There are many reasons to want to sell an antique book. Perhaps you would like your book collection to be in good hands or you simply have no interest in it. Some people simply realized very late that they have a valuable book collection.
Used writings or literature from estates or an inheritance always surprise with an unusually high purchase price. In earlier times the collectors’ items were simply overlooked or did their work in a showcase. We recommend to determine the value of such books and to sell them.
Avoid mistakes in book sales
Place the books or writing on a clean table and pack them in a protective case. Scribbles in the books are to be absolutely omitted. These could greatly reduce the value of your book collection. Try everything to prevent your old books from being damaged. This also includes effective protection against solar radiation, wind and splash water.
- unnecessary scrolling
- careless repair
- wipe or clean
Valuable books – How to recognize the value of true treasures
Tattered specimens are unpopular with collectors. For die-hard fans, a signed copy is something very special. This applies in particular if the author is no longer alive. For old books, circulation is important: a first edition will usually cost more than a reproduction. Books that have been published in very small editions fetch particularly high prices.
BE AWARE OF
- extrinsic factors
- the cover
- initial expenses
- Age and rarity
Rare books – the most valuable documents in the world
There are very expensive antiquarian books that achieve dizzying prices. These include the Codex Leicester by Leonardo da Vinci, which is worth EUR 29 million. The 72-page collection is Da Vinci’s most famous typeface collection. It contains thought games on various topics. For example to fossils, why the moon shines and why water moves. The plant is currently owned by Bill Gates. The Magna Carta – the original – was auctioned off in 2007 for 20.1 million Eur.
The Magna Carta is an agreement between King John and the English nobility. Another expensive book is the Rothschild Book of Hours. The manuscript was sold in 1999 for 12.6 million Eur. The Gospel of John from the 8th century reaches 12.4 million Eur. The Gospel of St. Cuthbert is in paperback and written in Latin. The Gospel is one of the first pieces in the world to be bound as a book. Even if you do not have such treasures in your attic, you can easily earn three- to four-digit sums by selling antiquarian books.
Increase the value of your books on sale
If the book is in good condition, write down all the information. These include edition, vintage, publisher, author and condition. This information is of immense importance for potential buyers. The international standard book numbers, the ISBN numbers, have only existed since the 1970s and are not available in antique books. This makes it difficult to sell antiquarian books.
- dust with a brush
- Get all the information you need, because a story increases the price
- ensure an appealing presentation
- leave old books in their original condition
- Maintain patina on cover
Determine the book value yourself – our recommendation
The market for antiquarian books is constantly changing. Therefore, there are no catalogues in which you can look up all prices of antiquarian books. You simply have to watch the market and see what prices your books are traded at.
On the following picture you can see the german version of how to find the wanted book.
By filling in the necessary informations, such as the author name, the book-title, keywords and the ISBN number, it will be much more efficient and easier to find the book you were looking for.
A registration with AbeBooks is the prerequisite for listing books on ZVAB.com.
Depending on the size of the book collection to be sold, this is somewhat more time-consuming. One point of contact is the ZVAB, the “Zentrale Verzeichnis Antiquarischer Bücher”. There you can determine the value of antiquarian books. You only have to enter the book title in the search mask there. The price displayed on the platform is only an estimate, which can be many times higher. The platform is particularly popular with specialist dealers who want to buy books as cheaply as possible and then sell them on at high prices. Therefore, you should distribute your books through other sales channels. For example, through a specialized auction house.
Purchase of antiquarian books – sell online at the book auction
If you want to sell antiquarian books, we recommend the online auction house Catawiki.com. It specialises in the sale of special properties and attracts over 14 million visitors every month. They benefit from notarial control of the sale and secure processing. Payments are made reliably at the end of the auction. At Catawiki.com there are over 192 experts who have specialized in the sale of antiques, among other things. They assess the value of your books and book collections and suggest an appropriate selling price.
You determine a minimum sales price and prevent a sale below value. The fundamental advantage of Catawiki.com is that millions of bidders cavort on the specialized sales platform. Among them are antique dealers, museums, wealthy private individuals, antiquarians and passionate collectors. These have a strong financial background and offer exorbitant sums to bid for your used books. Here buyers and sellers meet to do good business with each other. As a private seller you don’t have as much experience as a professional antiquarian bookshop, Catawiki will help you to create suitable offers.
- Register as a supplier at Catawiki. Registration is free and without obligation.
- Have old books inspected and appraised by experts.
- Release books for auction with more than 14 million interested parties
- Secure payment received. Catawiki handles the payments for you.
Selling old books online without ISBN
The search for a suitable antiquarian bookshop can become a torture, just like the search for the adequate salesman, with whom you can buy old literature. If you want to sell your antiquarian books on your own, there are various sales channels available. You are sure to get rid of your books at an antiquarian bookshop. However, you will not achieve a particularly good purchase price there. The antiquarian will be primarily interested in maximising his profits. Therefore, you should not expect an exceptionally high purchase price. The same applies to platforms such as eBay or the sale at a flea market.
There are hardly any specialized buyers with the necessary background knowledge. Find specialized auction houses frequented by collectors and professionals. There you have the best chance of a high selling price. We recommend the use of Catawiki.com. One of the advantages of the online auction house is that the price of your books is estimated by renowned experts. This saves you a lot of time and effort. Since Catawiki.com is interested in the highest possible sales prices, you benefit from an advantageous estimate based on actual market prices.
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