I have a ton of old books! Perhaps this is because we now have other things to do, like watch channels of cable television, surf the internet, discover the great outdoors or participate in any number of other diversions that attract our attention.
Here are the three questions you should answer before contacting a book appraiser or rare book auction house. Were your parents or grandparents who accumulated this library book collectors, or book readers? If your parents or grandparents were known collectors and have a listing of their library, chances are very good that they knew what information was important to document.
With this information in hand, an antique book appraiser will have an excellent basis from which to ascertain current market value. This information will go a long way towards understanding the overall potential of the collection. Do your books have dust jackets? Look at your books. Do you see the existence of dust jackets around the covers? These are the eminently disposable paper wrappers that were universally found cladding books in the post-World War I era.
This is the single most critical aspect some would say ONLY aspect of value that a 20th century book can possess. When you consider the fragile nature of paper dust jackets, it is not difficult to see how quickly they can be lost or damaged over the course of a century.
Collectors are also very conscious of the condition of these jackets. Edge chipping and small tears need to be protected from getting worse. Thus a secondary plastic sleeve may be necessary to protect the condition of a rare book going forward. Are you familiar with the titles and authors? Next, look at the titles. Catcher in the Rye? For Whom the Bell Tolls? To Kill a Mockingbird? Given the relative ease of publishing books in the late s and early s, a plethora of books were printed that are irrelevant today.
Sort out titles that you recognize by authors you know or who are familiar. You have completed a critical first step in the great book sort. Thank you for your interest in Skinner. Due to the volume of comments, we are unable to continue to reply individually.