Monday, April 03, 2006

Can someone tell me why this book sold for $2100?

This children's book from 1975 sold for $2100 on ebay a couple of weeks ago. Why oh why is it worth that much?

I googled the author's name and title to see if there was any info about the specialness of this book. Nothing. I looked on Amazon. There are no customer reviews (paperback copies of this book sell for $400-$1100 on Amazon, by the way). There are scads of other title written by this author that aren't worth anything.

Here is a page of text from the book: "Arthur said, 'The lifeguard looks just like Chester.' Martha said, 'The lifeguard looks just like Chester.' But mother said, 'Don't be silly, that's not Chester. Chester is at Aunt Maude's house. And what's more, cats can't be lifeguards. Cats don't like water."

Not exactly prose comparable to Beatrix Potter, A. A. Milne, Lewis Carroll, L. Frank Baum or even Dr. Seuss (first edition books by these authors sold in the $1800-4000 range last month). And look at the tape on the hinges. And the boring illustrations on the cover.

What gives? Who knows. If the book someday gives us a nice chunk of change I won't complain. Going now to write that title down in my bookseller notebook.
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Blogger Mimi said...

You got me. Let me know what you find out, though.

3:29 PM  
Blogger Elaine Krieg Smith said...


It seems to be the whole nostalgia thing. This is apparently one of those books that is remembered fondly. Now baby-boomers with deep pockets want to find it again to recapture those memories or perhaps start new ones with children or grandchildren.

It is not the book they are paying for but the MEMORY and experience. My guess is the book is only worth big $$ to those who had it as part of their childhood.

The seller did a good job of describing her family's attachment to the book and perhaps stirring up memories.

When I showed this book as one of the top ten on my blog I got a comment from a reader who says her kids (now 25, 21 & 17) still remembers the "punchline" of "That's Not Chester" from story time at the library. The verse must be very fun for kids and very memorable.

The book was apparently not printed in large numbers (or was read so much it fell apart!) and is therefore hard to find. It shows how profitable a little book knowledge can be!

Elaine Krieg Smith

5:22 AM  
Anonymous merriamweb said...

I've been looking for this book - the old-fashioned way: garage sales, used bookstores, etc. - for many years, and was very surprised to find a couple years ago that it was beyond expensive if you could find one. It was indeed one of MY favorite books of my daughter's, and she sold it as part of "her stuff" when we moved in 1982. I started missing it a few years after, don't even remember why other than that she had written her name at the end of the book in that cute lopsided 5-yr-old way, and we'd had so many fun times reading it again & again. Now that she has her own child, I want the book even more! But, I won't be paying hundreds of $$ so it might just remain a memory.

10:38 AM  

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