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What to do with old books (late 1800s, early 1900s) [SOLVED]

ReznikReznik Registered User regular
edited December 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
My mom has a box of old books that she doesn't want to keep in the basement anymore, but she doesn't want to chuck them out because maybe one of them might be worth something (well, that and the fact that it's kind of cool having something that old). I don't imagine any of them would be valuable unless they're first editions or something, but I know nothing of book values so maybe you folks could help me out or point me to somewhere informative.

I'll include all the information I can get out of the books, and if pictures would help then I can get those too.

The oldest books are:

The Life of Kitt Carson by Edward S. Ellis, copyright 1889, The American News Company, published by Grosset & Dunlap, New York

Sir Henry Morgan, Buccaneer by Cyrus Townsend Brady, copyright 1903 The Pearson Publishing Company

The Mutiny of the Elsinore by Jack London, copyright 1913 and 1914, published September 1914

Adventure by Jack London, copyright 1910 and 1911, published March 1911

Then there's a copy of Huckleberry Finn by Samuel Clemens that doesn't have any dates in the book at all. It just says 'printed in the United States of America' and has 'Books Inc' on the spine.

The books aren't in the greatest condition, but they're all still held together and perfectly readable. I'm probably more looking at what to do with them than if they're worth anything. Seems like a shame to just throw them out.

Reznik on

Posts

  • ZombiemamboZombiemambo Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Museum, maybe?

    JKKaAGp.png
  • ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Sounds like a cool thing to have on a bookshelf.

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  • ReznikReznik Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    @Zombiemambo, I was thinking museum, but the only museum in town is just about local things, so I don't know if they'd take them.

    Bookshelf would be nice, but we have little space in our house and my mom is looking to get rid of stuff. I might see if my brother wants them, but he's not really settled in any one place yet so it might just be a hassle to cart them around.

  • ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Museum, maybe?

    We have so much garbage that important people donated to us that is just taking up space. The process to remove that stuff from collections is a long, long process.

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  • matt has a problemmatt has a problem Six pack on a dick Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Online, you're probably not going to find much more than people over-valuing their own collections to sell on ebay. Your best bet would be to go to a used book shop, or any antique dealer, and ask their opinion.

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  • ZombiemamboZombiemambo Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Museum, maybe?

    We have so much garbage that important people donated to us that is just taking up space. The process to remove that stuff from collections is a long, long process.

    It's actually because of the collections that I was thinking about it. Do you honestly remove lots of stuff?

    JKKaAGp.png
  • ceresceres Love is in the battlecry Nevada, USASuper Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited December 2009
    The Huck Finn book sounds like it might be worth something... I don't know about the rest. Condition of the book is usually pretty important. I would do a search and see if you can find some book collectors to get an idea of what people are interested in.

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  • ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Museum, maybe?

    We have so much garbage that important people donated to us that is just taking up space. The process to remove that stuff from collections is a long, long process.

    It's actually because of the collections that I was thinking about it. Do you honestly remove lots of stuff?

    We'd love to, but for a number of reasons (bureaucracy, man hours, trying to not get sanctioned/black balled) it isn't a priority. It's amazing how much stuff, and what kind of stuff we have in collections.
    Coral, butterflies, an Odyssey, some flint lock pistols, mildly radioactive things, a few hundred mounted animals from around the world, old magazines, blueprints, a lantern projector...
    Its all wonderful stuff, but for now, utterly useless. Hell, we have a load of actual Aztec artifacts just sitting locked up.

    edit: Haha, I just remember being told that there is some old guy trying to donate an entire mounted elephant to us. He'd get a huge tax deduction for donating it, but theres no fucking way we're taking it. I mean, really. That;s just ridiculous. Sorry old man, you wanted to kill and mount an elephant, you deal with it.

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  • ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    ceres wrote: »
    The Huck Finn book sounds like it might be worth something... I don't know about the rest. Condition of the book is usually pretty important. I would do a search and see if you can find some book collectors to get an idea of what people are interested in.

    From what I remember of Antiques Roadshow, first editions, signatures, and famous works/people.

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  • squeefishsqueefish Registered User
    edited December 2009
    I work at a used bookstore, and we check how much books are worth by searching them on abebooks.com. Just go to Advanced Search and search your results by lowest price. This will show you what other people are selling the same book for online.

    And I have never searched a book that didn't at least get a few results on abebooks (and we have had some reeeally obscure books before). Generally if you get fewer than 10 results it means the book is quite rare.

    Good luck!

  • ReznikReznik Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    That abebooks site helped a lot. Sir Henry Morgan is worth about $15 in a condition far better than the copy I have, the copy of Huck Finn is a reprint most likely from the 30s, $5-10 at most. Kit Carson might be worth a bit more. The only description that matched the copy I have was unsure if it was a reprint or not, and had it priced around $50.

    The rest of the books seem to be in the $5 area. Oh well. Looks like we'll just scout around town and see what kinds of places will take them. Thanks for the help!

  • matt has a problemmatt has a problem Six pack on a dick Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Be sure to flip through the pages of all the books, at least once. Kind of fan them out, shake them a little. My wife found her great great grandfather's Civil War discharge papers in an old Bible that her parents were planning to throw away that way. People have found old baseball cards, money, all kinds of strange things. Worth a shot at least.

    h1DI1.jpg
    All my fuckin life I lived a normal fuckin life
  • ReznikReznik Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Hah, I found a bookmark in one:

    "This bookmark tells you where you stopped reading.

    A tuberculin test would tell you something harder to find out and more important - whether or not you have been infected by TB germs.

    Have you had a tuberculin test? If not, consult your Health Department, Tuberculosis Association or family doctor.

    Women's Auxiliary to the Fort William Sanatorium"

  • ceresceres Love is in the battlecry Nevada, USASuper Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited December 2009
    Reznik wrote: »
    That abebooks site helped a lot. Sir Henry Morgan is worth about $15 in a condition far better than the copy I have, the copy of Huck Finn is a reprint most likely from the 30s, $5-10 at most. Kit Carson might be worth a bit more. The only description that matched the copy I have was unsure if it was a reprint or not, and had it priced around $50.

    The rest of the books seem to be in the $5 area. Oh well. Looks like we'll just scout around town and see what kinds of places will take them. Thanks for the help!
    Actually, my dad collects old books, and I think he might really like to have the Huck Finn one.. I might be interested in buying that from you for something to give to him.

    PM me if you want.

    edit: I think he'd also get a giant kick out of that bookmark!

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    The avalanche has already started; it is too late for the pebbles to vote.
  • ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Reznik wrote: »
    Hah, I found a bookmark in one:

    "This bookmark tells you where you stopped reading.

    A tuberculin test would tell you something harder to find out and more important - whether or not you have been infected by TB germs.

    Have you had a tuberculin test? If not, consult your Health Department, Tuberculosis Association or family doctor.

    Women's Auxiliary to the Fort William Sanatorium"

    Frame the book mark.

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