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Unusual investments - rare books for reading and profit

Updated on October 21, 2012

Books are great for reading, but they could also be great for investing. The key is to buy a rare book, manuscript or letter. Where do you find them?

Unfortunately, you have to do some leg work, literally. You need to visit charity shops, boot fairs, jumble sales where you can find books for less than a couple of dollars or Euros. These types of outlet treat books as products with little intrinsic value. To find rare manuscripts or letters you’ll have to visit antiquarian or specialist outlets.

After you've made a purchase you’ll want to get some idea of the value. The value of a rare book, manuscript or letter is dependent on its condition, scarcity and demand. Visit an antiquarian or specialist outlet or try Fadedgiant for a guide on value.

You can also look at the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America. Visit their website to find booksellers who are members of the association.

Values of rare books at auction houses like Bonhams, Christies or Sotheby range from a hundred dollars to millions of dollars/Euros. A George Washington manuscript, on sale this month, is expected to fetch between $2m-$3m at a Christies' auction.

You’re unlikely to come across such a rare manuscript. But, if you find a book for a couple of dollars or Euros and can sell it for a hundred dollars - your return is better than you’ll get on the stockmarket.

If you can get hold of first edition books you may see a return on your investment. Buy old style Penguin paperbacks at jumble sales or boot fairs for a few pence or cents. Look out for turn of the twentieth century authors such as G A Henty, a collectible author, and then sell the books on ebay. Sell the really rare books at the auction houses.

if you actually like the book you’ve bought, how can you lose?


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    • Cat R profile image

      Cat R 4 years ago from North Carolina, U.S.

      You wouldn't believe the stuff that gets donated to some of the major thrift stores and how much they throw away because it is a little old or scratched up!

    • pythian2 profile image
      Author

      pythian2 4 years ago from UK

      Thanks for taking the time out to comment. I'm keeping my eyes peeled for hidden treasures.

    • Cat R profile image

      Cat R 4 years ago from North Carolina, U.S.

      Go on Saturdays when those large stores have the tons of donations from ...unsuccesful yard sales!!!

    • pythian2 profile image
      Author

      pythian2 4 years ago from UK

      Thanks for taking the time out to comment.

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