Assessing the value of your rare items

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Folger Shakespeare Library cannot advise on value ourselves, but we are happy to point people to some resources that may be helpful in appraisal of their collections.

For information and advice on dispersing old books from private collections, we recommend first reading through a guide called “Your Old Books” put together by the American Library Association. It’s an excellent place to start when faced with a personal library containing potentially rare and/or valuable volumes.

As a non-profit organization, we are not allowed to give an estimate of your item’s value, but we can point you to some websites that offer rare materials for sale. If you can find a copy of your book for sale in one of the below listed databases, that may help you determine the volume’s base value on your own. Additional annotations or hand-illustrated scenes unique to a volume will usually add some value. Especially if the writer or artist can be identified.

Via Libri

ABE Books

Bookfinder

If you decide upon an appraisal, we also suggest you locate one using the website [1] and clicking on the "Booksellers" tab. The dealers who are part of the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America are all required to adhere to a strong code of ethics.