrs. Gaskell  Cranford  Henry Altemus  ?  ?  Very Fine
 Bret Harte  Flip and Found at Blazing Star  Houghton, Mifflin and Company  1892  ?  Near Mint
 Bret Harte   The Luck of Roaring Camp, etc.  Houghton, Mifflin and Company  1894  ?  Fine
 Bret Harte  Two Men of Sandy Bar  Houghton, Mifflin and Company  1893  ?  Near Mint
 Nathaniel Hawthorne  Mosses from an Old Manse  ?  ?  ?  Good
 Nathaniel Hawthorne  The Scarlet Letter  The F. M. Lupton Publishing Company  -1897  ?  Fine
 Homer  Iliads, vol. I  The Knickerbocker Press  -1901  ?  Fine
 Homer  Iliads, vol. III  The Knickerbocker Press  -1901  ?  Fine
 Rudyard Kipling  Mine Own People  The Lovell Company  1899  ?  Poor
 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow  Longfellow’s Tales of a Wayside Inn  The Macmillan Company  1918  ?  Fine
 Robert Louis Stevenson  David Balfour  Charles Scribner’s Sons  1910  ?  Very Fine
 Robert Louis Stevenson  St. Ives  Charles Scribner’s Sons  1910  ?  Very Fine
 Robert Louis Stevenson  Treasure Island  Charles Scribner’s Sons  1910  ?  Very Fine
 Alfred Lord Tennyson  Tennyson’s Idylls of the King  The Macmillan Company  1915  ?  Good
 Arthur Train  By Advice of Counsel  Charles Scribner’s Sons  1914  ?  Mint
 Arthur Train  The Butler’s Story  Charles Scribner’s Sons  1912  ?  Mint
 Arthur Train  The “Goldfish”  Charles Scribner’s Sons  1921  ?  Near Mint
 Arthur Train  Mortmain  Charles Scribner’s Sons  1907  ?  Mint
 Arthur Train  Tut, Tut! Mr. Tutt  Charles Scribner’s Sons  1923  ?  Mint
 Mark Twain  vol1 The Adventures of Tom Sawyer  Harper & Brothers  1924  ?  Fine
 Mark Twain  vol2 The Innocents Abroad  Harper & Brothers  1924  ?  Fine
 Mark Twain  vol3 Pudd’nhead Wilson  Harper & Brothers  1924  ?  Fine
 Mark Twain  vol4 The American Claimont  Harper & Brothers  1924  ?  Fine
 Mark Twain  vol5 A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court  Harper & Brothers  1924  ?  Fine
 Mark Twain  vol6 Roughing It  Harper & Brothers  1924  ?  Fine
 Mark Twain  vol7 Life on the Mississippi  Harper & Brothers  1924  ?  Fine
 Mark Twain  vol8 The Mysterious Stranger  Harper & Brothers  1924  ?  Fine
 Mark Twain  vol9 The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn  Harper & Brothers  1924  ?  Fine
 Mark Twain  vol10 The Gilded Age  Harper & Brothers  1924  ?  Fine
 Mark Twain  vol11 A Tramp Abroad  Harper & Brothers  1924  ?  Fine
 Mark Twain  vol12 What is Man?  Harper & Brothers  1924  ?  Very Fine
 Mark Twain  vol13 Following the Equator  Harper & Brothers  1924  ?  Fine
 Mark Twain  vol14 Tom Sawyer Abroad  Harper & Brothers  1924  ?  Good
 Mark Twain  vol15 The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg  Harper & Brothers  1924  ?  Fine
 Mark Twain  vol16 In Defense of Harriet Shelley  Harper & Brothers  1924  ?  Fine
 Mark Twain  vol17 Joan of Arc  Harper & Brothers  1924  ?  Fine
 Mark Twain  vol18 The $30,000 Bequest  Harper & Brothers  1924  ?  Fine
 Mark Twain  vol19 Sketches New and Old  Harper & Brothers  1924  ?  Fine
 Mark Twain  vol20 Europe and Elsewhere  Harper & Brothers  1924  ?  Fine
 Mark Twain  vol21 The Prince and the Pauper  Harper & Brothers  1924  ?  Fine
 Mark Twain  vol23 Christian Science  Harper & Brothers  1924  ?  Fine
 Mark Twain  vol24 Mark Twain’s Speeches  Harper & Brothers  1924  ?  Fine
 Lew Wallace  The Fair God  Houghton, Mifflin and Company  1887  36th  Good

14 thoughts on “Antique Book Acquisitions

  1. You need to find yourself an antique book seller in particular. Too many used book shops these days are just paperback repositories; the staff aren’t really book nerds and won’t necessarily know anything about them.

    Run through a yelp or google-by-location search and find an antique bookshop. But I’ll caution you: go to more than just one. In fact, go to as many as possible. They can at times operate similarly to pawn shops in that if they think you don’t know what you’ve got, or you have no one else lined up to take the books, they might try to lowball you.

    Treat it like you’re trying to trade in a car, make sure you go to the right kind of shop and you’ll be fine. 🙂


  2. I’d recommend stopping by a used book seller with a few of the books. The seller himself probably won’t buy them, but he’ll likely have contacts who can appraise them (he might even know of a private client who will be interested in buying!).


  3. Either speak to an antiquarian bookseller or look on to see what similar titles sell for. They are probably too old to have isbn. The year of publication and edition are crucial and if there are any special introductions by anyone.


      1. Some novels might have an introduction or notes at the start by another writer often an academic but sometimes another famous author . If it is a translation the the translator might be important


  4. Wow … what a excellent find. You’re so lucky to have them! No idea how to have them appraised, maybe try Googling “Antique Book Appraisers”?
    Thanks for stopping by and liking my post today. 🙂


  5. Wow! What an amazing find; so many of them are classics. It seems like you could look on Amazon or Ebay to see what similar antique books are going for. That’s just a guess though.


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