What's It Worth? by Leslie Hindman

A Rare 'Velveteen Rabbit,' but How Rare?


It's not unusual to find an old children's book that's been forgotten among boxes of childhood souvenirs. Recently, a woman brought us an early edition of Margery Williams's "The Velveteen Rabbit," the 1922 children's story about the animating power of love.

The first edition, first printing of this beloved children's book sells at auction for as much as $8,000, but it is extremely hard to identify.

The first printing, published in London, is notable for its chromolithographed illustrations, which were replaced by cheaper photo-mechanical reproductions in later editions.

The photo reproductions, however, are so close to the lithograph illustrations that, without the first printing dust jacket, it is almost impossible to tell the printings apart. We are currently holding onto the book until our rare books specialist has the opportunity to compare it first-hand with a first printing.

But even if all you have is a worn paperback from the '50s, you've got something special. Here's a sentence to savor: "When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

Take a look around your place and see whether you have a well-aged book that might be worth something. E-mail a description and a photo to What's It Worth? and we'll give you an answer.



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