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Planning Retirement Online

Family Treasures - Edition 18
                                      June 2005

Miller's Price Guide 

Purchase Miller's Price Guide 2004/2005

Family Treasures 18

Jill Churchill, who writes on antiques and collectables for YOURS magazine, continues her series .     




Children`s picture books

If you have children, the chances are that you have some old picture books on your shelves waiting to be rediscovered by the grandchildren. But maybe you should buy a new edition instead of handing over the old ones. Think of Raymond Briggs’ wonderful The Snowman (1978): if you’d kept a pristine first edition it could now be worth ?40, while his earlier Father Christmas (1973) might be ?50 today.



Amazon book - The snowman  

The same ?50 might buy first editions from such much-loved artists as John Burningham (look for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang 1964) and Quentin Blake (Mrs Magnolia 1980), while Maurice Sendak’s Where The Wild Things Are (1967) can fetch ?250. And if you have a first edition (1950-56) of any one of the Narnia stories in its original dust wrapper and illustrated by Pauline Baynes, it could be worth a healthy ?1,000.




Eyeing the potential

Collectors of modern children’s books develop a quick eye for fine art,
and love the highly detailed, beautifully printed first editions that throw new light on an old story. Examples are Michael Hague’s interpretation of Peter Pan (1987) now worth ?30, and The Hobbit (1984) now worth ?35.

Developing your own ‘eye’ can be fun and a fairly inexpensive hobby, especially if you choose nursery and alphabet books. It’s too soon to guess at values, but in art circles, there’s much talk of the work of Japanese-American artist Satomi Ichikawa (Suzanne and Nicholas Books, 1970s); of Rosemary Wells for her rabbit character Max; and of Arno Kurisowar’s Arno’s ABC.

The trick to making a new discovery is to scout the independent bookshops, as they buy from smaller publishers, and may ‘take a chance’ on a new artist. Look out for books with illustrations that seem original or unusual. For values of established-artist books, keenest collectors subscribe to the mail order lists of specialist dealers: try Bookmark Children’s Books (01793 731693).

And you might consider that next time you buy a picture book for a grandchild, you should buy two – one for pure enjoyment now, and one to put away for the future.


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