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Sources for Book Values and Book Collecting


Pricing Guides

American Book-Prices Current.  New York: Bancroft-Parkman, 1894/95-

Latest 10 years of annual editions in *R -*GK
1950 – within 10 years of the present  in K-10 8913
1895 -1949 in *ZAN-13351   

This annual compilation indexes the prices realized at auction for literary properties (books, manuscripts, maps, charts, autographs, broadsides) sold in the United States and in the principal London and European auction houses.  Includes author, title, edition, place and date of publication, size, binding, condition, location of sale, date of sale, catalog number, and price.  A two-volume index appears every four years.  [The CD-ROM version, covering 1975 to the present, is available in the Rose Main Reading Room (315) in the Humanities and Social Sciences Library, and combines this information with flexible online searching.]

Book-Auction Records. London: H. Stevens, 1902 – 1997.

1968/72-1997 in *R-*GK
1902-1967 in *GK

British counterpart of American Book-Prices Current. Began as a guide to London auction houses, expanded to include Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Dublin, and eventually covered the principal New York auction houses.  Does not include manuscripts or autograph letters; maps, charts, and plans are recorded in a separate section. Entries reproduce auctioneer’s catalogue descriptions, including sale-date, lot number, price, and buyer. Annual volumes are arranged alphabetically by author.  Five-year cumulative indexes.

Bookman’s Price Index. Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1964-      

1964 – present in *R-*GK                                                                  

Annual index of antiquarian and rare books compiled from the published catalogues of approximately 50 recognized booksellers in the United States, Canada, and the British Isles.   Includes books and periodicals.  Listings are alphabetical by author and, where no author is given, by the first word of the title.   Contains a listing of represented dealers.  Useful for comparing listed prices and to research price history.  Cumulative indexes.

[Note: Jahrbuch der Auktionspreise *R-*GK lists auction results in Germany and other European locations. L’Argus du Livre de Collection. Repetoire Bibliographique *R -*GK  92-456, lists auction results in France.]


Additional Print Sources for Book Pricing and Collecting

Ahearn, Allen.  Collected Books: the guide to values.  New York: G. P. Putnam ’s, 1998.    

*R-GAN 98-8172

A guide to identifying and pricing first editions and first printings.  Includes bibliographical references.

Bernard, Philippa.  Antiquarian Books: a companion for booksellers, librarians and collectors.  Philadelphia: University of Philadelphia Press, 1994.

*R-GAN 95-4728                                                                                                               

Encyclopedic dictionary of antiquarian book collecting and book selling, with articles by various specialist contributors.  Especially good on private press books and illustrations.

Carter, John.  ABC for Book Collectors.  London: W. Shaw, 1995.

Pub. Cat. 95-1881 Shelf 12        

Essential dictionary of some 500 book-collecting terms, with definitions ranging from a few lines to several pages.

Selected Electronic Resources

American Book Prices Current - This CD-ROM version contains annual records of books, manuscripts, autographs, maps, and broadsides sold at auction in North America, the United Kingdom, Germany, Holland, Australia, and other locations, for the auction years starting with 1975.

Early American Imprints, Series I. Evans (1639-1800) - Provides full-text, digital images of books, pamphlets, broadsheets and periodicals published in America from 1639-1800.

Early English Books Online (EEBO) - Full text of every book printed in England, Scotland, and Ireland, and every book in the English language printed abroad, from 1475 to 1700.

English Short Title Catalogue - Descriptions of English printing from 1473 to 1800.

Hand Press Book database - European early print materials (c.1455-1830).

Illustrated Incunable Short-title Catalogue (Illustrated ISTC), 2nd Ed. - Illustrated descriptions for every recorded edition published from movable type from 1450 to 1500. - Over 600,000 pages of key out-of-print bibliographies that can be browsed and searched online. Important reference books available include Goff, Brunet, Sabin, and Lipperheide, among many others. [Also available on the web through paid subscription.]

WorldCat - OCLC - A union catalog detailing the holdings of OCLC member libraries. Provides a wealth of bibliographic information for book collectors.

Internet Sites Related to Book Collecting

  • AIC Guidelines for Selecting a Conservator
    Information from the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works on how to select a conservation practitioner. Contact information for the AIC office is given; on request, they will provide a geographic listing of conservators, by specialization, who can provide the type of service required.

  • Bookfinder
    Simultaneously searches several online bookstores. Provides a comparative overview of current bookseller’s pricing.

  • Books and Book Collecting
    Comprehensive collection of links to sites and resources related to book collecting.

  • Book Information Website
    Covers history of printing, publishing, paper, binding, book trade, etc., with related links.

  • Oxford University Early Printed Books Project
    Gateway to the world of early printed books. Links to libraries, special collections, web exhibitions, and other information resources.

  • Fine Printing
    Brings together some basic documents related to British and American private presses of the 19th and 20th centuries. Selected links to other bibliophilic sites on the Web.

  • “Your Old Books”
    Essay guide covering frequently asked questions about rare books and values such as “What makes a book rare?” and “How can I be sure that a dealer will give me a fair price?”

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