10 of the most valuable Children’s Books
What are the most valuable vintage children's books in the world? First editions of famous children’s books are very rare, which also make them extremely valuable and sought after. Of course, there is also the magic that a first edition of any book conveys: Whoever read it for the first time had no idea that one day eager collectors would be paying high prices to possess a book that was not as precious at the time of its publication. First editions are like steppingstones…. These beautiful books gave a very limited numbers of readers a unique first read of a becoming bestseller. I’m a first edition treasure hunter. Whenever I go to second-hand bookshops or vintage stores, I’m hoping to find a dusty first edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland or The Tale of Peter Rabbit. One can dream!
Antique Children's Books: What does the value depend on?
Of course, the value of a first edition is partially determined by its condition. If the book is in a good condition, one can expect it to be worth a lot more. The binding often gives away whether it is a true first edition or not. There are also other little things that can reveal more about the value of the book. For example, a real first edition of the Wonderful Wizard of OZ has no copyright information on the first page (they forgot about it!). This means that the value of a true first edition depends on the finer details.
Another factor that influences the price tag of a first edition is the number of copies that were initially printed. Scarcity makes a book more valuable.
The price tag of a first edition also depends on its popularity- Note that the popularity of books can change over time.
Let's take a look at some of the most valuable children's books that you can buy. (There might be a few surprises!)
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (J.K.Rowling)
Initially, only 500 editions of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone were printed in 1997. Around 300 were given to libraries. And the remaining 200? If you have an old edition of this books, check the numbers on the back. It should say "10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1" and display Rowling's actual name "Joanne Rowling". Prices vary between $37000 and even $55000. But wait a minute! The deluxe edition of the first volume (printed in 1999) can also be worth between $450 and $2500.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll)
The first 2000 copies of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland were published in November 1865. These beautiful books are valued at up to £30000.
But it gets even better: Before the novel was published, Macmillan & Co sent Lewis Carroll 50 copies for his friends and family. Furthermore, Carroll's publishing house was planning on publishing the book in July and not in November. However, John Tenniel, the famous illustrator of Alice's Adventures, wasn't happy with the quality of the prints. Thus, Carroll returned the 50 copies and withdrew the print run. Apparently only 22 copies still exist! You are wondering what such a rare copy could be worth? About £1.3m -£2m.
The Hobbit (J.R.R. Tolkien)
In the UK 1500 first editions were published by the publishing house Allen & Unwin in 1937. One of the first copies could be worth up to $65000.
If you happen to have one of the first signed editions of A.A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh it could be worth up to $11000!
The Velveteen Rabbit (Margery Williams)
Firstly published in 1922, a first edition is valued at around $17000!
The Tales of Beedle the Bard (J.K.Rowling)
Back to J.K. Rowling! There are only 7 special editions of this book with Rowling's own illustrations. One edition sold for £1.95 million in an auction!
The Tale of Peter Rabbit (Beatrix Potter)
Over 118 years ago, you could have bought the first edition of The Tale of Peter Rabbit for about 14p. Nowadays it is worth around £43000.
Wonderful Wizard of OZ (Frank Baum)
In 2012, a first edition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz from 1900 was bought for £6100.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (C.S.Lewis)
The 1950s first edition of The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe could be worth up to £7000.
The Wind in the Willows (Kenneth Grahame)
A first copy of The Wind in the Willows could be sold for around £10000- £32000.