Monday, 14 December 2009

How to spot a UK First Edition of Harry Potter & The Goblet Of Fire

This is book 4 in the Harry Potter series and was published in July 2000.

Published by Bloomsbury, the First Edition print run was over one million copies. To manage the huge increase in volume the printing was split between two print houses, Clays Ltd (who produced seven hundred and fifty thousand copies) and Omnia Press in Scotland (who printed the remaining quarter). This automatically makes the Omnia printing a harder book to find. The text in each book is identical other than that of the print house details on the copyright page.

This is the first of the UK Harry Potter books to carry the words “First Edition”. This replaced the familiar 10 down to 1 print line on the copyright page seen in previous titles. A First Edition therefore clearly states “FIRST EDITION” on the copyright page. A later printing would be indicated by a run of numbers, the lowest indicating that particular print.

Issued with a dustwrapper illustrated by Giles Greenfield and a retail price of £14.99, this book has illustrated boards which matches that of the dustwrapper.

This book has "storyline errors" on pages 503 and 579 that were supposedly corrected during the first print run. However, these "points of issue" were still appearing in the seventh printing, so it is doubtful that these are actually errors or misprints.

Goblet Of Fire is the first UK Harry Potter book to have a mass produced First Edition, it is therefore more common to find and less valuable than previous First Editions in the series. It is however a good starting point for those on a limited budget and beginning their collection.

For more information about Harry Potter and other rare first edition books visit our website

How to spot a UK First Edition of Harry Potter & The Chamber Of Secrets

This is book 2 in the Harry Potter series and was published in July 1998.

Published by Bloomsbury, the First Edition print run was ten thousand one hundred and fifty copies.

The First Edition hardback has the full number line of 10 down to 1 on the copyright page.

It was issued with a dustwrapper illustrated by Cliff Wright, with a retail price of £10.99. This book has illustrated boards which matches that of the dustwrapper.

The front wrapper and board show a blue circle indicating a 1997 Smarties Award winner and Carnegie medal shortlisting.

The black band along the bottom should read “Inventive and action packed - The Bookseller"

Though the number of First Edition’ is greater than that of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, it was still a very low print run by today’s standards and thus remains highly collectible.

For more information about Harry Potter and other rare first edition books visit our website

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Collecting STEPHEN KING First Editions

We have collected SIGNED Stephen King First Editions for many years and are often asked how to spot a true first printing or a genuine signature.

Here are the main points of note for the important early King releases:

USA Important First Printing Trade Editions

All titles are Hardback and printed by Doubleday

Carrie 1974 (25,000 to 30,000 copies)
C. $5.95. "First Edition" stated. Fully bound in maroon cloth with black endpages. P6 gutter of page 199

Salem's Lot 1975 (20,000 copies of three combined states)
  • 1st state S.L. $8.95 Father Cody
  • 2nd state- clipped & re-priced S.L. $7.95 Father Cody
  • 3rd state-S.L. $7.95 Father Callahan "First Edition" stated
Quarter bound in black cloth with red boards. Q37 gutter of page 439 & easily damaged wrapper

The Shining 1977 (25,000 copies)
T.S. $8.95. "First Edition" stated. Quarter bound in black cloth with tan boards. R49 gutter of page 447.

Rage Signet is the publisher of this paperback 1977 (75,000 copies)
$1.50 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 printline.

Night Shift 1978 (12,000 copies)
N.S. $8.95 "First Edition" stated. Quarter bound in black cloth and red boards. S52 gutter page 336. D&Co. $8.95 price sticker was used on recalled BCE copies when true 1sts sold out.

The Stand 1978 (70,000 copies)
T.S. $12.95 "First Edition" stated. Quarter bound in black cloth with gold boards. T39 gutter page 823

The Long Walk Signet is the publisher of this paperback 1979
$2.25 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 printline.

All titles are Hardback and printed by Viking / Viking Press

The Dead Zone 1979 (50,000 copies)
$11.95 "First Published in 1979 by the Viking Press" Quarter bound in black cloth with black boards no number line or mention of later printings.

Firestarter 1980 (100,000 copies)
$13.95 "First Published in 1980 by the Viking Press" Quarter bound in orange cloth with black boards no number line or mention of later printings.

Cujo 1981 (150,000 copies)
$13.95 "First Published in 1981 by the Viking Press" Quarter bound in black cloth with tan boards
no number line or mention of later printings.

Danse Macabre Published by Everest 1981 (60,000 copies)
$13.95 RRD281 Quarter bound in maroon cloth with red boards. No numbers should precede the RRD281 code

Roadwork Signet paperback 1981
$2.25 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 printline.

The Running Man Signet paperback 1982
$2.95 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 printline.

The Dark Tower : The Gunslinger Grant 1982 (10,000 copies)
$20 & $60 " First Edition " stated. Full bound in maroon cloth limited to 10,000.

Different Seasons 1982 (200,000 copies)
$16.95 "First Published in 1982 by the Viking Press" Quarter bound in dark blue cloth with blue boards and no number line or mention of later printings.

Christine 1983 (270,000 copies)
$16.95 "First Published in 1983 by the Viking Press" Quarter bound in black cloth with red boards and no number line or mention of later printing.

Pet Sematary Doubleday printed. 1983 (250,000 copies)
$15.95 " First Edition " stated. Full bound in black cloth. Y3 gutter of page 374

Cycle of the Werewolf Land of Enchantment printed 1983 (7,500 copies)
Full bound in brown leather and dust jacket.

The Talisman 1984
$18.95 "First Published in 1984 by the Viking Press" Quarter bound in red cloth with black boards and no number line or mention of later printings.

Thinner New American Library printed 1984 (26,000 copies)
$12.95 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 printline. Quarter bound in black cloth with red boards.

Skeleton Crew Putnam printed 1985. (500,000 copies)
$18.95 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 printline. Quarter bound in black cloth and black boards.

The Bachman Books New American Library printed 1985. (25,000 copies)
$19.95 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 printline. Quarter bound in black cloth and boards.

The Bachman Books paperback by New American Library 1985. (350,000 copies)
$9.95 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

IT 1986
$22.95 "First Published in 1986 by Viking Penguin Inc." Quarter bound in black cloth and boards with no number line or mention of later printings.

The Eyes of the Dragon 1987 (400,000 copies)
$18.95 "First Published in 1987 by Viking Penguin Inc." Quarter bound in cream cloth and green boards with no number line or mention of later printings.

Misery 1987
$18.95 "First Published in 1987 by Viking Penguin Inc." Quarter bound in black cloth and grey boards with no number line or mention of later printings.

The Tommyknockers Putnam printed 1987
$19.95 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 or Permissions to Come. Quarter bound in black cloth and green boards.

The Dark Tower II : The Drawing of the Three Grant printed 1987 (30,000 copies)
$35.00 First Edition stated. Full bound in black cloth.

My Pretty Pony Knopf printed 1988 (15,000 copies)
First Trade Edition

The Dark Half 1989
$21.95 1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2 printline. Quarter bound in black cloth and black boards.

Four Past Midnight 1990 (1,500,000 copies)
$22.95 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 printline. Quarter bound in black cloth and black boards.

The Stand : Complete & Uncut Doubleday printed 1990 (400,000 copies)
$24.95 " First Trade Edition " stated. Quarter bound in black cloth and black boards.

Needful Things 1991 (1,500,000 copies)
$24.95 1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2 printline. Quarter bound in black cloth and grey boards.

The Dark Tower III : The Waste Lands Grant printed 1991 (40,000 copies)
$38.00 First Edition. Red cloth binding.

Gerald's Game 1992
$23.50 1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2 printline. Quarter bound in black cloth and black boards.

Dolores Claiborne 1993
$23.50 1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2 printline. Quarter bound in black cloth and boards.

Nightmares and Dreamscapes 1993
$27.50 1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2 printline. Quarter bound in blue cloth and black boards.

Insomnia 1994
$27.95 1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2 printline. Quarter bound in grey cloth and boards.

Rose Madder 1995
$25.95 1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2 printline. Quarter bound in black cloth and boards.

The Green Mile Signet printed paperbacks 1996
$2.99 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 printline. Released as 6 monthly paperback issues.

Desperation 1996
$27.95 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 printline. Quarter bound in tan cloth and light blue boards.

The Regulators Dutton printed 1996
$24.95 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 printline. Quarter bound in tan cloth and red boards.

The Dark Tower IV : Wizard and Glass Grant printed 1997 (40,000 copies)
$45 First Edition. Full bound in black cloth.

All titles are Hardback and printed by Scribner

Bag of Bones 1998
$28.00 1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2 printline. Quarter bound in white cloth and orange boards.

The Storm of the Century Pocket Books printed 1999
$15.00 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 printline.

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon 1999
$16.95 1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2 printline. Quarter bound in black cloth and grey boards.

Hearts in Atlantis 1999
$28.00 1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2 printline. Quarter bound in black cloth with blue boards.

On Writing 2000
$25.00 1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2 printline. Quarter bound in black cloth with yellow boards.

Secret Windows Book of the Month printed 2000 Bound in black or white.

Dreamcatcher 2001
$28.00 1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2 printline. Quarter bound in purple cloth and blue boards.

Black House Random House printed 2001
$28.95 2 4 6 8 9 7 5 3 First Trade Edition. Quarter bound in black cloth and boards.

Everything's Eventual 2002
$28.00 1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2 printline. Quarter bound in light blue cloth and grey boards.

From a Buick 8 2002
$28.00 1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2 printline. Quarter bound in blue cloth and grey boards.

Saturday, 28 November 2009


This posting covers everything you would ever wish to know about spotting errors and points of interest on first issue and First Edition copies of the very first book in the Harry Potter series.

The Philosopher’s Stone 1st printing is VERY rare. There were 200 soft cover and 300 hardback books printed at the same time. They are seldom found in fine condition and are very expensive. Hardback printings 1 and 2 were issued without a dust jacket, the third printing was historically significant as it was the first printing which included a dust jacket. In comparison to so few copies of this first title in the franchise, there were 10,150 first printings of The Chamber of Secrets (book 2), and 1million copies of The Goblet of Fire (book 4).

The problem with finding book 1 in the Harry Potter series is not only the scarcity, but it's condition. Nearly all first printings of both formats were destined for UK public and school libraries. After leaving the library service they are sold in library sales or thrown away. With heavy wear, tears, marks and library stamps these often appear on the market, but are far less desirable than a pristine copy of the same title. The price is often only 1/10 of the pristine version, but for the long term it is always better to invest in quality.

Collecting 1st Printing copies of the UK paperbacks makes an affordable alternative to their very expensive hardback counterparts. There are several editions of the soft cover books available, the first and most collectible were printed in 1997 through 2003 and are the most collectible. They cost anywhere from £10 and £100 each, with the early books being the most expensive. The original 1st printing soft cover Philosopher’s Stone is beyond reach for many collectors. It was released concurrently with the hardback edition and only 200 copies were in the first printing.

All US books say “First Edition” on the publisher’s page. The US also printed far more books in each run than the UK, therefore just about the only editions with any financial value are first printings and signed editions. The exception to this is the Sorcerer’s Stone, which had a small initial print run of 30,000. The exciting thing about the US editions, is that you can collect a fine set of books for a reasonable price. However, although their value should increase over time, they will probably never be tremendously valuable and certainly never reach the value of their UK counterparts as there were simply too many printed.

Any US hardback Harry Potter book which has only black boards and NO diamond imprint is a Book Club edition and nowhere near as valuable as those books with the appropriate two-color, diamond pattern boards. Similarly, any US dustjacket which does not have the embossed foil covering the "Harry Potter" section of the book title is a Book Club. The Sorcerer's Stone and Chamber of Secrets were the only US editions to have multiple states in the first printing. The Sorcerer's Stone has two states of the first print. The very first books printed had a review from the British “The Guardian” newspaper, on the rear of the dust jacket. Although there are other differences, this quote alone will distinguish the first state. The second state has a review from an American publication, “The Gazette”. The book behind either of these dust jackets would not have the number 1 on its spine. If it does have the number 1 present, someone has put a newer book inside and older dust jacket. The first state is considerably more valuable than the second state. Always check both book and dust jacket. You may find that someone has placed the dust jacket from a valuable book around one which is not worth as much. The first state of this book is far more collectible than either of the other states. According to the back of the Advanced Reader's Copy of the Sorcerer's Stone, there were a total of only 30,000 first printings issued. We have no information on how many were in each state, but the first state is more desirable and seems to be much more rare.

The US paperback books have several editions. The first edition has Mary Grand Pre’s artwork on the cover and is oversized, for children. These are easily found online and in second hand book stores.

Deluxe Editions

The Harry Potter series has also been published as a deluxe edition. The UK Deluxe Editions are bound with cloth boards with the original cover from the UK trade edition as a paste down to the front board. They also feature a facsimile J K Rowling signature in gold. The books have gilt edged pages, and a sewn-in silk bookmark. The first printings of these books can be quite rare and priced anywhere from £40 to £1500. The Prisoner of Azkaban is especially hard to find as there were only 7,000 copies printed. There were 12,000 copies of the first print Philosopher’s Stone. It is worth noting the deluxe editions did not go into production until 1999 (some two years after the release of the first Harry Potter book, so books 1, 2 and 3 in affect had a simultaneous release in the deluxe format in 1999. The first official release of Harry Potter in the deluxe format was actually book 3, hence the smaller quantity and higher value.

The US Collector's editions are far less desirable to collectors, though many feel are of better quality. The Sorcerer’s Stone is made of a pressed leather material. It also features a facsimile drawing by J K Rowling near the beginning. There were 100,000 copies printed of both books 1 and 2 as a deluxe format and no subsequent printings. Scholastic planned on printing The Prisoner of Azkaban and Goblet of Fire in successive Novembers, but these never saw the light of day. The US Deluxe edition of Order of the Phoenix and subsequent titles does not look like the original Collector’s Editions. They are not leather bound, housed in special dust jackets with additional Grand Pre artwork and housed in a slip case, but are little more than the standard hardback.

Advance Reading Copy
Proofs were released to editors and reviewers in the UK prior to publication of the first three Harry Potter books. They contain numerous errors which were remedied before the first printing and feature release information on the rear cover. These proofs were very limited in number anywhere from 50 to 200 copies and many were damaged or thrown away. Theses are naturally quite rare and valuable. The US equivalent were also printed prior to the first three books. There were between 3,000 and 5,000 of each printed, making them far more rare than any US trade edition, but nowhere near as collectible as their UK counterparts.

Large Print Editions
These are large format books to assist those with reading difficulties and younger children. They were available for retail sale within the UK and not exclusively for libraries as some claim. They have little intrinsic value other than for completests, though do tend to sell at overinflated prices.

Celebratory Editions
Issued within the UK as a paperback format only, these replicate the original jacket sleeve, with foil stars around the border on each cover. They were released to coincide with each movie release and have little value.

Adult Editions
The appeal of certain modern day fiction is so widespread, a publisher will target various markets to sell their author. J K Rowling, Philip Pullman & G P Taylor are good examples of children and young adult fiction becoming widely accepted by an adult market. A different book jacket I guess makes an adult look less of a child. However, the Taylor and Pullman series of books don't have a specific "young" feel to them so I can only presume their adult jackets were released to make money.

Specific to Harry Potter, the adult wrappers tended to arrive only in paperback and well after the initial children's book is released so by default are unlikely to be as quite as desirable to the collector as the true First Issues. However, Bloomsbury have done wonders with their most recent adult covers of the Harry Potter series. They released their first adult hardback variant with Phoenix on day 1 of the Phoenix children's release and from it's popularity then re-released the whole Harry Potter series in adult paperback, and then for the first time hardback. The Harry Potter ADULT hardback set is quite stunning and will no doubt become quite collectible in time.
The print size of the adult series tends to be far lower than the initial children print runs we see nowadays. They also tend to receive very little or no direct promotion or marketing, again making them scarcer.

Signed varieties of the adult covers are far rarer than their children's counterpart as no signing tours are made for the adult covers. Sadly, even signed they do not reflect their true rarity value which is a real shame. Personally, I have only ever seen 1 true signed adult hardback of Phoenix and Half Blood Prince. I have never seen any of the other adult Harry Potters signed. When I met with G P Taylor in 2004, he signed my adult paperbacks of Shadowmancer and said he had only ever signed a handful of that book!

Here are a few of the more common errors and text contradictions to look out for within the most sought after UK variant of Harry Potter & The Philosopher's Stone:
  • The publisher page lists the author as Joanne Rowling (this was later changed to J K Rowling)
  • The jacket artist name Thomas Taylor is listed as "Thomas Taylor1997" with no space.
  • In chapter 7, at the Sorting Ceremony, after Harry's turn to be sorted, the book says there are 3 more persons to be sorted, but the Hat actually sorts 4: Dean, Lisa, Ron and Blaise.
  • One book Harry bought was "One Thousand Magic Herbs and Fungi", but at the end of the book it refers to it as "One Hundred Magic Herbs and Fungi".
  • Harry's birthday is on July 31, and book 1 was set in 1991. In book 1 Harry said that his birthday was on a Tuesday, the day after Dudley's favourite show (The Great Humberto) and July 31, 1991 was actually a Wednesday.
  • In chapter 16 (page 205 UK edition, 282 American edition), when Harry, Herimone, and Ron take the places of the chess pieces Ron says: "Well, Harry, you take the place of that bishop, and Hermione, you go next to him instead of that castle." But the bishop is not next to the castle, the knight is in between them.

Collecting Harry Potter Books & First Editions are proud to own the largest known collection of Harry Potter published varients in the world today. We have a huge reference library of facts and information on all varients of the published Harry Potter text, so if you are looking for any advice or help with your Harry Potter book do drop us a line.

We currently hold every single published varient of every language Harry Potter has ever been published in.

An extensive collection of over 2000 authorised international editions of the Harry Potter titles, in most cases comprising the full first six volumes from the series, various original bindings, dust-jackets present where issued, mostly in very good to fine condition, 8vo, 1997-2007.

Also included within our collection are hundreds of Rowling leaflets and related pamphlets, a large quarto volume containing glow-in-the-dark illustrations, relating to the German edition of Philosopher’s Stone. We also own original proofs and pre-publication manusrcipts, some of which are signed the author J K Rowling.

This is a unique collection of editions published outside the UK & USA, mostly first editions in the language in question. Non-English languages represented include Braille, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Bengali, Urdu, Hebrew, Greek, Macedonian, Italian, German, Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, Dutch, French & Spanish. English-language editions present are Canadian & Australian. Included are a very rare Hebrew proof, limited Hebrew & Thai editions, as well as scarce Mexican, Dutch & Russian editions.

Bloomsbury PLC have only ever sold 27 languages in one collection. This lot however offers EVERY official dialect from all over the world including all mainland Spanish regional dialects and all official colonial variants; all Indian official dialects; all regional dialects for all of the former Soviet Union countries; regional variants for Belgium & Holland, South Africa, all regional variants of Danish including Faroe Islands. A full listing is available on request for those interested in this collection.

THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE & COMPLETE Harry Potter collection to ever be offered on the open market, a lot of our collection is available to view at though an equally large amount is yet to be photographed and catalogued.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Learn how to spot a First Edition

This is not as simple as it should be. I do cover modern firsts in more detail in my How to Spot a First Edition Harry Potter book.

Many modern books use a number line on the copyright page, with the lowest number (e.g. 1) indicating to which print batch a book belongs.

Unfortunately, it's not always that easy.

Different publishers use a variety of methods, none of which are particularly intuitive. Your best bet is to do your homework before you buy.

No Number Line? No Problem!

For most fiction published within the last twenty-five years, determining whether or not a copy is a first edition, first printing is a doddle, just check out the number line.

But, what about older books and publishers who refuse to use a number line?

What if there is no printing indication at all?

What if it states "First Edition" on the copyright page? Does that means it was also a part of the first print run?

Without a doubt, determining edition can be very tricky!

Colophon (logo or publication history)
Colophon has two meanings, both relevant to this discussion. Colophon can refer to the publisher's emblem or logo. Some publishers print their colophon (logo) on the copyright page or at the back of the book to indicate a first edition. Colophon may also be defined as an inscription detailing a volume's publication history that is usually found at the back of the book.

Same Date
The same date appears on the copyright page and the title page. Scribner's used this method in some pre-1930 volumes.

No Additional Printings
With this method, if there is no mention of subsequent printings, the book may be assumed to be a first edition, first printing. This method is widely used.

First Published, Year
Some publishers state "First Published" followed by the year or the month and year of publication. If no additional printings are mentioned, you may assume that the copy in question is a first edition.

First Edition/Printing/Impression
A publisher may state "First Edition," "First Printing," or "First Impression" on the back of the title page, or on the copyright page.

No Designation for First Editions
A publisher may choose to only identify later printings and editions. Thus, a first edition, first printing copy would have no designation at all.

I do hope this helps you identify your book. Y
ou can also go to the library and borrow a bibliography of the author in question, or pick the brain of a kind-hearted and knowledgeable bookseller !

Monday, 23 November 2009


We are regularly asked to place a value on or authenticate memorabilia and signed books. We can do this where time allows with a quick yes or no if it is genuine, though we often receive upwards of 100 emails a day and our customers always take priority I am afraid. offer a free authenticity service and for a very small fee can issue you with a certificate for your collection with insurance values. Check out their website for more info.

How to appraise a book

Mini & Formal appraisals
If you've just picked up a new (to you) book and are wondering if you got a deal, do a mini-appraisal. This type of "guesstimating" isn't as accurate as the real deal, but it should give you a general idea of what the title in question is selling for. It's awfully tempting to place too much stock in a mini-appraisal.

There are certain times when it's worth it to have your collection formally appraised. For example, if you are donating your collection to charity and want proof of its value for tax purposes, are insuring the books or are including your collection in your will, having an appraisal done by an experienced book appraiser is well worth the investment.

How to Informally Appraise a Book

Found an interesting book in the attic and wonder how much its worth? It is possible for the lay person to perform an informal appraisal, to get a "ballpark estimate" of the possible value of a book.

  • Take note of the following information: title, author/editor(s), illustrator (if any), edition, and binding.
  • Grade the book's condition: as-new, fine, very good, good, fair, reading copy.
  • Search online booksellers such as abe and alibris. Note the results. Are there any copies that are the exact same edition and in similar condition to your copy? This will give you a ballpark estimate of the book's retail value.
  • If your online search yielded inadequate results, or you'd like to double-check your findings, consult a price guide at your local library.
  • For a rough estimate of what a bookseller might pay you for the book, divide the market value in half.
  • Take the All-In-One Search Form results with a grain of salt. Just because a seller is offering a book at a certain price doesn't mean they are going to be able to successfully sell it for that price.

The above instructions are intended to help the book collector find a rough estimate of a book's possible value. For specific, authoritative advice about your particular book, always consult a professional book appraiser.

Additional Help

For further help and advice specifically on collecting and identifying your book collection visit our website at

How to Store Books Properly

Proper storage of your books can mean the difference between a valuable collection of fine copies and a disappointing batch of "reading copy" books, marked by mildew, foxing and broken spines.
  • Books should be stored at a moderate temperature (60-70 degrees Fahrenheit) and at 50% humidity.
  • Whenever possible, keep books on a sturdy bookshelf.
  • Shelve books upright.
  • Never shelve books too tightly. One risks damaging the book when replacing it or removing it from the shelf.
  • Store books toward the front of bookshelves. This promotes proper air circulation and prevents musty odors from forming.
  • Avoid storing books near a heater, or in direct sunlight, as books may be damaged by extreme temperatures and harsh lighting.
  • Stick a few whole cloves in the corners of bookshelves to prevent mildew.
  • Dust your books at least once a year by removing each volume from the shelf and, while the volume is tightly closed, brushing away dust with a soft, wide paint brush.
  • For maximum protection, consider purchasing a glass enclosed bookcase.
  • Avoid placing bookshelves such that they will be exposed to direct sunlight. Sunlight fades and yellows pages.
  • If your books have dust jackets and they are (a) very valuable, or (b) used often, consider using dust jacket protectors. These clear acetate sleeves are relatively inexpensive and do the job.
  • Dry is Better Than Wet; Hot is Better Than Cold... ...but both temperature and humidity extremes have risks. The ideal temperature is about 68 degree Fahrenheit with about 50% relative humidity (rh). To create a more book friendly rh in your library, avoid wide temperature fluctuations, as they are damaging to books (yet another reason to avoid the garage and/or attic) and consider investing in a humidifier or dehumidifier (depending of course on whether you want to increase or decrease rh) and a humidity gauge. Hot + Wet = Mold If you store your books in high relative humidity (70%+) and high temperatures, you are almost certain to encounter mold. If you catch the mold growth early, you may be able to dust it off and, assuming proper storage, prevent permanent damage. More advanced stages of mold growth cause irreperable damage, most commonly tiny brown spots called "foxing." There's no reliable way to remove foxing, so your only recourse is to store your books in a healthy climate (68 deg., 50% rh) to prevent further damage. v Another moisture-related problem is the dank smell of mildew in books. This occurs when the storage climate is too wet and too cold. To cure this, immediately remove the book to a drier environment, or crank up the dehumidifier. Then, allow air to circulate around the book. A portable fan set on low should work nicely. If all else fails, consider giving your book a little sun. This is usually effective for removing the unpleasant odor, but be forewarned, prolonged exposure to sunlight can damage paper, so proceed with extreme caution.
  • Infestations. Rescuing books from pests can be difficult. Many an insect enjoys lunching on all manner of paper products. If you discover an infestation, take action immediately! In order to provide useful information to the professional/s you will want to answer these questions first: Is the insect already dead or alive and how many insects are there? How many books are affected and with what kind of damage? Have you seen insects like these elsewhere in your home? Where have the books been stored and are they damp or moldy? How valuable and old are the books? Next, seal the affected book(s) in a plastic bag and make haste to your neighborhood entomologist. If you'd prefer to try to solve the problem yourself, here are a few ideas: lower the relative humidity with a dehumidifier, lower the temperature, limit access by sealing windows, doors, and adding a filter to each vent. Also, be sure to keep the storage area free of food or rubbish.

We Are Our Own Worst Enemies...

Probably the most common cause of book damage is simple carelessness on the part of the owner. To prevent damage:

  • Don't eat or drink while you read (or at least eat or drink neatly!).
  • Keep books stored on a bookshelf when not in use, this prevents them from being mistaken for thick and rather inviting drink coasters.
  • Don't lay your books face-down or, God forbid, dog ear the pages in order to keep your place. Use a bookmark!
  • Avoid loaning your books out. You may never see them again, and if you do they may be in poor condition.
  • Consider purchasing inexpensive paperback copies of popular titles and loaning out those instead.

Additional Help

For further help and advice specifically on collecting and identifying your book collection visit our website at


1. Where to begin
Don't waste your time or money chasing titles that other people think are rare or may be worth a lot of money someday. The fact is that nobody can accurately predict how sought after a book will become in the long run. A book's value will go up and down over the years. If you collect only books you love, you'll never be disappointed when (not if) a title you own doesn't live up to your financial expectations at any given time. Also, when the Famous Five book you've had since you were a child turns out to be worth five times what you thought, your satisfaction will be that much sweeter!

2. Essential Advice for the new collector
I know I just said that you shouldn't collect a book for it's investment value and I stand by that statement. However, although your motives are not tainted by profit, it certainly doesn't hurt to buy a book that's more likely to see a price increase. So, keep in mind that, with few exceptions, early (preferably first) editions in very good or better condition trump book club editions or any copy with its spine missing and the last chapter ripped out.

3. Learn how to spot a First Edition
This is not as simple as it should be. I will cover the subject of How to spot a First Edition in it's own posting here on my blog in the coming days.

4. How to Store Books Properly
We cover this in great detail within our "How To Store Books Properly" posting:

5. Mini & Formal appraisals
This is important as you do not want to be ripped off when you buy a rare book and it is also good to evaluate what your own collection is worth. We have created a posting on our blog to show you how to appraise a book in detail:

Additional Help
For further help and advice specifically on collecting and identifying your book collection visit our website at

Saturday, 21 November 2009



Welcome to our blog for rare book, fine art and memorabilia collectors on the web.

Here you will find useful advice and help on collecting, looking after and adding to your collection.

At we aim to bring together a range of exciting and unique products in one place. works to source and provide high value, treasured items from the world of Celebrity, Movies, Music, Sport and Politics. Genuine Hand Signed Boxing Memorabilia Genuine hand signed Music memorabilia are all featured within our collectors pages.

In addition to sourcing products, we also periodically arrange our own signing sessions in person, to allow us to bring you new products from sought after stars. are proud to have the largest online selection of genuine hand signed Beatles memorabilia anywhere in the world. We currently stock over 1000 individually signed pieces from The Beatles including signed drumsticks, photos and Beatles posters through to signed Beatles albums, signed drum skins and first day covers. If it is a piece of Beatles memorabilia you are looking for - check us out and check out our images from the recent signing we held with Pete Best at the famous Casbah Coffee Club in Liverpool. was established by Jason Cullen, a broadcaster of more than 20 years, in 1980. Turning an avid hobby into a strong and succesful business. Jason's experience in both media and entertainment brings with it a vast knowledge and understanding the world of showbiz and celebrity.

Jason Cullen is an experienced dealer of over 30 years and specialist in the area of rare and signed books, music memorabilia and fine art. Jason's expertise is second to none and knowledge of the industry helps us to secure a fantastic range of collectible products for you. is more than just a store. We also offer valuation and authentication services, often required for insuring high value memorabilia items. Of course our website also offers the serious collector a wide selection of the very best in fine books, art and memorabilia. We stock some of the finest books and pieces of rare memorabilia you could ever wish to own and this site is updated regularly to reflect the trends and changes within the current market place.

We understand that buying unique memorabilia is different from most other shopping experiences. We are on hand to help you with any queries you may have, and to provide whatever information you might need for your purchase. has built it's reputation in the UK as a leading provider of premium quality memorabilia and as a top flight event management company. Organising headline making event packages, unique sportsman dinners and providing high quality after dinner speaker events. is also socially responsible, giving a proportion of pre-tax profits to charity. Significantly we also give up portions of time to charity work which is becoming increasingly important. Many charities are desperate for volunteers. It is understandable in the culture now that people lead very busy lives and don't necessarily have time to devote to volunteer and charity issues, so if we can help in anyway then that is great. Amongst those registered charities we have assisted in 2009 are the RBIB, The Change For Children appeal (Virgin Atlantic foundation), UNICEF, RSPCA and PDSA.

We are a registered UK business with many recommendations available. Our loyal and growing customer base includes popular figures from the world of sport, entertainment and politics and our staff have a reputation for knowledgeable and professional service.