Assessing the value of your rare items

Revision as of 10:21, 6 March 2019 by JulieSwierczek (talk | contribs) (Clarified language throughout and added section on non-book items to help answer a common question about where non-book items can be appraised)

As a non-profit organization, the Folger Shakespeare Library is not allowed to give an estimate of your item's value, but we are happy to point you to some resources that may be helpful.


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.

To get a general sense of the market value of your books, you may wish to search the following book sites. 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


If you decide to have a formal appraisal, we suggest you locate an appraiser through the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America. Members of the Association are all required to adhere to a strong code of ethics. A number of them are able to appraise non-book items as well; see their individual listings for details.

Other items

For appraisal of works of art, collectibles, memorabilia, furniture, household goods, or other non-book items, the following three professional associations have searchable lists of members. Their members are also required to adhere to the code of ethics of their respective organizations.

American Society of Appraisers

Appraisers Association of America

International Society of Appraisers