From the FAQ:
How Much is My Copy
Judging the value of any collectable is a black art under the best of conditions. But basically the law of supply and demand holds true: The more people who want a title and the fewer copies available, the more that copy is worth.
Modern Library books with dust jackets are worth orders of magnitude more than books without dust jackets. In fact, it's safe to say that with rare exception (the Illustrated Don Quixote, Illustrated Alice, and to a lesser degree the scarcer buckram editions stand out) ML books without dust jackets are worth a few dollars at best.
The higher the condition of your book and dust jacket, the more it tends to be worth. Assuming that the title is reasonably scarce, expect to get X for a Very Good copy, 2*X for a Near Fine copy, and 4*X for a Fine or As New copy. See Terms for Describing Condition from AB Bookman's Weekly for a description of condition levels.
Pictorial dust jackets of the 1930's seem to have a higher demand than text-only dust jackets of the same period.
But the law of supply and demand will always hold sway: the more common the title and the fewer people who want it, the less you can expect to get for it in any condition: A Fine copy of Shaw's Four Plays in a Fine dust jacket will never be worth more than a few dollars; an About Good first edition of Wilde's Picture of Dorian Gray in like dust jacket is certain to realize hundreds of dollars at auction.
In summary then, the scarcest and earliest first edition titles in matching dust jackets in the best condition are worth the most money; how much money depends on the current market. Here are some steps you can take to zero in on your copy's current value:
Where You Sell Counts: The value that you determine using the above method tells you what you can expect to get from a collector at auction. Here's a list that shows, in descending order, where you can expect to get the most money for your book:
Some folks have suggested searching "currently for sale" sites such as BookFinder.com, but this just tells you how much booksellers hope to get. This tells you nothing about what the book will actually fetch.
Ultimately, the marketplace will tell you what it's worth: Put it on eBay (using the information in the related FAQ Is eBay a good place to sell my Modern Library books?) and see what happens.
|Scot Kamins||John Krygier|
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