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?


  1. I have to say that when I started collecting the older books and not just Nancy Drew, that I didn't mind that they didn't have a DJ on them. Since I'd grown up on the revised text I wanted to be able to see what the difference was in the stories. One of the first original text Nancys I found did NOT have a DJ and it was at a library book sale, I was thrilled and didn't care that it didn't have one.

    So I would definitely say that if you are just starting a collection that you can always upgrade to one with a DJ later on but I don't think its something to do in the beginning. I know some collectors want all their books to match on the shelf but when I look at my older NDs I can pick out where I got a particular volume or who I got it from regardless of whether it has a jacket or not. Collecting series books is about that collecting. If you've never read the original text Nancys, definitely give them a try.


  2. I collect the best Nancy Drews I can find, and have some four glosssy thick editions with dust jackets (three?) and have all but one (#13) of the thick editions with no dust jackets and four glossies...I can get the books for super cheap with no dust jackets and agree that they are awesome! I make my own dust jackets by printing the front cover art off the Internet and photocopying the spine of an actual dust jacket and changing the title with computer font close to the original and putting them in BORDART sleeves! since it only takes me a couple of days to read a book it is hard to jutify paying hundreds of dollars for the best example I can find! ~Amriel

  3. They certainly do have some value. I think that the thick blue books without dust jackets are worth considerably less than thick blue books with dust jackets, but they are still desirable. How desirable? It's hard to say.

    I have noticed that tweed books without dust jackets often sell for pretty good prices as compared to tweed books with worn jackets. Often, very good condition tweed books without dust jackets sell for at least as much as tweed books with worn dust jackets. People are sometimes willing to pay $10 or more for a bare tweed book, but a tweed book with a poor condition dust jacket will usually sell for under $10.

    My conclusion is that some people prefer to have books that do not have dust jackets.

  4. Here's a good example:

    Nancy Drew Old Clock wartime edition

    The photo isn't showing in the auction, but I saw the gallery photo in search. It is a wartime edition with very yellowed paper and no dust jacket. It sold for $37.60!

  5. Back again. On the other hand, here is a very early Nancy Drew book with dust jacket:

    Nancy Drew Hidden Staircase

    It sold for just $34.78. The jacket is probably from around 1934. It should have sold for a much higher price than the first book I mentioned, yet it sold for less. I think that some people do bid higher on books that do not have dust jackets. In general, books with dust jackets sell for much higher prices, but some people are really drawn to the books that do not have dust jackets.

  6. Interesting thoughts from folks- I truly believe that they will hold some kind of value, and any that are still in nice condition will rise provided that they are taken care of. I almost bought a copy of Judy Bolton "Seven Strange Clues" today. All four glossies and the dustjacket present. But the book seemed rough around the edges, so I put it back. They wanted 25.00 for it, and I just felt it was not worth the money based on condition. This book business is hard work!!

  7. I actually have a list of replacement books I need - but they have to exactly match the dust jackets I already have. That means the listings for these books need to say or have a picture of the list of books in the front and every page (if any) in the back with the last title listed. Lots of times I just don't feel like writing to ask, but if the information was there and the book was in good condition, I'd sure to tempted to bid! Thanks!