Many of us have perused old book sales or flea markets and seen a plethora of old books. But could you potentially unknowingly be looking at a rare book or maybe have one shelved in your personal library? Identifying a rare book can be tricky. Just because you’ve got a
100-year-old book actually doesn’t make it rare. It could just be old!
Here are some tips to get started on discerning for yourself! Note that these are only a few and that not all tips are applicable in every situation.
Most rare books were produced in editions of 25,000 or fewer (though this isn’t always a qualifier). So have a look on the inside cover page to see if the edition number is listed. This is a clue.
Is it a first edition? Again, a first edition doesn’t always make it a rare book but have a look again on inside front page for any first edition markings.
Any inscriptions? Many times a book that isn’t particularly rare can qualify as a valuable and rare book because of an important inscription. For example, if Stephen King made a personal note in one of his books then that would certainly constitute a rare and valuable book!