Signing the 1st Blank Page of A Book.......

… which one is giving as a present.

Dear Friends, I recently won an E-bay auction for some McGuffey’s Readers. The cover of one book reads thusly:

Published by the American Book Company.

Upon turning the book over, one sees on the back cover,ISBN 0-442-23561-5 and then G3561-000-7.

The other books are similar and when one opens them, it’s like they’ve never been used, but the copyright is 1879.

Now I have always read that if one inscribes a book one gives as a gift it devalues it, and I also wonder if these books may be reproductions and because they only cost me 12 dollars each (and the pages number 96) I am thinking maybe they aren’t as “antique” as I thought. Could this be? These are very dear friends of mine and I know it’s the thought that counts, but I wanted this book to be meaningful and valuable.

Please give me your insights, and I thank you!

Paranoid (and ignorant) Quasi

Not quite sure I understand the question–clearly the books are not antique, given the presence of an ISBN number (such numbers did not exist until 1969). Signing the titlepage isn’t going to affect the value of the books one way or another. – Unless you mean the sentimental value as opposed to resale value–surely a dedication is a nice touch if you’re giving it to someone. That said, many people feel embarrassed about selling off books from their collection which have affectionate dedications inscribed in them–hence the occasional appearance of books in shops with bits of the flyleaf cut out, or the first page removed entirely. Such vandalism DOES affect the (economic) value of a book.

In general, signing a book won’t reduce its value unless it’s a very messy, indelible signature or some long, annoying dedication. (I have a first edition of a minor but noteworthy poetry book from 1957 which has a dedication “to Cuddles xxxxxx” in it…argh!) On the other hand, marking the text of a book will substantially reduce its value. Yellow highlighter is the particular bane of booksellers–it virtually ruins books.

I’m not sure what you are asking.

If you think the book was from the 1800’s there was no ISBN # then.

If they were never used (all other factors being equal) isn’t that a good thing?

I don’t know about inscribing it - but you would think if it is an antique you would like it in as good of condition as you can get it. Sounds like you did get a reproduction but I really don’t know anything 'bout it (or what exactly you are asking).

So nice of you to respond, and it surely did help! So these books are really only 32 years old and I should have done a little more homework. :frowning:

Is there a SDMB for the hopelessly ignorant? I’ll just go there from now on. :slight_smile:

Sorry, y’all! I left out the fact that one of these books will go to the son of a friend whom I haven’t seen in a long time. The little boy is 5.

However, I would like also to give the rest as Christmas presents to other friends.



(consolidated posts as requested - with requisite groveling - from the OP. - Jill)

[Edited by JillGat on 08-06-2001 at 11:19 PM]