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The Value of Your Book Collection?

 
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The Value of Your Book Collection? - 2/23/2008 6:05:15 AM   
KG Erwin


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I've been collecting military history books for well over 30 years, and some of it is pretty rare. I've priced some of these through what's been offered on E-Bay, and was frankly surprised.

As it stands, I may want to consider insuring the collection. Not to be morbid, but my family can make some money once I'm gone, so my wife needs to know that I actually do own some "junk" that's worth something.

Who else is in this category? Is a collection of several hundred military books something to be considered an heirloom, or simply "stuff" to be sold at an estate sale?
Post #: 1
RE: The Value of Your Book Collection? - 2/23/2008 11:32:50 AM   
sterckxe


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quote:

ORIGINAL: KG Erwin
Who else is in this category? Is a collection of several hundred military books something to be considered an heirloom, or simply "stuff" to be sold at an estate sale?


Most books are not worth much on the second hand market - but if you're talking several hundred the numbers can add up.

Same for a collection of boardgames - they may be precious to you - but unless they're extremely rare, shrinkwrapped or in mint condition they won't fetch much. But again it's a numbers game : if you got several hundred of them ...

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx

(in reply to KG Erwin)
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RE: The Value of Your Book Collection? - 2/23/2008 12:51:47 PM   
Neilster


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Approximately two trillion dollars but it could be significantly more. You know all those Ancient Greek scrolls that supposedly burned when the library at Alexandria went up in flames? Nah...I've got 'em in my spare room. Along with a second century bible, the Hitler diaries...the list goes on.

Cheers, Neilster

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RE: The Value of Your Book Collection? - 2/23/2008 7:52:23 PM   
Brigz


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quote:

ORIGINAL: KG Erwin

I've been collecting military history books for well over 30 years, and some of it is pretty rare. I've priced some of these through what's been offered on E-Bay, and was frankly surprised.

As it stands, I may want to consider insuring the collection. Not to be morbid, but my family can make some money once I'm gone, so my wife needs to know that I actually do own some "junk" that's worth something.

Who else is in this category? Is a collection of several hundred military books something to be considered an heirloom, or simply "stuff" to be sold at an estate sale?
Just out of curiosity, what books do you have that are rare and would be worth insuring? Can you give any examples of some of your rare books and how much you think they are worth. Any signed first editions? I have been collecting books too, both history and fiction, but I doubt if my collection of several hundred books would bring more than a thousand dollars and that's not worth insuring to me. I am always curious to hear about collectable books.


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RE: The Value of Your Book Collection? - 2/23/2008 9:11:31 PM   
KG Erwin


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Dave, I don't have any single editions that are worth more than $40-$50, but taken all together, the entire collection is maybe worth a couple of thousand dollars.

Amongst these are Martin Schenck's "Up Came Hill" (1958), L. Van Loan Naisawald's "Grape and Canister" (1960), and E.P. Alexander's "Military Memoirs of a Confederate" (1962 ed). These have intact dust jackets, and all have been subsequently reissued in recent years.

< Message edited by KG Erwin -- 2/23/2008 9:14:51 PM >

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RE: The Value of Your Book Collection? - 2/24/2008 12:31:56 AM   
Mobius


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I've been collecting books for about that long too. Sadly to say the older ones aren't fairing too well with some bindings coming apart. Even the expensive Hunnicutt books the page edges are turning color.

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RE: The Value of Your Book Collection? - 2/24/2008 12:50:22 AM   
Custer1961

 

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In addition to value, the other question is what will you do with the collection after you are gone?  I have over 1500 and no one in my family shows the slightest interest in the collection.  It would be nice to see the collection serve a purpose after I am done with it.

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RE: The Value of Your Book Collection? - 2/24/2008 9:50:00 PM   
Armygrognard


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Here's what I found when my father died. He had many books on different subjects, but since he and my mom were divorced, though I talked a lot with him, we never spent much time together in the later years, especially at his apartment. When he died, I had to go through his things. So much that was probably meaningful to him meant little to me. He had over 200+ big band cds, which I like a bit, but not that much. he had books on the bands. Again, not my interest.

I kept the cd's and books only out mof my love and respect for him. But since I hadn't 'bought' into it, they don't mean much to me. That made me re-examine what I have and why I think it's important. I have taken out old Airfix soldiers and vehicles for my kids to play with. They now mean something to them. Same with my books (when they come out of storage when I return from my European exile). I want them to appreciate them so when I die, they will WANT them for them, not just because they were mine.

Not sure if all that make sense. If your books are valuable, but they don't care for the subject, then they'll probably be sold. I suggest finding a relative that shares your love for the subject and leaving the books to him/her in your will. That way, they will be appreciated.

(in reply to KG Erwin)
Post #: 8
RE: The Value of Your Book Collection? - 2/24/2008 10:33:27 PM   
Zap


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Armygrognard said:
"Not sure if all that make sense. If your books are valuable, but they don't care for the subject, then they'll probably be sold. I suggest finding a relative that shares your love for the subject and leaving the books to him/her in your will. That way, they will be appreciated. "


If any of you in America have seen the "Antiques Road Show" on TV? It would be a good Idea for family to investigate if your family members collection of its value(in this case books). You never know you may be surprised to learn of their value. In other words don't just throw it in the garbage . So even, if your not interested in keeping it, you could recieve the value of the collection. And someone who does value those things you don't will make good use of them.

Oh, and welcome Armygrognard

< Message edited by Zap -- 2/24/2008 10:57:00 PM >


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RE: The Value of Your Book Collection? - 2/25/2008 7:06:36 PM   
SireChaos

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: KG Erwin

I've been collecting military history books for well over 30 years, and some of it is pretty rare. I've priced some of these through what's been offered on E-Bay, and was frankly surprised.

As it stands, I may want to consider insuring the collection. Not to be morbid, but my family can make some money once I'm gone, so my wife needs to know that I actually do own some "junk" that's worth something.

Who else is in this category? Is a collection of several hundred military books something to be considered an heirloom, or simply "stuff" to be sold at an estate sale?


You mentioned planning to insure these books. I´ve worked in the insurance business for some years (though I no longer do now), and based on my experience, with the price levels you´re talking about, I do not think special insurance is necessary. Still it might be a good idea to ask your household insurance company if they can point you towards some expert for appraising these types of books, just to be on the same side. Unlike money, jewelry, stamps and the like, books like yours are not the kind of high-value goods that burglars like to steal. Unless they really are rare signed first editions or something.
However, it might be a good idea to keep a list of these books in a separate place (such as in a bank safe, or with relatives), where it cannot be destroyed along with the books, should anything happen to them - maybe include a picture of the bookshelf for additional evidence as well. This way you can prove which books you had, in case something bad happens.

ETA: I should add, all my experience is here in Germany. Practices regarding high-value objects might be different where you live; when in doubt, read the household insurance contract and/or consult your insurance company.

< Message edited by SireChaos -- 2/25/2008 7:25:56 PM >

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Post #: 10
RE: The Value of Your Book Collection? - 2/25/2008 7:32:01 PM   
cdbeck


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I was reading recently about a person who had a similar problem with their collection of books on the paranormal, metaphysics, parapsychology and the like (UFOs, Telepathy, etc). These are some rare and hard to find books (some of the old ones) but the person had tremendous trouble trying to find a buyer or even a place to donate the books to. The person had a terminal illness, and eventually did pass away, the writer of the article was a bit unsure as to the fate of the collection, but I believe either a local library or local university took them into their collection.

So here is the question to ask yourself. Do you really want these books to go to an estate sale type auction, where they will fetch very little of their worth in knowledge? You could try to Amazon.com auction them or eBay them, but that would be laborious and get very little. Second-hand bookstores (like those in New York City) will by some, but again, at very low cost. You just aren't looking at much.

So why not think about benefiting future historians by donating these books to a library or a university, like the aforementioned person. If you have little time left on this world (and I certainly hope this is not the case) then I suggest you start looking into this type of avenue early on, to save your loved ones from dealing with the trouble unloading these books would cause. Write to some intellectual institutions, see if they would be interested, and work out how you might will them the books.

Just an idea, if you are interested in that article, I can try to get it to you.

SoM


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"Neca eos omnes. Deus suos agnoscet!"
(Kill them all. God will know his own.)

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Post #: 11
RE: The Value of Your Book Collection? - 2/25/2008 9:12:42 PM   
Armygrognard


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Joined: 2/23/2008
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Zap

If any of you in America have seen the "Antiques Road Show" on TV? It would be a good Idea for family to investigate if your family members collection of its value(in this case books). You never know you may be surprised to learn of their value. In other words don't just throw it in the garbage . So even, if your not interested in keeping it, you could recieve the value of the collection. And someone who does value those things you don't will make good use of them.

Oh, and welcome Armygrognard


Thanks Zap!

I love that show. Now that I am in germany (and have Sky satillite) I can see the English version. Cool to see the different items in Europe.

I have a few old (as in 1840-1900 old) that I need to get appraised and look into better preserving. No idea as to the value.

(in reply to Zap)
Post #: 12
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