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Kurt Sanftleben
Kurt Sanftleben, Certified Appraiser
Category: Antiques
Satisfied Customers: 10
Experience:  Owner at Read'Em Again Books
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I would like to know the value of my antique book. it's

Customer Question

I would like to know the value of my antique book. it's title is" My Story of the War" by Mary A. Livermore . It is signed by the author and was published by A.D. Worthington & Co. in Hartford Connetticut in 1889. It has portraits and numerous full-page engravings on steel, and fine chromo-lithograph plates. The book is in good condition with a hardback cover with a small amount of fraying around some edges/
JA: Don't you just love the idea of finding something valuable in your attic? I do, but I think all I have up there is junk my brothers abandoned before they left home. Always a good idea to check things with the Antiques Appraiser, though. Is there anything else important you think the Antiques Appraiser should know?
Customer: I don't think so.
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Antiques
Expert:  Kurt Sanftleben replied 8 months ago.

Good evening. I'll be able to help you with this. My name is Kurt. I'm an antiquarian book dealer, a member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America, and a certified appraiser. Give me a few minutes to do a little research and I'll be right back.

Expert:  Kurt Sanftleben replied 8 months ago.

You have a nice title that is collected by both Civil War collectors and Nursing collectors. It was published in three different styles. First, there was a “cheap” edition (it is actually described that way in the book) with only a limited number of illustrations; it doesn’t sound like you have this edition. Then there were two regular editions, one bound in red with gilt decorations and lettering, and one with a leather cover. Both the leather and the red editions sell for about the same price. Generally, most collectors prefer the red edition, especially if it looks bright and fresh.

I’m assuming you have the red edition of this book and that it is complete with all of the required illustrations (there should be a couple of lists of the illustrations towards the front of the book, probably somewhere between pages 10-20), the binding is sound without split or cracked inner hinges, the pages (especially the color illustrations) are clean and untorn, and the fraying to the cover is minimal. If so, an antiquarian bookseller would probably set a retail price for around $175-$275. If your book is in better shape than that and the cover is bright and fresh, s/he would probably price it at around $350. If your book is in lesser condition (and I don’t think it is based on your description) the price would drop considerably.

If you were to try to sell you book to an antiquarian bookseller, s/he would probably offer about 20-30% of the retail value unless s/he had a customer for it waiting in the wings. If that was the case, I expect they’d be willing to offer up to about 70% of the retail value since they could turn it over quickly. These books sell well on eBay, and if you provided a decent write up with lots of pictures clearly showing the condition, I think you would probably be able to get 70-80% of the retail value.

Oh, I should mention the “autograph.” If you are referring to the author’s name on the frontispiece portrait, that is not actually her signature; it is a facsimile lithographic reproduction of her signature. If you have her signature elsewhere in the book, say inside the front cover or on the title page, that would add another $100-200 to the value of the book.

I hoped this helped.

If you have any additional questions, please ask. If not, I would greatly appreciate it if you would rate me using the stars at the top of the page. That’s how I get credit for helping.