A rare book collection can be priceless to its owner. We’ve read these books time and time again, keeping them safe on our bookshelves for years, maybe decades. Although you may not know it, those rare books can be worth thousands of dollars.
A book is timeless; the characters live on forever. Nearly four centuries ago, we were introduced to characters like Prospero from Shakespeare’s The Tempest and over a century ago, we first read about a detective named Sherlock Holmes from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s A Study in Scarlet. The popularity of characters and history of literature have created a market for rare books that are sold at auction, increasing its value.
There are many factors that influence the value of a rare book. If you have a first edition copy, you’re one step closer to needing insurance because of its worth. Just know that a first edition copy of Geoffrey Chaucer’s 15th-century masterpiece, The Canterbury Tales, was sold at Christie’s 1998 auction in London for $7.5 million.
To determine the value of your book or books, consider the following factors:
Age. How old is the book? Is it a copy of Harry Potter or a first edition of The Prophecies by Nostradamus that was published in 1566? Understand that most rare books worth any value were published centuries ago. Personal notes and stories from philosophers, revolutionaries and scientists like Leonardo Da Vinci and George Washington have brought dozens of suitors at auction and have sold for tens of millions of dollars.
Condition. You want to take care of your collection, and protect them even when they’re centuries old. If you think it is in pristine condition without tears, missing pages, or a torn cover, you could see value. There is a big difference in worth for books that are in pristine or fine condition versus those in simply a good condition. For collectors, condition—and scarcity—carries all the weight.
Scarcity. If the book was printed for the masses, a first edition might not hold as much value as a book that was printed in the hundreds. If you are in possession of a work that has only produced 100 copies, you will see the value begin to rise, making insurance all the more essential.
Author’s Signature. As in all memorabilia, you might think a signature increases the value of the book. An author that hand-signs their work will add collector value, but only if the book remains in excellent condition. If you see a signature inside the jacket of your book, know that a personal inscription carries less weight than just the signature—unless the inscription was intended for a very important person or figure in history.
Determine historical significance to literature or circumstance, ensure its printed edition, and look at the condition to really consider a book’s worth. You could have a gem hidden in your bookshelf and require protection in case of disaster.
If you come to the realization that you have hundreds of thousands, even millions of dollars on your bookshelf, it’s time to get insurance. Collectors insurance is a specialized policy that meets your needs and provides an agreed value to protect against any damage or theft that can occur. Contact our representatives today and see how our comprehensive coverage can protect your collection.