01 Sep The World’s Most Valuable Children’s Books
Children’s books have a certain whimsy and appeal to them. They can take us back to our own fond childhood memories. But, once your children are grown, you may find yourself perusing these old favorites less and less. It might surprise you to know that some of these old books can be quite valuable. Depending on the book, the edition, whether or not it’s been signed, and the condition it’s in, you may be sitting on a treasure trove. Here are just a few of the books that may have some value if you were to sell them.
A Wrinkle in Time
A Wrinkle in Time is a captivating story about three children who go on an adventure through dimensions of spacetime with three somewhat mystical beings who help guide them to where the siblings’ father is being held captive by a powerful evil. The first book in the Time Quintet written by Madeleine L’Engle, this book has been enjoyed by people of all ages. It’s also worth a pretty penny if you have the right edition. 1962 first editions sell for anywhere from $7,500 to $17,600. How much it’s worth depends on the condition of the book and whether or not it’s been signed, with signed copies in good condition with a pristine dust jacket ranking as the most expensive.
Winnie the Pooh
A collection of stories about our favorite stuffed bear, Winnie the Pooh has been a beloved classic for nearly a century. Even older readers will enjoy the friendly relationships between the characters. If you have an original 1926 first edition, you may be in luck if you’re interested in selling your used book. If your copy is signed by both the author and illustrator, is in good condition, and has a dust jacket that is also in good condition, you could potentially sell it and get a good amount of money for it. One such copy was sold for $11,851 in 2016.
The Velveteen Rabbit
Told from the perspective of a stuffed rabbit, The Velveteen Rabbit offers a tale about love, loss, and becoming. It’s one of the shorter books on our list, but still has the potential to be quite valuable. Margery Williams wrote this sweet children’s tale, and first printings feature chromolithograph illustrations done by William Nicholson. It can sell at auctions for $8,000, but one copy sold for $15,950 in 2015. Again, the presence and condition of the dust jacket can significantly influence the value of the book. The more pristine the condition, the more it is worth.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Roald Dahl has been known to come up with some really creative and engaging stories that children really enjoy. Kids, candy, and mischief – what’s not to love? Charlie and the Chocolate Factory tells the story of Charlie Bucket who comes from a family with little means. It covers his adventure into Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory that he shares with four other children whose behavior is questionable at times, though not without consequence. A signed first edition with an immaculate dust cover once sold for $25,000. Talk about a golden ticket!
Where the Wild Things Are
Modern picture books aren’t typically what you would consider to be high value books, but Where the Wild Things Are is one exception. Written and illustrated by Maurice Sendak, this book was first published by Harper & Row in 1963. It tells the story of Max, a boy whose parents sent him to bed without dinner for poor behavior. He winds up on an island populated by wild things who make him their king before he returns home to his parents. A fun tale about a mischievous boy, good quality first edition copies have sold for $10,000. One notable transaction resulted in a sale of $25,000!
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
In 1997, Bloomsbury published 500 first edition copies of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, 200 of which were sold to the public. These rare finds have a sequence that counts down from 10 and lists the author as Joann Rowling. The first book of a seven book series follows Harry Potter as he begins his magical education at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Adults who loved it as children are now reading it to their children, creating a new generation who love the books as well. An unblemished and unsigned first edition copy sold for $37,000 in 2005 at the height of Potter-mania.
J.R.R. Tolkein is arguably responsible for what modern fantasy books are like today. The Hobbit follows the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit who is hired as a thief by a band of dwarves determined to take back their treasure that is being guarded by a cunning dragon. This book has been loved by people of all ages since its first publishing in 1937. The price for one of the 1,500 first edition copies reflects both the love of the public and the influence of the author. The most expensive copy was sold for $210,500, complete with an Elvish inscription handwritten by Tolkein himself, and was described as having an exceptional dust jacket.
If you are in need of some extra cash and you have the right book in the right condition, you may be able to sell your used books online for quite a tidy profit. Take a look through your collection of children’s books and see if you have any of these titles in the right edition and in good condition.