Believe it or not, books published in the last half of the 19th century are plentiful. They were mass produced, much like today, so there are a lot of 100- to 150-year-old books floating around.

 

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Chatelaine's Antiques & Appraisals Magazine > Books & Manuscripts > Our Opinion: Pricing Century-Old Novels
 


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PRICING CENTURY-OLD NOVELS


Dear Chatelaine's Antiques,
I have two books. One is the Life and Adventures of A-No.1. It's the true story of how the author traveled 500,000 miles on only $7.61. It's signed and the copyright is 1910. I can't find anything on it. The other book is Pilgrim's Progress, dated 1893, with more than 100 illustrations by Frederick Barnard and others. Can you give me any information on these books?
E. O.


Dear E.O,
Believe it or not, books published in the last half of the 19th century are plentiful. They were mass produced, much like today, so there are a lot of 100- to 150-year-old books floating around. The recipe for a valuable book is a combination of high demand, good condition, and scarcity.
 
Two books found in many 18th- and 19th-century homes were the Bible and the Christian allegory,
Pilgrim's Progress, by John Bunyan. Like many classics, 19th-century copies of the work are common, and can be found for a dollar or two. Your edition, however, bound in pictorial colored cloth and profusely illustrated, was the sort of better book that might've been given as a gift. Unfortunately, it's still worth less than $10. Remember: condition is all-important. Your book appears warped and well used, and the illustrator, Frederick Barnard, isn't collected.
 
As for your other book, The Life and Adventures of A-No.1, I'm not surprised to hear that you could find very little about it. A-No.1 seems to be rather scarce. The book looks to have been self-published and probably didn't get a very large distribution. Not only that, but since the book is soft cover and therefore less durable, few copies have survived.
 
All that said it's still not an expensive book. There's just not much demand for it. In fact, after an extensive search, I found a dealer who had it, and he's asking $20.

 

 

 

 

The Pilgrim's Progress in Modern English John Bunyan

The Annotated Wizard of Oz:
A Centennial Edition

by Frank Baum

Treasure Island
by Robert Louis Stevenson

Tales from the Prince of Storytellers
by Robert Louis Stevenson

The Oxford Illustrated Jane Austen
(Six Volume Set)

by Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen

The Count of Monte Cristo
by Alexandre Dumas

Edgar Allan Poe:
Poetry and Tales

by Edgar Allan Poe

Mark Twain:
Collected Tales, Sketches, Speeches & Essays, 1852-1890

by Mark Twain

Washington Irving

Moby Dick or the Whale
by Herman Melville

Frankenstein:
Or the Modern Prometheus

by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

David Copperfield
by Charles Dickens

The Prisoner of Zenda & Rupert of Hentzau
by Anthony Hope