The children’s books that are worth THOUSANDS

From The Very Hungry Caterpillar to Where The Wild Things Are, the children’s books that are worth THOUSANDS (so do YOU have any tucked away in the attic?)

  • Rare children’s books can make an excellent investment, an expert revealed 
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar and the Cat In The Hat are both worth thousands
  • The value of a 1999 edition of The Gruffalo has increased by 200% since 2004 
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They are often carted off to charity shops or left to gather dust in the attic, but your favourite books from childhood could actually be your next big money-maker, an expert has revealed.

Titles including The Velveteen Rabbit and the Cat In The Hat can be worth thousands of pounds at auction, according to British antiques expert David Harper.

Meanwhile a perfectly intact copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar could fetch more than £12,000. 


They are often carted off to charity shops or left to gather dust in the attic, but your favourite books from childhood could actually be your next big money-maker. A first edition of The Very Hungry Caterpillar (1969), pictured, is estimated to be worth as much as £12,085


Where The Wild Things Are, pictured, the 1963 book by American writer and illustrator Maurice Senda, has enjoyed one of the biggest increases in value. It is worth £5,000 today




The Velveteen Rabbit (1922), left, is worth an estimated £6,971 today. Right, The Giving Tree (1964), written and illustrated by Shel Silverstein, is worth some £3,491

Mr Harper, who conducted the research in collaboration with Home Protect Insurance, explained that unlike obvious investment pieces like vintage watches or rare designer handbags, children’s books are more likely to be overlooked. 

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He continued: ‘A children’s book worth hundreds or thousands of pounds, may have an old price ticket inside the cover of just a couple of pounds. 

‘It could be that it’s a bit thumbed and looks valueless, so it’s likely to be thrown away or given to a local charity, only later to be discovered by an eagle-eyed collector.’




Dr Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat (1957) is worth £831. Right, The Tiger Who Came To Tea, first released in 1968, would fetch an estimated £641


A first edition of 1985 classic The Polar Express is worth an estimated £475 today, experts say

How much are YOUR books worth? 

The Very Hungry Caterpillar (1969), £12,085

Where the Wild Things Are (1963), £5,090

The Velveteen Rabbit (1922), £6,971

The Giving Tree (1964), £3,491 

 The Cat in the Hat (1957), £831

The Tiger Who Came to Tea (1968), £641

Histoire de Babar (1931), £538 

The Polar Express (1985), £475 

The Gruffalo (1999), £161

The Little Engine that Could (1930),£127

The estimated value of first edition books in 2019 based on year-on-year percentage increase in value between 2004-2016.

If you think you might have stumbled across a valuable title, go straight to the inside cover and double check for the edition and date. Then put the title into an internet search alongside these details. 

Where The Wild Things Are, the 1963 children’s picture book by American writer and illustrator Maurice Senda, has enjoyed one of the biggest increases in value in the last 12 years. 

In 2004, a first edition of the title was worth £1,540. In 2019 Mr Harper estimates it could be worth as much as £5,000 at auction. 




Histoire de Babar (1931), left, is worth £538. Right, The Gruffalo (1999) could fetch £161


The Little Engine that Could, first published in 1930, could fetch as much as £127 today

This represents a 200 per cent increase, which Mr Harper claims is significantly more than the value increase seen by gold over the same period. 

However for a book to be successful, it must be both complete – no missing pages – and in excellent condition. 

Mr Harper added: ‘Any damage or missing pages can decrease value significantly. 

‘Most 20th century books also need to have their original dust-jacket to be of collectable value.’

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