A gentleman shows up at your door, and offers to buy your yearbooks

I’m going to keep my HS yearbook(s) in case someone turns out to be a serial killer. You never know, right?

My college yearbook actually has a few famous people in it; but since it’s college, it’s probably not worth as much.

They’re worthless now, but when they become antiques, say 75 or 100 years old, then they become fascinating illustrations of their era. One of my strangest possessions is a 1923 yearbook from Los Angeles High School, and on their website you can look at older ones from 1899 through 1901, though the UI is rather awkward to use. It’s interesting in that they seemed to take high school a lot more seriously, and it seems like the work might actually have been harder. For instance, it appears that in LAHS at that time everyone had to study Chaucer in the original. The kids who seem the most popular and prominent look like film stars of the era, and in the books from 1900 the girls have their hair done up as if they were Lily Langtry. At the same time, you get doses of the same clumsy poetry you see in later yearbooks, e.g.

Yeah - nothing like the joy of pulling the old yearbooks down from the shelf to share with the kiddies, dusting them off, and opening the first one to a page where someone you don’t even remember wrote: "Hey Dinsdale, don’t be such an asshole!"
Who wrote that daddy?
Uh - apparently someone who thought I was an asshole.
At which point the wife chimes in with some helpful observation about how some things just don’t change much over time.

Yeah - really glad I kept those puppies.

We’ve got a few in our collection from the 1890s. I always get a little sad when I look through them, knowing that all of these smiling, fresh-faced young people are dust in their graves. I wonder if they kept their vows of eternal friendship, as expressed in their effusive autographs. I wonder if they achieved their goals and fulfilled their dreams. (One girl said her fondest wish was to see Paris. I wonder if she ever did. I hope so.)

My memories are not for sale.

Unless one of my classmates becomes famous.

In that case, I have the complete, 4-year collection. Let’s talk.

You wrongly equate age with value. A common mistake in the world.

Value is added to an item when the demand exceeds the supply. Yearbooks from the last 40 years are in freakin’ huge supply. You just need the demand of people searching for a celebrity. If it doesn’t materialize, then your item is a buggy whip.

It would feel weird to accept money for my yearbooks. I’d go for pretty much any reasonable barter offer, though: other yearbooks, some sandwiches, a kitten, whatever.

If some ignoramus showed up at my door and wanted to buy my yearbook, negotiations would start at 100K. Anybody THAT stupid would be a goldmine!

I threw mine out early in college because I hated high school and have other pictures of my few friends from then. My mom dug them out of the trash thinking I might reconsider but the next time I threw them out she let them go. The only regret I have is my best friend growing up died during our college years and I no longer had the notes he wrote me or his picture in the yearbook. My parents have the only couple of pictures we have of him in their album.

And not only that, but had to live through Federal Prohibition!

Not value, desirability, which isn’t necessarily the same thing. Some people are just interested in old yearbooks. I bought my 1923 L.A.H.S. yearbook while visiting on campus for $5, but it’s one of my most valued possessions. (I had gone there expressly to be allowed to look at the old yearbooks in the library, and on my way out learned they were selling extra copies for a fundraiser).

I’d never sell my senior year yearbook. I was part of the staff and my sweat and blood went into making that. Yearbook staff at a large school is a very stressful job. And it’s neat; it was the 50th anniversary yearbook for my school, and we used pictures and facts from the history of the school in it as well as all the current stuff.

And the pages I worked on have black backgrounds with color text and pictures, and they look badass. I stole the idea from some yearbook from California I saw at a yearbook conference.

And if I ever have kids, or if my brother has kids, it would be funny for them to look at. I know my parents’ yearbooks are hilarious.

But the yearbooks from high school freshman-junior year are pieces of crap. The staffs were lazy and didn’t put any effort in them, and the picture and paper quality is shit. I’d sell those.

I’m curious: DID someone show up at your door asking to buy your yearbooks? Or is that just a hypothetical?

I wouldn’t sell mine, but then again, I’m not exactly sure where they are anymore.

My favorite high school yearbook is the one with the embarrassing mistake on the front cover.

The title of the yearbook was supposed to be “The Lair.” But whoever made the yearbook wasn’t clear on whether the title letters were supposed to be colored in or carved out of the cover … and decided to carve out the “L” while coloring in the other three letters.

So, basically, the title looks like “The Air.”

No, I’ve not been approached by a stranger wanting to buy my yearbooks.

However, a few years ago, one of my classmates in an alumni magazine was asking for anyone who had an extra copy of the yearbook from our senior year - he’d had a fire in his house, and lost everything.

What really got me thinking about it was seeing that eBay merchant I’d metioned, with all the cruisebooks*. And while I don’t think that there are many Dopers who have cruisebooks, I was sure that most of us have yearbooks. I really am boggled that someone with a family link to a famous ship, like the Nevada, would choose to sell that kind of personal historical link. If you look at the listing for that Nevada cruisebook, it includes the kind of memorabilia that takes the cruisebook beyond simply a record of the ship’s actions, and a very detailed link to the person whose cruisebook it had been. Selling it just seems so unfathomable to me.

I certainly can understand the posters who’ve mentioned not wanting to keep yearbooks because of the reminder of bad memories in HS. It’s not my own experience in HS, but that’s got more to do with having left my original school system before HS than a lack of experience with being on the outside of the social order.

I hope that gives you all the information you wanted, Large Marge. (And more, besides, I’d wager.)
*I know that linking to one’s own eBay auctions is bad form, but I’ve got no relation to the store I linked - just offering the link as a way for those interested in the topic to see what got me thinking about the ideas in this thread. I hope no one minds the link.

The whole thing smacks of stalker to me. It’s more than a little creepy if I think of it that way. On the other hand, I didn’t get yearbooks and I kinda wish I did. I stay in touch with quite a few of the old buds and it really is nostalgic to look back on 1970-1974. Remembering everyone with hair and waistlines…

Damn, my mother went to school in the LA area and has pictures of Gary Carter, baseball player, and Steven Segual, yeah. But when everything got sold they were sold too and I didn’t know it. My father sold them and I would have kept them. And then sold them on eBay.