Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Beauty of a Hobby in Collecting Vintage Books

People cannot resist an object that has a story to tell. Vintage books touch a nerve in us all because we know that these were passed down from generation to generation - read by people with love and tears in their eyes - laughed over, wept over and marked by people who understood what the books said and who thought about them. Antique books are important enough to people that they will pay extraordinary sums for them. To them, vintage books tell not just the story contained within their covers, but also the story of their journey through time as books.

People setting out for the first time in the endeavor of collecting vintage books may want to start out in a niche that isn't expensive to support. Finding antique books on horticulture for instance would be a well-enough rewarding one without busting the budget. It would be nearly impossible to find a rare George Elliott book original run book in a yard sale; it could still be possible to find a horticulture original from a master from a century ago. You get the idea. People starting out should probably get their feet wet in a niche that helps them understand the challenges and rewards of the endeavor.

Some of the most popular kinds of antique books to collect are the leather-bound variety that come with beautiful gilt embellishment on the spine. While most such books look antiquey and terribly attractive, one needs to understand that not every antique book is valuable. If one is serious about collecting, one needs to nose out books for their standing - their pedigree, their importance to something larger than themselves. The kind of books that generally do hold considerable value are ones that are first editions or signed by the author or owned by someone well-respected and famous.

The first edition of the original fairytales by the Brothers Grimm sold a couple of years ago for over $10,000. The first edition of George Orwell's dystopian epic 1984 sold for thousands of dollars. A first edition of Shakespeare's plays can go for millions. It's difficult, almost impossible to come across one of these treasures at a yard sale or a church charity sale. But it's been known to happen. People who really care about books, keep their eyes peeled where ever they go. And that is what it takes to make a real find. It only has to happen once.

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