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Chatelaine's Antiques and Appraisals Magazine > Books & Manuscripts > Our Opinion: Library Books Bad Collecting

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Dear Chatelaine's Antiques,
I have just started collecting books, specifically romance novels, children's books, and cookbooks. My question is a simple one. Is a first edition that was formerly in the library and still bears the stamp on the inside cover worth the same as any other? Or does that decrease its value?

Dear TS,
Library books are great for reading, but terrible for collecting. In fact, library books are so bad that collectors make a point of distinguishing them from others.
Books, Manuscripts, Autographs  "Ex-library copy" is one of the standard condition grades in the used and rare book trade, and ex-library copies are usually worth no more than 10 to 20 percent of a book in Very Good or Fine condition. Most dealers won't buy or sell them.
Typically, librarians stamp the book with the name of the library in several places and glue a library pocket to the front or back. Then if they don't completely discard the dust jacket an integral part of book they slather it with library stickers and paste it to the inside of the covers. After all of that damage, it's simply impossible to restore a book to its original condition.

Think about taking a Tiffany lamp, writing "Property of" with a permanent marker on it, scratching your name in the glass, and gluing on an extra lampshade. You can see why in collectors' eyes, books that have seen library service have been mutilated and are quite unwanted.




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