Determining the value of books can be a tricky question to answer, as there are many elements that must be considered, including the condition of the book, scarcity, and market interest. People often call us at Biblio and ask for us to assign a rough estimate of a book’s value, but it is difficult (if not impossible) to assign value to a book that you can’t physically see and hold in your hands. Also, while we are bookish people, we are not trained appraisers! Therefore, we always recommend people to search out appraisal companies in their nearby location.
Finding an appraisal service
While appraisal services for personal property do not require licensure or national certification, the American Society of Appraisers (ASA) is a highly regarded professional society of appraisers who must adhere to a similarly high level of conduct and professionalism.
To find someone who can help you in your area, trying a search for the phrase “book appraisal” and your zip code. Checking in with a used bookstore in your neighborhood might yield some references for you to follow. You might also seek assistance at the library of your local college or university. The librarians might not be able to do an appraisal themselves, but they might have a list of local resources to help you on your journey.
While Biblio does not offer a list of appraisers, several of our ABAA sellers offer appraisal services in addition to their beautiful books. We’ve provided a partial list of those sellers below.
Of course, if at all possible, you want to take your time and not necessarily go with the first appraisal you receive. But be aware that there are often fees attached to having items appraised, so research potential appraisal services carefully with that in mind, and always feel free to call ahead to inquire about fees and policies. And lastly, remember that determining the value of a rare and possibly antiquarian book is a journey, so you may be directed to people and services you never considered. But enjoy the trip, and good luck!