Are rare books really all that valuable?

Acquiring rare books can be a lucrative venture, but it can also provide us with an added level of enjoyment. While at times you may question whether or not rare books are really all the valuable – in fact -when done with some background information and following a certain set of guidelines, the simple answer here is – Yes!

The last thing you want to do, however is rush into any purchases that may lead towards spending money on books that in the end do need qualify as rare. What happens when you try to to sell the book and find out that it isn’t in fact worth much more than what you have paid?

BibliostopTo avoid situations such as these,here are some helpful rare book buying tips that will ensure you do not find yourself in the aforementioned predicament and have a better eye for those rare gems that will fetch you a higher value.


Can I Predict the Future Value of a Book?

One of the most important things to keep in mind when figuring out how much a rare book is worth is to go into it with the understanding that this process is not an exact science. There are a few featured elements of a book that are likely to increase its value among all rare books:

  • The condition – if a book is in pristine condition or as close to its original quality, the higher it will be valued.
  • The edition – finding a first edition book, often will mean that the book is rare and is likely to secure a higher price. Alternatively, if a book is a second, third or even a higher numbered edition – it can still be comparable to other valued rarities, if for example it is a collectible book with author’s initial comments, signature, etc. Overall, uncovering a book with a particular edition will definitely set it apart from the rest.
  • The history – In some cases, just because a book is old does not mean it is considered rare. knowing the history of a book and specifically who the previous book owners are can also be a way of pinpointing whether the book is in fact rare.

Can Collecting Rare Books be an Investment?

While various collectors may have differing opinions about this particular question, the basic answer here is more likely to lean towards – no. In some cases, rare book collectors can expect to make large profits in short amounts of time, however for the most part book dealings present a more long term investment strategy. Unlike cars, books tend not to lose their value over time, especially if they are kept in mint condition and possess other rare book qualities.

Another reason why there is more long term value in the rare book business, that again relates back to the idea that book collecting is not an exact science, is the fact that selling price of rare books is often not a fixed measure. In fact, the same book sold at different locations could fetch two very different prices, dependent on a variety of factors.

Collecting rare books, ultimately can be a lucrative business and if you have a passion for rare books, then this can give you the added inspiration and dedication to make your collection build value over time. Not only can these rules help you seek out the most rarest of books – it can also help you avoid making large expenditures on books that will not meet the standards of a rare book or antiquity.

For more information on collecting books, you can get in touch or participate in one of our online auctions.