Sunday, November 29, 2009

10% Off Bonanzle Booth All Day November 30th!

Head to my Bonanzle booth tomorrow, November 30th, and take an additional 10% off by using the coupon code "CyberMonday". I have added some more books, including some matte Yellow Spine Nancy Drews, Three Investigators, and more Trixie Beldens. Some of these are posted in lots, and will be a nice buy! Click on the link above, and it will take you directly to my booth.
Jennifer White, of Jennifer's Series Books is also having a sale, that I know will last through tomorrow. Type in her coupon code "blackfriday" and get an additional 5% off your purchase with her. Her booth has 600 items, and you are bound to find something you've been looking for. Jennifer is my favorite on-line dealer of Series Books, and has a wonderful reputation in the collecting community.
Check both booths out, and enjoy!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Winter Reads

Now that Thanksgiving is almost here, it's time to once again revisit an old favorite story that evokes a sense of nostalgia, as well as highlight the holiday season. There are many good series book set around the holidays or Winter itself, and over the next few months, I'm hoping to spotlight a couple of them, and perhaps you will have a personal favorite you can recommend to me as well.

One of my favorite seasonal series books is The Mystery of Cabin Island. This Hardy Boys books has all the classic elements that makes series book reading and collecting so much fun. I have only read the original version, and am not familiar with the revised text.

Number 8 in the series, the story is considered to be one of the finest by Hardy Boys' fans. It was published in 1929, and has been a perennial favorite for years. The Hardy's and friends Chet and Biff sail their boat to desolate Cabin Island over their Christmas vacation, and strange happenings begin. Supplies disappear, strangers seem to be on the island, and a mystery involving a fireplace are just some of the mysterious events that the four boys encounter. It's up to Frank and Joe to unravel the mystery, while trying to enjoy their vacation. The winter season is admirably depicted by ghost writer Leslie Macfarlane. The island environment seems to come right out of MacFarlane's own experiences living in the north woods of Canada.
If you have never read this book, grab a copy off of Bonanzle or Ebay. If I have time this weekend, I may pick up my copy as well.

I hope everyone has a blessed and happy Thanksgiving. May time with family and friends be restful and full of thanks.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Another High Selling Nancy Drew!

This unique collectible Nancy Drew book which has a label advertising the film "Nancy Drew: Detective just sold for a whopping 1700.00 on Ebay. These books with the wrapper included are very hard to find and date to 1938.
The book is a 1938A-12 printing and is in very good shape. The seller had a reserve price set, and up until 10 seconds before the auction closed that reserve had not been met. Things changed rather quickly! Congratulations to the seller and the buyer. It looks like a beautiful book to own. The economy may be hurting, but occasional high prices are still turning up on series books!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

How are Antique Stores in Your Area?

I have spent the last two Saturdays going to a few antique stores looking for items for myself as well as for my Bonanzle booth. I figured with the holidays coming, I would not be able to spend much time on the booth. If I was going to find more stock, it seemed to me that my best bet would be some antique dealers who don't specialize in series books.
Last Saturday, I decided to venture to the little town of Cambridge, MD. It sits on the southern bank of the Choptank River, and is one of the oldest cities on Maryland's Eastern Shore. It is about a 70 minute trip, but I knew of an antique store and a used book store, both of which have proven to be good places for series books. I walked into the antique center in Cambridge, to find the workers busy trying to take care of a leaky roof. There must be about a hundred vendors in the old building, and I started looking. First, I found some matte yellow spine Nancy Drews, most from the seventies, but in good shape and inexpensively priced. I plan on grouping these into lots of two and three and pricing them to move. My surprise came when I walked into the second room.
A book dealer with a huge inventory had moved in, and as I made my way in I saw the children's books in the corner. My biggest yield of the day was made in this booth. I bought dust jacketed Nancys, 3 Rick Brants, the Kay Traceys spotlighted in my blog last week, some Judy Boltons, and more yellow spine Nancy PCs. Prices were very reasonable, and I found books for myself as well as my booth. I left there with a box full of books.
The used book store proved to have two books I purchased for myself. I picked up a copy of an old Grosset and Dunlap copy of Tom Slade in the North Woods. I was interested in this one because the hero goes to the Adirondacks to set up a Scout camp. I vacation in the Adirondacks every year, and have had an almost thirty year love affair with the region. Some winter day I will pick this one up to read. I also found a copy of The Adventure Girls at K-Bar -O. It is the more common Saalfield printing, but Jennifer has spoken of the series, and I thought I would give it a try.
On the way home, I impulsively stopped at a store on the main highway that normally has very little since many stop here going to the beach. It was here, however, that I found my second big score of the day. Sitting on a shelf in a corner sat the four jacketless thick blue Nancy Drews that I spoke of in my last blog. I was quite happy with the day's haul, and like a hunter with a nice antlered buck in the back of his pickup, I went home feeling quite proud of myself.
Yesterday I took off again for another book hunt. I had decided to try an antique center located between Baltimore and Washington, DC. I had not been there for eleven years, but inspired by my previous luck, I set off. Unfortunately, luck did not repeat itself. The antique center had changed since my last visit, and was full of silver, jewelry and Depression glass. Not a book in sight, and I left for another antique store, about an hour further away from home. I found two first printing Applewood Judy Boltons, which I did not have, and some Nancy Drew stationary and post cards. Besides that nothing! 8 hours in the car, and a refilled tank later, I returned home pretty empty handed.
I think I will spend more time on Ebay next week, and less time on the road. I think the better deals will be there, and it is a lot easier on me. I will be adding some additional Trixie Beldens and Three Investigators later this week to my Bonanzle booth. I suspect that there will be little movement over the next few weeks due to the holidays, and hope that the New Year provides more "finds" like my first weekend adventure.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thick Blues... Worth Anything?

When searching for series books, I have always operated under the thinking that a book without it's dust jacket is worth very little. Many series books that are are missing their dust jackets are very hard to determine their printing points, mainly because publishers like Grosset and Dunlap did not update their copyright pages, and often times ads for other books were not changed regularly. As a result, many collectors pass on books missing their dust jackets.

This has led me to wonder a bit about the worth of older Nancy Drew titles. Older thick blue volumes without dust jackets seem to be little easier to find these days on Ebay, and they are certainly less expensive than their jacketed counterparts. I am inclined to think that they are not very sought after by collectors, thus their prevalence on the market currently.

I understand why they are not as collectible as volumes with dust jackets, but I wonder if people are not missing the boat. Many of these volumes are still attractive and holding up well. Endpapers are bright and attractive, and the paper quality on 1930's volumes are often times still crisp and white. A few that I have found recently feel as though they have hardly been opened. I had the good fortune of finding a few of these on a recent visit to some antique stores. Examining these early volumes, they seem to be worth having in one's collection. Finding a early printing without endpapers would be even more exciting.

I'm curious what others think. Is it worth picking these older printings up, dust jacket or not? Will we see a rise in value for these volumes?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Susabella Passengers and Friends- Another Excellent Series Books Periodical!

I just received my latest copy of Susabella Passengers and Friends, another periodical available to series book enthusiasts. It is published by Garrett Lothe, a long time series book collector. The periodical is billed as "A series book magazine about all series books." That is exactly why I like it; it seems to focus on many different types of series. I have learned a great deal from this magazine, and it has made me aware of many different series. Many series on my bookshelf were first spotlighted or mentioned in Susabella Passengers.
Each issue centers around a theme. My latest issue's theme is "Escape With Me", and allows several different collectors to talk about what book or series hero or heroine they would like to be a part of. This month's issue includes mentions of Nancy Drew, the Dana Girls, Ken Holt, Judy Bolton, Vicki Barr, Connie Blair and Robin Kane. Many different fans of series books contribute to the magazine, and it seems to have quite a following. I very much enjoy this one.
A one year subscription consisting of 6 issues runs 20.00. Checks can be made out to Garrett K. Lothe or Susabella Passengers. All mailings should be sent to: Susabella Passengers and Friends, 80 Ocean Pines Lane, Pebble Beach, CA., 93953. You can email Garrett at . I can't say enough good things about this magazine. If you don't subscribe, you really need to.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Kay Tracey added to my Bonanzle booth

I have added several volumes from the Kay Tracey series to my Bonanzle booth this evening. The Kay Tracey series was a creation of the Stratemeyer Syndicate and patterned closely after Nancy Drew. Mildred Wirt Benson, ghost writer of many of the Nancy Drew titles, wrote 11 of the 18 volumes in the series. The books were reprinted several times over the years. Originally they were published by Cupples and Leon, beginning in 1934. The series continued until 1942. It was revised in 1951 with new wrap style dust jackets and red boards. In the late 1950's, they were published again with the same cover art but taller in height. Boards were in green, aqua and blue. Pictorial covers and paperbacks were created throughout the 1960s and 1970s, and then another set of paperbacks apeeared in the 1980s.
Kay lives with her mom and her cousin Bill. She solves her mysteries with her friends, Wilma and Betty. Her cousin is a lawyer, and like Carson Drew his cases are sometimes the catalyst of the mystery. The books are fun to read, and since the majority are written by Mildred Wirt Benson, the parallels to Nancy Drew are heightened.
The copies in my booth are the 1950's printings. They are very nice, with white pages and intact dust jackets. If you have never read a Kay Tracey, you might want to check them out!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Should "Musty Odor" Be Included... Book descriptions on Ebay!

When I search for books on Ebay, I am very conscious of the price I'm paying for an item. I'm a teacher, and though I am fortunate to have what I have, my income basically pays my bills, with a small amount of extra for an occasional series book now and then! I can't pay large amounts of money for a book- I just don't walk in those circles. So price point is important to me. As a result, I try to look at descriptions of items sellers have on Ebay or Bonanzle, and then make a good decision regarding a purchase.
This past week, I purchased from several dealers 10 of the 12 Connie Blair books. The series was published by Grosset and Dunlap between 1948 and 1958, and is recognizable among collectors for having a color mentioned in each title. I received my first book yesterday in the mail. The Ghost Wore White was listed as a first printing which it was. The pages are indeed white as described, and the dust jacket is nice in a mylar protected cover. However, on the back inside endpapers there is a slight warping (very slight) and some white spots that appear to be mildew. The book also is emanating a strong musty odor. Looking at the book, I would assume it spent some time in a damp basement, and even if it did not get wet, dampness has begun to affect the book. I can see how a seller who does not specialize in books may not have caught the mildew spots, as they are very small, but how can you miss the odor?
It would seem to me that if a strong odor is in a book, a seller should lower the price, and let the buyer be aware of its presence. I paid 31.00 for the book, and I would have reconsidered the purchase if I had known what I know now.
Am I disappointed? A little. I still have a first, and it won't look bad. I'll have to see if there is a way to get rid of the odor. As a seller, I want to be sure that I give people a solid description of what they are buying. We all deserve this!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Bobbsey Twins First Sells High!

I don't remember ever reading a Bobbsey Twins book, but they certainly are one of the longest running children's series to have ever been published. Dating back to the early twentieth century, they were part of the Stratemeyer output and apparently read by children for many decades. I probably see more Bobbsey Twins books in antique stores and flea markets than any other series, but I have never had a desire to collect any. I did see a set of several volumes this summer while on vacation that tempted me. They were from England, if I remember correctly, and were attractive. The seller wanted almost 20.00 a book, and I resisted the temptation.
An apparent first edition (as worded by the Ebay seller) sold last night at the rather impressive price of 787.00. This is far more than I have ever seen for a Bobbsey Twins book. It was published by the Mershon Company of Rahway, NY, and has a glossy frontispiece, as pictured.
I have no idea if this book is a first printing of the title. I am sure, however, that the seller is quite happy with this sale. It proves to me, once again, that people are interested in collecting juvenile series fiction, and you never know what you may find that can command a high price later.
Next time I see a stack of old Bobbseys, I'm going to take a closer look at them!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Judy Bolton books added on my Bonanzle booth

I posted 16 Judy Bolton titles to my Bonanzle booth today. I remain encouraged with Bonanzle. Visitors continue to stop by and look at my items. In addition to my Judy Bolton titles, I have white spine and wrap Nancy Drews, several Hardy Boys and some additional Nancy Drew Girl Detective titles that are firsts. I believe that as my stock grows, more buyers will stop by and find something they are looking for. With Christmas coming, the more I put in the more likely things will sell.
So what Judy Bolton titles did I add? Several dust jacketed Judys, including The Forbidden Chest, The Mysterious Half Cat, The Riddle of the Double Ring, The Name on the Bracelet, and The Living Portrait. In addition, I had some non dust jacket copies of some Judy Boltons that I have decided to post in lots of 2 and 3. These copies are later titles that may be hard to find, but can be purchased inexpensively from me to fill in holes for people collecting a complete set of the Bolton titles. Titles grouped in lots include The Clue in the Ruined Castle, The Trail of the Green Doll, and The Haunted Fountain.
I will remain committed to Bonanzle. I believe it is a great Ebay alternative, one that will continue to grow in popularity among shoppers.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

2010 Nancy Drew Convention: Sleuth on Land, Sleuth at Sea

There are big plans in the works for the 2010 Nancy Drew Convention. Fans have the opportunity to spend two weeks together during the month of April to celebrate the 80th Anniversary of America's favorite teenage sleuth, Nancy Drew.
Folks can gather for 5 days on land April 6-10th in Merrit Island, Florida located outside of Orlando. Visits around the Orlando area, including book hunting and antiquing, a trip to the Kennedy Space Flight Center, and time spent on the Cocoa Beach Pier are just some of the events planned leading up to a big convention weekend. Featured speakers scheduled so far include Nancy Drew artist Rudy Nappi and Stratemeyer Syndicate editor Nancy Axelrad. In addition, various other speakers will include Todd Latoski, Laura Ruby, Dean Burcham and others.
If you have the time, stay on with the Nancy Drew Sleuths and go on a cruise to the Bahamas April 11-15th. The theme of the cruise is The Mystery of the Brass Bound Trunk. Rudy Nappi will continue along on the cruise, and more fun activities are planned while cruising the Bahamas.
I had been thinking that I could not attend this convention due to being a teacher and some school obligations. However, things may change, and I am rethinking this decision. Rooms are only available for the land portion until January 15th. The cruise needs to be booked soon as well. If I go, I can only do the land portion, but that would be better than nothing.
Clicking on the banner at the top of this blog will take you to a web page that gives all details for the trip. It looks like a fun way to celebrate a series book heroine.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

It's a Ken Holt First!?

The Ken Holt series is highly regarded in the world of series book fiction. Many collectors and fans of juvenile fiction feel it is the finest written of all series books. The series was written by Samuel Epstein, under the pseudonym of Bruce Campbell. Written between 1949 and 1963, the series totals 18 books. It is passionately sought after by collectors, and continues to be discussed in it's own Yahoo group. When it comes to tightly woven, well crafted tales of mystery, one will be hard pressed to find a better series. Ken is the son of a newspaper man who ends up living with the Allen clan, publishers themselves of a small local paper. The Allen's son Sandy is Ken's closest pal, and helps Ken solve various crimes and mysteries.

The stories have a film noir feel about them. Dark and gritty, and much more realistic than the Hardy Boys or Judy Bolton, crimes are solved without relying on coincidences and happenstance. Brains are used to solve the situations, and normally there seem to be several criminals that need to be caught and brought to justice. These dirty crooks smoke and probably swear, though we are never privy to their more earthy conversations. The realistic elements found in the series is what makes it so highly regarded today.

I discovered these stories through the Internet, after starting to collect Rick Brant books. I do not remember these on the shelves of my childhood bookstores. I have only seen a few in the antique and used bookstores I frequent today. It would be interesting to know which part of the country that they sold well. Because pickings are so slim here, I don't think the Holts were widely collected here on the Delmarva peninsula.

I have managed to collect 11 books in the series, all found on the Internet. Up until yesterday, I believed all of my copies were first printings. I was mistaken. It seems, despite my guarded attempts to only buy firsts in this series, I have a couple of later printings. They are all dust jacketed, and definitely early printings, but not all firsts. Here is where I went wrong.

I'm afraid I was not as careful as I could have been when it came to paying close attention to the inside lists of books, as well as little details. My first mistake came with book ten. The Mystery of the Green Flame. The book matches all first printing points until you come to the ad on the back for the current list of Hardy Boy books available. The book lists to The Hooded Hawk Mystery, which is exactly what it should list to. The problem? First printings of this title do not include the previous HB book, The Yellow Feather Mystery. My copy lists this title. I probably have a second or third printing but definitely not a first.

My next collecting mistake comes with my copy of The Mystery of the Vanishing Magician. The dust jacket meets every printing point of a first. It is a beautiful copy, brighter then my camera caught here to the left. However it appears that this may be a mismatched dust jacket to book. It seems that someone has taken a later printing book and placed a first printing dust jacket on it. I know this because inside of the book itself, the list of titles should only list to itself. This one lists to the seventeenth title in the series.
I found one other book in my collection that I believe I bought because it was a higher number in the series. It is not a first, but it is in nice condition, and I will keep it until I find a first. So make sure you do your homework before purchasing. Know what you are purchasing, and know something about the series you are collecting. My Ken Holt titles are some of the best books in my collection. I enjoy reading these as much as I do collecting them. They are wonderful stories worth owning.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Nancy Drew Collecting Question

I recently purchased three PC Nancy Drew first printings. I am attempting to buy all later PCs as firsts, and think, honestly, that now is the time to grab them up. Prices seem to be low due to the economy, and, though I doubt PCs will ever be as collectible as the older Drew formats, first printings are always more desirable regardless.

As you can see, I purchased #54 The Strange Message in the Parchment, #55 Mystery of Crocodile Island, and #56 The Thirteenth Pearl. All seem to have the proper points according to my Farah's Guide to support their printing status. They are in great shape, described well by the seller, and I am pleased with my purchase.

I am a little confused, however by the cataloging number that Grosset and Dunlap used for my #56. If you look at the next photo, here are my #54 and #55 spines:

Notice that, like all other spines, the cataloging number is a four digit number with the volume number at the end. Now check out the cataloging number for my #56:

Why does that number have a dash and an additional number? I have looked at my Farah's Guide, but see no explanation. Anyone know if this is a variant? A second printing perhaps? I don't think so, because it seems to have all the points for a 1979B-1 printing, including the mention of "The Triple Hoax", NOT in italics. Was Grosset and Dunlap getting ready to change their cataloging? If anyone knows the answer, feel free to respond.
I am very pleased with my purchase, just a tad confused!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Sleuth- A Nancy Drew Fanzine

My apologies to all for not being more committed last month to this blog. I have been extremely busy, as noted in my previous post, and have found little to no time for any series book reading, collecting or the blog. I'm hoping November will be better.
One of the things I was hoping to accomplish here on the blog is helping people find periodicals that specialize in series book collecting and certain series in particular. One of the best is The Sleuth, which spotlights and celebrates Nancy Drew.
The Sleuth is a bimonthly periodical published by the Nancy Drew Sleuths. The latest copy alone is a treasure trove of information. Todd Latoski has been examining the paperback digests and continues with his article on The Secret of Shady Glen. Two different girl series are discussed- the Kay Traceys and the Penny Parkers. In addition, individual episodes of the seventies Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries shows have been discussed.
The magazine is excellent, and I enjoy the read each and every time it comes to my doorstep.
The link above will take you directly to the back issues page, all of which I believe are still available. Here is a link to subscribe to the periodical. 38.00 gets you a year subscription. You won't regret the money spent!