Monday, October 1, 2012

First Edition Hunt: Sword of Shannara

The Sword of Shananananahannara. I think I spelled that right.
 
 
The Sword of Shannara is arguably one of the best fantasy epics of our age. Huge.. sprawling descriptive environs, acts of pure heroism, high adventure in a low fantasy setting. Brooks owes everything of the initial sale to the Brothers Hildebrandt for the best artwork ever seen on a hard cover novel in years. Look at the fold out on the same book:
 


     Just awesome. You want to be there with them. In my opinion, some of the best fantasy artwork out there. I suppose that's why the first edition of this novel in hard cover goes for so much money. Mint eBay prices commonly go for about $250, and one in serious ugly condition goes for about $125. But of those currently on eBay, I only see two real first edition books. I'll tell you how you can tell the difference.

     There are book club versions of the same book also listed as "First Edition" when you open the title page to check the copyright. There was a version released in the UK also sold as the first edition, this one has the price listed as 6.75.. pounds. The real price on the first edition is $12.95. And the one telling sign you have a first edition is.. drum roll please...

 
     There is a dark red "TB" on the front of the book when you take the dust jacket off. I'd say about 1 out of 100 so called "First Editions" has pictures of this. When I request if a picture of the symbol is available, almost right away the post is either taken down, or the person has no idea what I'm talking about, like I'm making something up. I have sold one such first edition for just over $200, and I have one more in my collection downstairs that I would not sell. I also have a first edition paper back which are not so rare, but are big and great to have. It was given to me by a childhood friend and was one of the first fantasy novels I've ever read.
 
*Edit* Terry Brooks use to sign his books with just his first name. He also liked to leave you a little message in the book. Signed copies go for around $400, 500 on a really good day.
 
*Edit #2 1/12/15* Lot's of comments keep pouring in about the value of their book. Depending on printings, condition, and other factors, these prices do change. See below:
 
1) Advance reader copies are more rare than a first edition but can be in varying degrees of quality, and some are signed. $250-$300 for an unsigned advanced reader copy is not unheard of. Signed easily over $500 if you can verify the signature.
 
2) Book club editions are nearly exactly the same as a first edition, but go for around $20-$30. Book club editions are not rare and printed all the way in to the 90's regardless of the date on the book.
 
3) Second, third and fourth printings of the first edition drop heavily in price as the print run increased as more printings were ordered. Keep cutting the price by 50% for each printing after the first.
 
4) The second edition has a very different appearance than the first, with white lettering and a cropped cover picture. $40 is a safe bet for a second printing first edition, with a signed copy going for around $75. Looking at ebay now I see a few for more than I just stated, but I'm sticking to the value I just put on it.
 
5) The TV show just came out, so the demand of these of books has increased slightly. If the popularity of the show gets to Game of Thrones-esk levels, you will see a 20% increase in value of the early printings.
 
6) Paperback first editions were printed after two or three printings of the hardcover over a year after the first edition/first printing. The initial print run was pretty large, but i can't find any information online about it. The book was oversized, with a stiff cardstock cover that is easily yellowed and damaged easily. It has the fold out cover art and maps included. New condition, $25, used maybe $15-$20. I think these are under valued as many of these books get tossed in the garbage being as they get beat up easily.
 
7) Late reprints have no collectable value unless limited edition, or signed.
 
8) Boxed sets have almost no collectable value, but are really cool to have. Early boxed sets were mail order paperbacks similar in appearance to the first edition and are awesome. Yes, awesome.

29 comments:

  1. I'll keep my eyes peeled...literally. Okay, make that figuratively. ;>

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  2. hi, i have a book, which says it is first edition, it is pretty decrepit. no dust jacket, has the the coloured plate but not folded.
    is it worth trying to sell ?
    i dont know how to identify it without the dust jacket.
    any advice you could give would be appreciated.

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    1. Sounds like a true first edition based on your two comments. The best possible thing you can do to increase it's value is to buy a dust jacket for it. The dust jacket on this book is the same as the BCE (book club edition) so you can get away with buying a cheap-o BCE and take the jacket off, put it on your first edition. If you want to sell it, that would be the way to go.

      If the book has water damage, tears, or defects, be sure to list it in your posting when selling it. This is a highly sought after book, a potential collector in the market for buying will be sensitive by all these factors, but not put off.

      Good luck Kags!

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    2. hi,
      ok i give it is closer look, i dont know if this will help identify it better.. but it is an old library book.
      and the hard cover, has if this makes sense, the dustjacket stuck to it ?
      im sorry i dont know the correct terminology.

      thanks

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    3. Old library books are my favorite. They are typically in pretty good condition minus all the stuff they stick on them, like the permanent plastic dust jacket, and check out card sleeves, etc. Still worth money, and still fun to read. You got yourself a great book!

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  3. hi again,
    my book does not have the tb as you have stated,
    the copyright page has the following numbers on it

    isbn 0-394-41333-4

    24689753 first edition

    thanks

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  4. I found a copy that is a Book Club Edition. All black hardback cover with the red TB lettering on the cover. No isbn. From what I gather this isn't a 1st edition or worth much either right?
    Thanks

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  5. The true first edition has a number line of 24689753 and was published in 1977. The American dust jacket has a price of $12.95 on the inside flap. The Australian/NewZealand version does not have a price. The British version was printed by Raven Books, as noted on the dust jacket, and has a price of 6.75 pounds. The Anerican version is probably the most valuable to collectors, with a copy in fine condition fetching as much as $1,000.00 or more. The Austrailan/New Zealand version is probably next, followed by the British version. There were only 3,500 true first edition/first printings. The first edition/first printings of The Elfstones and Wishdong were also limited in quantity at 5,000 a piece and can sell for hundreds of dollars based on their condition.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Thanks for the insightful post. What would you guess is the value of a 1st printing Australian edition? My copy has all the points of a 1st/1st except that it doesn't have a price on the DJ which after reading your blog sounds like an Australian copy. Bought on Abebooks a little over a year ago for $49, at the time I just wanted a copy with the original artwork. Seeing the TB on the cover was definitely a happy moment for me and I hope to keep this in my collection for awhile.

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  6. I have a first edition of The Sword of Shannara, bought in San Diego in 1977. It has 24689753, First Published in 1977 and the words First Edition on the inside cover. I would appreciate any feedback on the value as well as how I might sell it. Thanks

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    1. In what condition are is the dustjacket and book? Any flaws, and if so, what are they?

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    2. Depending upon those factors, I would be interested in purchasing it.

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  8. If it has the signature TB, then you may be in luck my friend. Compare it to other well documented books on ebay or other websites, could go for up to $250, depending on condition.

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  9. How does the advanced reader copy compare in value to the first editions?

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    1. If the condition is flawless, you might be able to squeeze $250 out of the advanced reader copy.

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    2. As Dan touched on, this could be worth money. Is it signed?

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  10. I couldn't be happier, having just found this book (I've read half a dozen times previously) at a used book store for $8.00 in beautiful condition...printed 4/77, with numbers 468975, so that would make it a 3rd printing?

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    1. Sounds right to me. Early printings can still be worth money.

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  12. I have a hardcover with the red TB on the book and numbers 20, 19, 18,17,16,15,14 on the inside but the dust jacket says it's a BCE so with is it?

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    1. BCE Means Book Club Edition. It's worth around $20-30.

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  13. If a book does not have a DJ is there a way to tell if it is BCE or not? I'm also seeing books without a price and a raven on the DJ at the top. They are saying it is a 1st British edition. Any value to these?

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    1. The inside CR page will have no mention of first edition.

      If it's cheap enough, I would pick it up on a gamble.

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    2. Thanks. I don't know what they are going for but they are asking $120.

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  14. My son got me a signed copy of The Sword of Shannara. It says To Shaun, Happy Father's Day. It does have the red TB on the book.

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  15. I have the first three in paperback and they all say first edition in them. Any idea of the general price range for these books?

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