Antique books valuations

How Much Is Your Antique Books Worth?

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Antique books valuations

Do you own any antiquarian books? Are you curious to know what they are worth? Our Experts can provide a free appraisal to give you an estimate of the market price, then help you to ensure the best possible price should you decide to sell.

What is the market value of an antiquarian book?

There is a fabulous cultural heritage surrounding collecting books and manuscripts. This field crosses time and the world and such collections cover all fields of knowledge. This very specific field is well-regulated by a market for the sale and resale of rare books, which is supported by enthusiasts. Bibliophiles from all over the world sell and resell all kinds of rare books. The book market is driven by supply and demand. Over time, the value of certain types of books can increase or decrease.

Determining the history of your book to know its value

Before selling your old book, it is important to analyse its intrinsic value. Of course, the general condition of your book and its binding will have a major impact on its price. A book in poor condition can lose its value – pages or illustrations should not be missing or damaged. The condition of your book is therefore crucial to increasing your chances of selling an antiquarian book at a good price.

How can you estimate the value of an antique book yourself?

First of all, find out what type of book you own, how old it is and identify its publisher. An original edition or handwritten text will not have the same value as a copy or a reprinted book. Publishers such as Les Editions de l’Aube,  l’Iconoclaste, Editions in8 and Editions du Passage have gained a notable reputation among bibliophiles in recent years.

The most sought-after books on the market

The rarity of the work and the author’s popularity are also decisive factors in evaluating your vintage book. A famous author or a particular theme may be more sought after by certain bibliophiles.

Currently, illustrated books on fauna, flora and explorers’ tales are considered to be rare and are experiencing a revival of interest among bibliophiles. This includes the “first modern atlas” by Claudius Ptolemy (1513) and Nicolas de Fer’s “European forces, or descriptions of major cities and their fortifications”.

Letters, paintings and watercolours are also rather popular with collectors. Notable examples include, a Louis Renard painting of underwater fauna from 1719 that sold at an Artcurial auction for over €200,000 in 2015, and a watercolour of The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupéry that sold for €283,500.

The popularity of books that bring together purely historical and legal texts is currently declining.

Collectors with a more “historical” approach primarily seek out the rarest manuscripts and handwritten letters from the 14th and 15th centuries, and compete for them at premium prices. However, contemporary books are also of great interest to collectors, namely rare books, collections, and modern illustrated books in limited editions. Certain collections and first editions can be real treasures for collectors. For example, Jules Verne’s “Extraordinary Voyages” published by Hetzel is particularly sought after by bibliophiles and can sell for several hundred euros.

Prices vary depending on the publisher and the author

Do pay attention to the print run of your book. It is rarely mentioned in books from the end of the 19th century. This information is still crucial – the more your work is part of a limited edition, the more valuable it will be. For example, only 260 copies of Nicolaus Copernicus’ “De revolutionibus orbium coelestium” were printed in Nuremberg in 1543. In 2008, a single copy of this book sold for more than $2 million at Christie’s.

Lastly, a signature, some kind of annotation from the author’s hand or an ex-libris (a small label indicating a potentially prestigious affiliation) may add value to your book.

Calling on an antiquarian book expert

Although this domain may appear to be very well-organised, the classification of such works is not officially regulated. It is primarily the know-how and expertise of enthusiasts and specialists that determines the value of noble literary works. Calling on a book expert is highly recommended for the purchase or sale of rare, antiquarian or collectible books.

Mr Expert and our team of specialists will assess a broad range of works for sale: first editions, comic books, artistic bookbindings, early printed books, period bindings, one-of-a-kind books, artistic books, manuscripts by famous people throughout history etc.

How do we appraise your antique books?

Requesting an online valuation of your book is simple and entirely free of charge. You just need to complete our appraisal form with a brief description and some photos. This information will be sent directly to one of our antiquarian book experts who will provide you with a price range and sales advice.

expertise process

A team of experts and auctioneers

If you own an antique book, use our online form for a free appraisal.

You will then be contacted by a member of our team of experts and auctioneers to give you an independent opinion of the market price. Should you wish to sell your book, our specialists will also advise you on the various options available for selling at the best price.

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