Seven Factors that Determine the Value of a Rare Book

Seven Factors that Determine the Value of a Rare Book 1

Seven Factors that Determine the Value of a Rare Book

Have you ever found a rare book wondering if it could be worth a fortune? There are a number of factors that value books. It is important to remember that rare does not automatically mean “rare“. For books, the same rule of antiques does not apply: age does not always determine rarity and value. Here at shapero they employ a team of book experts who know exactly what to look for to determine if a book have value. They shared some things with us to consider when you want to know if your old book might be worth a fortune. A book fan, with a questioning mind, must be short of a collection It is a universally accepted truth.

The idea that collectors spend their hours fawning over dirt veneers, variant bondages, problem areas and even covered edges is so special for the non-collector (are there people who don’t collect books?), that people often ask why – normally in a look grafted across their faces that suggest that we are wild. The same look takes a more disconcerted look for our friends, not collectors, as they discover the value of a first edition by an author.


If your book was influential in history in some way, it could be valuable. Whether it is a book that has changed the course of history or one that has revealed a new scientific discovery, the stories related to these books increase their value.

Design and manufacture

Sometimes books have value because of their manufacture. The cover of the book, the illustrations (originals) and miniatures, for example, made by famous artists and designers. Whether it has value or not depends on the quality and rarity of these characteristics.

The first ones

The first book of an author, the first edition of a famous novel, the first mention of a beloved character and other first times in literature make books more precious. Particularly for collectors, the first editions are often the most interesting.


Books are classified according to their conditions and, as with most things, the better their conditions, the greater their potential value. When a book is classified, experts look at the state of the binding and dust jacket, any stains and the completeness of the text and illustrations. The conditions of a book can vary from as new, which will have  value, to ex library”, which will have almost no monetary value and will be fine only for reading.


There are a surprising number of signatures, inscriptions and dedications that can influence the value of a book, but a good rule of thumb is that any genuine signature of the author / illustrator / editor will be an added value. The longer the enrollment, the better. This not only means that the author has spent more time with the book writing a long dedication, but this also adds authenticity since a long dedication is more difficult to falsify than a simple signature.


Anyone who previously owned the book can seriously compromise its value. A Copy that belonged to … is a book that indicates that it belonged to the author or someone closely related to him, as a family member. Celebrity books are also worth more, however it is important to be able to prove provenance in order to gain added value.


It may be obvious, but the number of copies of a book affects its value, but not as much as one might think. Rare books are often rarer since they have survived the test of time, however this is not always the case. The books printed in the 19th century, for example, are quite numerous. Furthermore, just because a certain edition of a book is rare, it does not mean that it is valuable if nobody wants to buy it, therefore often only rare and refined books become precious.

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About the Author: Khurram Raheel Akbar

Khurram Raheel Akbar is a reporter for Zobuz. He previously worked at Huffington Post and Vanity Fair. Raheel is based in PAK and covers issues affecting his city. In addition to his severe coffee addiction, he's a Netflix enthusiast, a red wine drinker, and a voracious reader.