Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Second-guessing first editions

Some of you know that I collect books — not necessarily first editions, but old books, particularly illuatrated classics or books with pretty covers. So as a book collector, this story caught my attention:

eBay Bidder's 'Dreams' About Barack Obama Realized

The story includes a sound clip from back in 2004, an interview with a book collector who was bidding on a first edition hardcover of Obama's Dreams from My Father. She bid well over $200, but the book ultimately sold for just over $300.

In the interview, the collector justifies her bid by noting that Obama was sure to become famous, the implications being that first editions of his book — which apparently didn't have a large print run initially, at least by presidental standards — would gain significantly in value. The general consensus in collecting is that you can't predict what first editions will become valuable, because it has to do with not only the size of the first print run, but also how the book is received and how popular the author becomes (low availability combined with high demand). But this collector definitely called it, as a first edition copy of the book apparently now sells on eBay for $5,000!


Lori said...

Wow! My mother would be over the moon to hear this! She's always scouring auctions for the latest "up and coming" trend in antiques/collectibles.

FYI, I just bought my husband some first-edition Ernest Thompson Seton books (he is credited with starting the Boy Scouts). They were dirt cheap and the illustrations are divine. Lovely nature stories!

Katharine Swan said...

How cool Lori! Collectible books make such great gifts, don't they? One of my first presents for my husband was the Millenium Edition of The Lord of the Rings (which was worth much more then than it is now -- stupid economy!).

My mom doesn't necessarily look for the trends, but she loves antiques and collectibles! She practically lives at the local Goodwill, which is admittedly a bad habit, because there is more junk there than treasure -- but the memories of the few treasures she has found keep her coming back!


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