Friday 19th August 2022 - Cara Bentham
A trip down memory lane (and your bookshelf) could earn a tidy sum!
If, like many of us, you have amassed a vast book collection over the years, you could be sitting on a fortune. Early editions of popular stories can be worth thousands, so it's worth sorting through your bookshelves to see if any valuable titles are sitting there.
These five iconic children's stories are loved by young and old alike. But that's not all they have in common; each title on this list can be worth a fortune if it's an early edition in good condition.
You're probably not surprised to see this modern classic on the list. The first story in JK Rowling's popular series has been known to sell for huge sums at auction. If you have one of the rare original prints of this book, it's worth a fortune. The highest price paid for this iconic children's book was £356,000 for a mint condition copy from the first print run in 1997, of which there were only 500. Depending on the print edition and physical state of the book, early versions could be worth anywhere between a few hundred and several hundred thousand pounds.
JRR Tolkien's classic The Hobbit was first published in 1937 and has since become one of the most popular books ever written. If you own an early edition of this book, you could be sitting on a fortune. First, second and second revised editions have all sold for thousands at auction. To date, the highest price paid for a copy was £137,000. Signed copies, and those with a dedication, are worth more. Other factors that undoubtedly affect a copy's value are the condition and whether it has its original dust jacket.
Most of us will fondly remember reading Dr Seuss's books in our childhood, with their cheerful illustrations and humorous rhymes. The Cat in the Hat, a household favourite, was first published in 1957, and hardback first editions of this title, in very good condition, can fetch several thousand pounds. While its value may not rival The Hobbit or Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, it's still worth a rummage in your loft or bookshelf.
A.A. Milne's Winnie the Pooh stories are loved by generations worldwide. The original stories are just as popular today as when they were first published almost a hundred years ago. The most valuable Winnie the Pooh book is a first edition of the complete collection, which includes four stories: Winnie the Pooh, The House at Pooh Corner, When We Were Very Young, and Now We Are Six. In excellent condition, an original copy of the whole collection (1924 – 28) could be worth up to £20,000. First edition copies of the single book, Winnie the Pooh, can fetch several thousand pounds in very good condition.
The first print run of the Charles Dickens' classic, A Christmas Carol, produced 6,000 copies in 1843. The author wanted to ensure it was affordable and, as such, priced the book at a mere 5 shillings. Reaching the shelves of bookstores on December 19th, it sold out by Christmas Eve. A true first edition of the iconic novel can now fetch tens of thousands of pounds in good condition. If you have an early edition of A Christmas Carol, it could be worth as much as £30,000.
These five children's books are just a small selection of the titles known to fetch many thousands at auction. If you're looking for something to do this weekend, consider sorting through your bookshelves to see if you have any valuable books in your possession.