Now…about first editions.
One of my most interesting blog buddies is The Unbearable Banishment, otherwise known as UB. A few days ago he wrote about one of his passions–collecting rare books. As a fellow book lover, I read with interest and got to thinking about some books in my own collection by Frank L. Baum, author of The Wizard of Oz. These books belonged to mother when she was a little girl in the 1930s and I found them one day when I was poking around in the upstairs of my grandmother’s (really) old house.
I always wondered if they were first editions and if they had any value. I took some shots and sent them to UB.
I took advantage of his good nature and asked what he thought about my book.
I said to let me know if this was an imposition, and he assured me that it wasn’t.
He got back with me a few days later.
Considering its condition, this book, which very well may be a first edition, is worth maybe $2oo. (And this one is in the best shape of the several I have.) Even if it was in mint condition, it would only be worth about $2,000.
But do you know what mint condition means? It means that no one ever read it. No one traveled back to Oz with Dorothy and went on new adventures with old friends like the Tin Man and Scarecrow and new ones like the Patchwork Girl. These Oz books were the first of the fanciful books I read…followed in short order by the Narnia tales and then the Lord of the Rings.
An unread book may have monetary value, but what about the value of imagination and even inspiration for someone destined to be a writer? Hard to put a price on that.
It’s been ages since I read these books and I need to find them a new home. I know a little girl that I think will be quite a reader in a few years. She’ll appreciate them for their stories and for their intended purpose–to be read.