Assessing the value of your rare items
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. We do not authenticate, provide evaluation, or otherwise provide a professional assessment of any rare material being offered for sale or donation, either to the Folger or elsewhere.
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.
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.
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.