7 Factors That Determine the Value of A Rare Book

Books are another story than antiques; age does not always determine rarity and value.

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Have you ever wondered if an antique book could be worth a fortune? There are a number of factors that add value to books. It is important to remember that “old” does not automatically mean “rare”. Books are another story than antiques; age does not always determine rarity and value. Here at, we have a team of book experts in UK who know exactly what to look for when determining if a book will sell. They shared a few things to keep in mind when deciding if your antique book could be worth a fortune.

1. Significance

If your book has been historically influential in some way, it is more likely to be of value. Whether it was a book that changed the course of history or revealed a new scientific discovery, the stories attached to these books increase their value.

2. Design & craftsmanship

Sometimes books have value because of their design. Cover, (original) illustrations and illuminations, for example, made by renowned artists or designers. So it’s all in the name. Whether it has value or not depends on the quality and rarity of these features.

3. Firsts

A first book by the author, the first edition of a famous novel, the first mention of a loved character and other firsts in literature make them valuable books. The first editions, in particular, are often the most interesting for collectors.

4. State

Books are classified according to their condition and, as with most things, the better the condition, the higher and the potential value. When classifying a book, experts look at the state of the binding and dust jacket, the stains and the completeness of the text and illustrations. The condition of a book can vary from “like new”, which will have the most value, to “ex-library”, which will have almost no value and will only be good for reading.

5. Signature

There are a surprising number of signatures, inscriptions and types of dedications that can affect the value of a book, but a good rule of thumb is that any authentic signature of the author/illustrator/publisher will add value. The longer the registration, the better. Not only does this mean that the author has spent more time with the book writing a long dedication, but it also adds to the authenticity because a long dedication is more difficult to falsify than a simple signature.

6. Provenance

Who the owner of the book was before can seriously affect the value? Association copies are books that have been previously held by the author or someone closely related to the author, such as a family member. Books that have belonged to celebrities will also have more value, but it is important to be able to prove the provenance in order to obtain added value.

7. Rarity

Perhaps obvious, but the number of copies of a book affects the value, but not as much as you think. Old books are often rarer because they have survived the test of time, but this is not always the case. Books printed in the 19th century are quite abundant, for example. Also, if a certain edition of a book is rare, that does not mean that it has value if nobody wants to buy it, so often only rare and sought-after books have value.

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