A Guide to Vintage Nancy Drew Books [History & Values] • Adirondack Girl @ Heart
Nancy Drew was a strong, if somewhat dated, role model for young girls back in the day, and her Notebooks paved the way for my daughter to fall in love with the Nancy she knew and loved when she was growing up.
Origins of Nancy Drew Mystery Series Books
Edward Stratemeyer (1862-1930), author of the Nancy Drew series, grew up reading Horatio Alger novels about boy heroes and writing many of his own stories; his first full-length work, Under Dewey at Manila, earned him a spot in Who’s Who in America.
Assembly Line Method of Producing Series Books
The Stratemeyer Syndicate published books by multiple authors at the same time, starting with the Tom Swift series in 1910 and ending with Nancy Drew in 1930. Using pseudonyms allowed new authors to pick up where previous authors left off when they moved on to more lucrative ventures.
The Nancy Drew Series Books
Mildred Wirt Benson, a 25-year-old journalist with a master’s degree, created the Nancy Drew books. Nancy was spunky and functioned independently of the men in her life.
1930-1950: Blue Hardcover w/Dust Jacket
The first Nancy Drew books had an orange title outlined in blue on the cover from 1930 to 32, but no Nancy’s silhouette (not shown). In 1946, the publishers changed the silhouette and lettering from orange to blue, making these editions quite rare.
All editions came with a dust jacket, like the one to the left (#14, The Whispering Statue), with a white spine, which was phased out in 1946 in favor of a “wrapped spine.”
1962-1986: Matte Yellow
The cover art on this volume is by Rudy Nappi, a prolific Nancy Drew cover artist; note the new end paper design, but keep in mind that volumes from this era can also have end papers like those above and below.
1987-Present: Flashlight Yellow
Bill Gillies, another Nancy Drew artist, designed the next iteration of Nancy Drew cover, which has a neon yellow spine and a high gloss cover (new issues of volumes #1-56) and is commonly referred to as “flashlight yellow” due to the flashlight image on the upper right corner.
Number of Chapters/Pages
Starting in 1959, the first 34 Nancy Drew books were edited, with some of the more descriptive sections of the earlier books being left on the cutting room floor entirely to save money.
What Nancy Drew Collectors Are Looking For
Some Nancy Drew fans collect every hard cover ever made, while others collect only certain cover styles, such as those with dust jackets or yellow matte covers, or those written by Mildred Wirt Benson, while others look for those with Russell Tandy’s cover art.
Value of Vintage Nancy Drew Books
The average Nancy Drew book doesn’t offer a lot of profit potential, but it is a reliable seller, if not a huge moneymaker. The blue hardcover and tweed editions, as well as books with dust jackets, sell for more on eBay. There are some exceptions to the $6 price point.
Ebay Values (from sold listings)
The most valuable copies are the blue hardcovers with blue words and blue silhouettes, which cost $10-100 depending on condition and rarity. Even without their dust jackets, their values are high ($15-30).
Etsy Values (from listed prices)
Hardcovers with dust jackets can cost anywhere from $10 to $100, depending on condition and rarity, while blue tweed hardcovers without dust jackets can cost anywhere from $5 to $100.
How to Sell Vintage Nancy Drews
Old Nancy Drews are being bought and sold in large quantities on a variety of platforms, including antique booths, Etsy, and eBay. Sell matte yellow books for $5-6 each at my antique booth, and sell more valuable volumes on eBay or Etsy for more money.
Other Nancy Drew Products to Consider
Here are a few of the products I came across, as popular as Nancy Drew has been with young girls over the years. The Nancy Drew Cook Book, c.1973, 2005 ($10-50) is one of my favorite pieces of Nancy Drew memorabilia.
The Secret of Shadow Ranch by Mildred Wirt Benson is one of my favorite books from the 1970s and 1980s. “Nancy was every girl’s challenge and dream for a better future,” Mildred said in the book’s introduction.
Are original Nancy Drew books worth anything?
The classic Nancy Drew books, once scorned literature and scorned by many, have now become prized collector’s items, with the dust jackets on first editions of the first Nancy Drew book now worth approximately seven times the book.
How do I sell my old Nancy Drew books?
What Is the Best Way to Sell Vintage Nancy Drews?
- Sell matte yellow books for about $5-6 each at my antique booth.
- Try selling two volumes (same style covers) at a time on eBay, where prices seem to be around $10 for a pair.
- Avoid buying or selling flashlight yellow books.
What do first edition Nancy Drew books look like?
Nancy Drew #1-7, published between 1930 and 1932, are blue cloth books with no silhouette in the center of the front cover, blank endpapers, and four glossy internal illustrations, one of which appears before the title page and the other three scattered throughout the text.
How many original Nancy Drew books?
Nancy Drew has appeared in films, television shows, computer games, and comic books, but it all started with Nancy Drew books. Fifty-six books, to be exact, published by Grosset and Dunlap from 1930 to 1979 and written by a variety of authors under the pen name Carolyn Keene.
Are Nancy Drew books still in publication?
The original Nancy Drew Mystery Stories series began in 1930 and ended in 2003. The books are ghostwritten by a number of authors and published under the collective pseudonym Carolyn Keene. The character evolved over the decades in response to changes in US culture and tastes.
What age is good for Nancy Drew books?
While the Nancy Drew books are aimed at children aged eight to fourteen, the television series is aimed at an older audience, and parents may be hesitant to allow their young children to watch a show with at least two love scenes.
Is Nancy Drew still under copyright?
No, all of Nancy Drew’s books are still protected by copyright. No, all of Nancy Drew’s books are still protected by copyright.
Which Nancy Drew books are rare?
The majority of the books were sold to libraries, so finding a Wanderer hardcover book that isn’t a library discard is extremely difficult; these books are almost always described as RARE, but #78 is the only one that is RARE.
How much are old Hardy Boy books worth?
Only very early books are valuable if the dust jacket is missing. From 1932 to 1951, the binding was brown and the books seemed a little thicker. From 1951 to 1962, the outside of the books were covered in a tan tweed material.
What are my Nancy Drew books worth?
In mint condition, an original edition can fetch $5,000; with Wirt’s autograph, it’s worth $10,000. Eight years after the novel’s publication, the series spawned a film, Nancy Drew: Detective.
How many yellow Nancy Drew books are there?
Carolyn Keene: Amazon.com: Books: Nancy Drew Yellow Glossy Hardcovers Set – Volumes 1 – 56 – A total of 56 titles
How many Trixie Belden books are there?
The Trixie Belden Book Series ( 39 Books ) is a series of books written by Trixie Belden.
Who is Nancy Drew’s real father?
Carson Drew, a criminal defense attorney and Nancy’s widowed father, has been unable to contact Nancy since her mother’s death, despite the fact that he and his wife Katherine had secretly adopted her in accordance with her biological mother’s wishes.
Who is Nancy Drew’s boyfriend?
Ned Nickerson is a fictional character in the Nancy Drew Mystery Stories series, who is often referred to as Nancy Drew’s boyfriend and is written under the collective pseudonym “Carolyn Keene.”
What happened to Nancy Drew’s mother?
Despite the mission’s success, Kate died in a car accident in Glasgow on July 14. In Ghost of Thornton Hall, Nancy mentions her mother’s death while speaking with Harper Thornton, who lost her entire immediate family before she was an adult and continues to mourn the tragic death of her sister.