Antique Books - Adding value to your collection

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As a book collector myself I have learnt a few tips and rules of collecting that can help add value to a collection and so I thought I should write a post about it.

If you are to collect books then you should make an attempt to make your collection as valuable as possible.


1. Create topics within your collection


Key to any book collection is the idea of topic collecting. For example, you will no doubt have a few books all focused upon one author or one topic that interests you. Try to get valuable editions of these where possible.

Take the James Bond books for example. The cheaper 'Book Club' editions are reasonably easy to buy but the rare books published by 'Jonathan Cape' are harder to come by. Try to build your collection slowly but surely and when possible upgrade the cheaper books to earlier or rarer editions.

I would also suggest you start a section of your collection (maybe one shelf of a bookcase) that focuses on classic/ famous books such as Alice in Wonderland, Ulysses or the Wind in the Willows. By having books that rarely lose value and often gain value you will be adding a core to your collection in terms of value. If you ever need to sell any of your books then these classic can go first but they will invariably help add strength to your collection.
                                                            Later in this guide I will show how to further add value to your coll

ection by upgrading these books.

Next I would suggest a decorative section purely for aesthetic appeal. You can turn your book case or book collection into a talking point with decorative, pretty books or impressive leather bound ones.

2. Single title collections

Some collectors will go after a certain title and try to collect as many editions of that title as possible. This is generally cheaper than collecting a range of titles and allows you to focus upon a single work. If you have a particular favourite book then this is a wise move as you are bound to build a valuable collection if you can get a range of copies of one title. Look for hard back editions with dustjackets where applicable for higher value than paperback equivalents.

3. Make a set

Having a set of books is something that can be a valuable collective item if you ever need to sell. Take, for example, Milne's famous four books. I would suggest rather than buying the set complete from someone else you should instead try to build your own. 

This may take time but by the end you will have almost certainly saved money.

Look on eBay and at regular intervals for the books you require and book by book build your set. 

Popular set for collecting include the Harry Potter series, the Narnia series and the Peter Rabbit series. Some sets will take longer than others - for example Ladybird books are very popular to collect due to low prices but the total set comprises of hundreds of books so be realistic about your collection size.

4. Upgrade Your Books

Once you have your desired books you can start with upgrading certain copies. For example, consider the set above, of Milne's four iconic books.

Now unless you are willing to spend close high hundreds for your set then you will most likely have later impressions rather than first editions. If you happen to have a fifth edition of When We Were Very Young' then at some later point you could procure a third edition of the same book and sell your old, later edition.

By slowly upgrading your books into better editions you will end up with a more valuable collection without a large initial cost. Tolkien's 'Smith of Wootton Major' below is shown simply to illustrate the fact that there are different editions for nearly all books printed and by slowly upgrading your books you can also add value to your collection.

5. Add signed memorabilia

Another sure fire way to add value to your collection is to add signed items to it.If you can't get a signed book then go for letters, postcards or even envelopes. These will invariably be cheaper than a signed book but can still add considerable value to a book as a package. 

If you have a signature from a well known author already then try to buy a valuable, early (or First if possible) edition of their most famous book. That way if you ever need to sell, the combination of autograph and valuable book ensures your collection is high in value.

Of course, if the book is written by a living writer then attending a signing or posting the book to the author for a signature can be a realistic and affordable option (albeit with a considerable amount of risk). 


Thanks for reading - I hope this post has helped you in some way.

                                          If you need any advice please feel free to contact me.

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