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View Full Version : Low numbers - Do they really make a difference



Greenelk
09-18-2011, 03:55 PM
I've been collecting books for many years now, but I've never had any of them valued, or really looked into that (wouldn't know where to begin for a start), and I've never sold any.

I know I've got a copy of rare items, such as the review copy of Micheal Marshall Smith's Only Forward, which I belive there are very few of, and a few other books that seem to sell for silly money these days.

However, I was wondering if having a low number of a limited does in people's opinions make a difference to value? I've got a number 1 of the PS Publishing version of Colorado Kid (Slipcased JK Potter edition) but I'm not sure why that would make it worth more than number 150 of 150?

Is it an individual taste thing, or am I just spouting rubbish?

Thoughts on this one appreciated.

G

Ben Staad
09-19-2011, 12:09 AM
I've been collecting books for many years now, but I've never had any of them valued, or really looked into that (wouldn't know where to begin for a start), and I've never sold any.

I know I've got a copy of rare items, such as the review copy of Micheal Marshall Smith's Only Forward, which I belive there are very few of, and a few other books that seem to sell for silly money these days.

However, I was wondering if having a low number of a limited does in people's opinions make a difference to value? I've got a number 1 of the PS Publishing version of Colorado Kid (Slipcased JK Potter edition) but I'm not sure why that would make it worth more than number 150 of 150?

Is it an individual taste thing, or am I just spouting rubbish?

Thoughts on this one appreciated.

G

To me I'm not sure if it would bump up the value much but it would certainly make it more interesting to a collector. I guess what I'm getting at is that I think you could sell it for slightly more (maybe 3-5% more) and it wouldn't sit around long. Since I'm not a big wheeler and dealer it would be interesting to get someone else's opinion.

Grant Wootton
09-19-2011, 05:35 AM
For me, the lower the number on a Limited (or the alpha on a Lettered) the greater the intrinsic value it has to me, as a collector/reader. I love to collect, so, when I'm scouting for a particular item to add to my library, I place a personal premium of lower numbers/alphas, and would likely pay more for an # 12 than I would for a # 740, or a Letter B as opposed to an "FF" (or whatever). To use Greenelk's example, I have a Chadbourne slipcased Colorado Kid, and whilst it is exactly the same (quality and production wise) as # 1, or # 10, etc, to me Greenelk's copy has considerably more intrinsic value than the copy that I actually possess, which is a File Copy (same as a Publishers Copy I guess). How much more is it worth, to me? Difficult to say, but if I saw an identical item for sale, with copy # 740 for $200 and Copy # 12 for $250, I'd more likely lean towards take the # 12 at the extra $50. If the #12 was $500, then reason would have to prevail (well, hopefully :) and I'd go with the # 740. BTW Greenelk, if you want to get a ballpark figure for what some of your treasures are worth, I've found Abebooks to be a reasonably good barometer.

frik51
09-19-2011, 05:49 AM
Low numbers seem to make a difference for some, while they leave others cold, like me. I certainly would not pay more for a low numbered edition.
I usually go by eBay if I want to have my books valued. I follow the sales of a particular title for a number of months. This gives me a pretty good idea of what it's worth. Or, maybe I should say, what people are willing to spend.

sk

Dave1442397
09-19-2011, 11:04 AM
I don't care at all. If it's a limited edition of 750 copies, then 1/750 is worth the same as 750/750 to me.

I've never actually sold a book, so I don't know how much it would matter to potential buyers.

jhanic
09-19-2011, 01:25 PM
I feel the same way. It's kind of neat to have a low number, but, to me, it's no different that a higher number in value.

John

JDar.
09-19-2011, 01:25 PM
It's the smell. Number 1 has to smell better than number 750 . . . the person adding the numbers starts getting hand cramps and slop sweat after number 500 . . . :p

(sorry, couldn't resist)

Keep Smiling, Jan

RJK1981
09-20-2011, 05:33 AM
If I have the option of buying identical books with different numbers for around the same price then I will usually go with the lower number. I won't pay extra just to get a low number though typically. I do like lower numbers though because of their added value to some collectors, but am not willing to pay a premium for low numbers. My lowest number for numbered items so far is #9 for the LE of CD #61 (and #62 when I get that one, as well as future issues). Lowest # for books are in the 30's

Grant Wootton
09-21-2011, 06:26 AM
It's the smell. Number 1 has to smell better than number 750 . . . the person adding the numbers starts getting hand cramps and slop sweat after number 500 . . . :p

(sorry, couldn't resist)

Keep Smiling, Jan

Awesome response Jan, although it has made me look at my higher numbered limited with a new eye - and, no, I haven't attempted a sniff test to determine whether your therory holds water :D

srboone
09-21-2011, 06:52 AM
Well, there might be something to that. I use the sniff test for movies all the time (you can smell a truly bad one even before you enter the theater!).:eek:

JDar.
09-21-2011, 08:07 AM
;)

This could also explain why CD rarely provides individual numbers for books with over 750 copies.

Jan

Dan Hocker
09-21-2011, 02:25 PM
;)

This could also explain why CD rarely provides individual numbers for books with over 750 copies.

Jan

That and after numbering several thousand copies of certain books, we realized just how insanely much work numbering 3,000 books is.

JDar.
09-21-2011, 03:05 PM
That and after numbering several thousand copies of certain books, we realized just how insanely much work numbering 3,000 books is.

I would expect it to be high on the "Most Boring Jobs" list.

What I get a kick out of is when someone gets a #182 and the books were limited to only 175 copies. :eek:

Dan Hocker
09-21-2011, 03:22 PM
I would expect it to be high on the "Most Boring Jobs" list.

What I get a kick out of is when someone gets a #182 and the books were limited to only 175 copies. :eek:

I hope you're not refering to one of our books... I can't remember the last time we did a numbered run that low.

JDar.
09-21-2011, 04:16 PM
I hope you're not refering to one of our books... I can't remember the last time we did a numbered run that low.

Definitely not CD . . . and thankfully you don't hear about it happening too often.

btw - to bring this full circle, CD books always smell GREAT. ;)

Dan Hocker
09-21-2011, 04:52 PM
Definitely not CD . . . and thankfully you don't hear about it happening too often.

btw - to bring this full circle, CD books always smell GREAT. ;)

Now that's one I haven't heard before....

Greenelk
09-21-2011, 04:53 PM
Now I'm really worried. I thought my addiction to buying the books was bad enough, I didn't realise I could end up snorting them!!

JDar.
09-21-2011, 05:48 PM
Oh no! I can't be the only one who appreciates the "new book" smell while fondling the covers of a newly published gem. :confused:

Grant Wootton
09-22-2011, 01:56 AM
Oh no! I can't be the only one who appreciates the "new book" smell while fondling the covers of a newly published gem. :confused:

Sigh :( I, too, must confess my inordinate appreciation of the new book smell - better than a new car smell, cos I can afford far more of the former than I can of the latter ;) I'll now toddle out of the CD confessional booth and say 10 Hail Matherson's in penance. My work here is done :cool:

peteOcha
09-22-2011, 12:51 PM
Oh no! I can't be the only one who appreciates the "new book" smell while fondling the covers of a newly published gem. :confused:

I love new book smell!

And new video game smell as well! The first thing I do when I get a new game is sniff it for several minutes! My wife usually leaves the room at this time... :D

srboone
09-22-2011, 05:18 PM
I'm an old-book-smell kinda guy myself. Best smell in the world , except for...sorry, went into Roland LeBay mode there.:o

But new-book-smell is where it all starts! As for fondling the covers, I prefer the lubricated covers of CD that the un-lubed ones of say, Subterranean Press.:rolleyes:

Grant Wootton
09-23-2011, 10:38 AM
I'm an old-book-smell kinda guy myself. Best smell in the world , except for...sorry, went into Roland LeBay mode there.:o

But new-book-smell is where it all starts! As for fondling the covers, I prefer the lubricated covers of CD that the un-lubed ones of say, Subterranean Press.:rolleyes:

If Rollie weren't tooling around in Christine somewhere's he'd surely be rolling (no pun intended) over in his grave over that one :)

peteOcha
09-23-2011, 01:28 PM
I don't really care when it comes to low numbers... I mean, it would be great to have a low numbered limited, but I won't go out of my way and spend more just to get one that's a lower number. Although I do see how it could add to the book's value if it was a single digit number.

sdkdmd
12-04-2011, 11:42 PM
Ooh, ooh that smell
Can't you smell that smell?

goathunter
12-05-2011, 06:38 PM
Although I do see how it could add to the book's value if it was a single digit number.

How? Since books are typically numbered after the author has signed the sheets, there's not even a guarantee that copy #1 was the first one signed by the author. And since they're all from the same print run, the books should be physically identical.

Yet I've read about people "upgrading" their limited editions by buying a lower number. That never made any sense to me. I can somewhat understand wanting matching numbers of books in a series, but the number itself is so irrelevant, I can't see what difference it makes. But I know it does to some people. Hence my "How?" Do we just all automatically assume a lower number has a higher value?

I'm not really expecting an answer, because there is only one answer: some people believe a lower number is more valuable, so they are willing to pay more to get it, thereby proving that a lower number is more valuable. And why do they believe it? Probably because it psychologically suggests that they're a bigger---or more important---fan/buyer/reader, because they have the low number, which means they bought it first or earlier.....

Hunter

ClydeUmney
12-05-2011, 06:40 PM
I think it's usually more desirable, but I don't think I'd pay that much more for it. But given the choice, of a #5 and a #740, I might pay $5-10 more or so if there was just a small price bump. If they were the same price I would definitely buy #5 over #740. And strangely, I never see #1s or #2s for sale, but then again I usually don't see the last number for sale either #750, so maybe it works at both ends of the spectrum and all that's left are the middle numbers!
I always find it strange, though, when you buy a book and it's missing a letter or a number and there's just a blank space. I assume these are mostly PC copies, but you never know!

Dan Hocker
12-05-2011, 06:45 PM
I think it's more of a personal preference thing as well as a common misconception among novice collectors. The lower number isn't technically more valuable, but there are typically more people wanting lower numbers so they are willing to pay more for a lower number. That and a lot of novice collectors are under the impression that the lower the number to more valuable to book is. If enough people think this way and are willing to pay more for a lower number, that makes the lower numbers worth more, even if they are physically identical to the higher numbers.

Greenelk
12-05-2011, 07:38 PM
When I joined the collectors club for the Mansion House/Hard Gore books I ended up with 68 as 69 was gone. The only reason this meant something to me is because I'm a pervert.

That's quite a sad admission actually.

And possibly tongue in cheek. Though I did ask for number 69. ;)

Dave1442397
12-06-2011, 10:45 AM
And possibly tongue in cheek.

I hope no one asks which cheek...

srboone
12-06-2011, 11:03 AM
Party-Pooper!


HA!!!

RJK1981
12-07-2011, 06:47 PM
And strangely, I never see #1s or #2s for sale

I actually did see a #1 for sale a few months ago of a hard to find CD book that they were asking a large amount for compared to other numbers I'd seen for sale. Think it was Operator "B", but not completely sure. Other than that book, I don't think I've seen a #1 for sale before.

bsaenz24
02-20-2013, 04:49 PM
Low numbers only matter to people who are selling books with low numbers......

Tommy
02-20-2013, 09:14 PM
Low numbers only matter to people who are selling books with low numbers......

And of course to those people looking to buy low numbers

Martin
02-20-2013, 10:33 PM
I prefer numbered books, even though I do not care what number I get, because I feel more comfortable that the book publisher stuck to the number that way. If a book says 1 of 999 it would be harder to confirm an extra out there then if it is numbered.
And of course to those people looking to buy low numbers, otherwise what is the point of numbering the books in the first place?

Tommy
02-20-2013, 11:04 PM
I prefer numbered books, even though I do not care what number I get, because I feel more comfortable that the book publisher stuck to the number that way. If a book says 1 of 999 it would be harder to confirm an extra out there then if it is numbered.

I feel similarly, prefer numbered editions but don't really care which number, the collectors' market however does tend to put higher values on lower numbered books but I guess I am not telling you guys anything you don't already know :D

srboone
02-20-2013, 11:38 PM
But, of course, I someone felt they needed to pay more for a #1 that I was selling, I'd let (and probably encourage) them! ;)

bookworm 1
02-20-2013, 11:45 PM
Me to.Only if I am the seller.
But, of course, I someone felt they needed to pay more for a #1 that I was selling, I'd let (and probably encourage) them! ;)

Tommy
02-21-2013, 12:49 AM
But, of course, I someone felt they needed to pay more for a #1 that I was selling, I'd let (and probably encourage) them! ;)

and on the flip-side of that, as a buyer I love numbered editions because I can pay less, sometimes a lot less, for a higher number and get the exact same book far cheaper than the lower numbered ones :cool:

saginawhorror
02-26-2013, 06:05 PM
The lowest I have is a #8.

rusty23
02-27-2013, 02:04 PM
What's everyone's opinions of PC editions? It's the same book as a numbered edition...

divemaster
02-27-2013, 02:51 PM
Sure it is the same book, but not the same limitation. If I have number, say, #331, I know that no one else has that number. If I have a book with a blank line or "PC" then any number of shmucks out there could have the same thing.

I collect King S/L'd editions. I have no use or desire for PC or blank-line books.

Tommy
02-27-2013, 03:39 PM
Sure it is the same book, but not the same limitation. If I have number, say, #331, I know that no one else has that number. If I have a book with a blank line or "PC" then any number of shmucks out there could have the same thing.

I collect King S/L'd editions. I have no use or desire for PC or blank-line books.

But tell us how you really feel :cool:

Tommy
02-27-2013, 03:45 PM
Personally I kinda like PC copies, sure they are usually the last of Lettered or Numbered editions to sell but you can get them cheaper and like with my PC copy of the Lettered He Is Legend, I asked the publisher how many there were and only about 13 were for sale compared to the 52 lettered, depends on how you look at it I guess, PC copies also are what wind up in the hands of the people directly involved with the production of the book were as lettered and numbered ones are for the public, same signatures, same production value, only difference is a few pen strokes

jhanic
02-28-2013, 01:57 PM
I avoid PC editions, mainly for the same reason as divemaster. I like the uniqueness of the numbered copy.

John

Tommy
02-28-2013, 02:10 PM
I do prefer the numbered/lettered editions to PC's but I don't avoid PC's as a rule, especially if my choice is between nothing and a PC

subie09lega
03-15-2013, 02:22 PM
Oh no! I can't be the only one who appreciates the "new book" smell while fondling the covers of a newly published gem. :confused:

I just saw this thread for the first time and thought this tangent was rather humorous. I love the smell of leather and when someone hands me a leatherbound book, the first thing I do, without thinking about it, is to smell it. I always get strange looks from the people who see me but I love the smell. Old books as well, nothing smells like it.

Tommy
03-15-2013, 06:34 PM
I avoid PC editions, mainly for the same reason as divemaster. I like the uniqueness of the numbered copy.

John

what if PC copies were numbered PC1, PC2... or lettered PCA, PCB...etc?

Joe315
03-15-2013, 09:09 PM
I like having a low number if I can get it, but I wouldn't actively search one out. I also don't put a higher value on a low number vs a high number. Like John and divemaster I would rather have a numbered version versus a PC copy, even though there may be less PC's of a given book.

Theli
03-25-2013, 05:50 PM
I hardly have enough money to by signed copies, so i can't be too picky about what number it is that I get. That said if it's a larger print run #666 would always be the coveted one for me. Other than that the first and last printed copy would be slightly me more valued to me, but not enough that I would pay any substantial amount more for them.

Hedda Gabler
03-27-2013, 09:18 PM
What happens when you buy a book that is supposed to be one of a set number, and they forgot to put any number in the blank?

srboone
03-27-2013, 09:58 PM
You can give yourself a #1 !

Or I suppose you can contact them and determine which nuber you were supposed to get.

Hedda Gabler
03-27-2013, 11:01 PM
It's a Joe Hill book so I'm hoping maybe someday I will get to go to one of his signings and I will take this book and maybe have him doodle something fun in the blank.

Theli
03-29-2013, 08:03 PM
It's a Joe Hill book so I'm hoping maybe someday I will get to go to one of his signings and I will take this book and maybe have him doodle something fun in the blank.
Good call! Are you sure it was meant to be numbered and not just a second printing or something?

RJK1981
04-08-2013, 07:57 PM
I just saw this thread for the first time and thought this tangent was rather humorous. I love the smell of leather and when someone hands me a leatherbound book, the first thing I do, without thinking about it, is to smell it. I always get strange looks from the people who see me but I love the smell. Old books as well, nothing smells like it.

Gotta agree about the smell. I don't actively go around smelling books, but I love the smell of used bookstores. I got an old paperback of Rosemary's Baby from Half Price Books that was in a plastic bag, and opening the bag greeted me with a strong old used book smell, and I loved the smell I found.

srboone
04-08-2013, 08:15 PM
Those Easton Press books know how to doll themselves up for your olafactory pleasure!

12334

"I love the smell of book ink in the morning."--Umberto Eco.

srboone
04-08-2013, 08:16 PM
12337

jhanic
04-09-2013, 01:18 AM
I can't see the attachment.

John

Martin
04-09-2013, 01:32 AM
That might be for the better.
I can't see the attachment.

John

srboone
04-09-2013, 02:08 AM
Fixed. Hopefully.

subie09lega
04-09-2013, 02:34 AM
Fixed. Hopefully.

That's awesome

jhanic
04-09-2013, 12:48 PM
I can see it now. Interesting!

John

Tito_Villa
04-10-2013, 11:27 AM
Again they don't make a difference to me, more so now that i won't be collecting signed limited King books

Tommy
05-16-2013, 08:01 PM
With regards to the numbering and lettering of signed editions, who numbers and letters the signature pages?

Brian James Freeman
05-16-2013, 08:12 PM
With regards to the numbering and lettering of signed editions, who numbers and letters the signature pages?

The warehouse staff 99% of the time. The authors are not supposed to do it because the bindery chews up 10% to 20% of the sheets during printing and binding, so we'd have to go through every book and figure out which numbers/letters were lost and which ones were not. We HAVE had to do that a few times. It isn't fun. :)

Brian

Tommy
05-16-2013, 08:13 PM
The warehouse staff 99% of the time. The authors are not supposed to do it because the bindery chews up 10% to 20% of the sheets during printing and binding, so we'd have to go through every book and figure out which numbers/letters were lost and which ones were not. We HAVE had to do that a few times. It isn't fun. :)

Brian

Interesting, cool, thanks Brian :cool:

Dan Hocker
05-16-2013, 08:14 PM
The warehouse staff 99% of the time. The authors are not supposed to do it because the bindery chews up 10% to 20% of the sheets during printing and binding, so we'd have to go through every book and figure out which numbers/letters were lost and which ones were not. We HAVE had to do that a few times. It isn't fun. :)

Brian

Also we'd have to hunt down the requested numbers, which is no fun.

Tommy
05-16-2013, 08:17 PM
so are they written in sequence or maybe in the order that they are requested by collectors and shipped as such?

Brian James Freeman
05-16-2013, 08:21 PM
Also we'd have to hunt down the requested numbers, which is no fun.

Ha, yes, that too!

Dan Hocker
05-16-2013, 08:21 PM
so are they written in sequence or maybe in the order that they are requested by collectors and shipped as such?

Not really. There's usually no particular order that they are numbered in. Though we typically work from the end of the numbering list towards the front. Also they aren't really numbered one at a time per order. We'll take and number 50 or so then take 50 orders and pack them up. (50 is a random number it can be more or less)

The reason we typically work from the end of the numbering list, is because most of the requested numbers and numbers that belong to our "lifetime members" are towards the beginning of the list and it's much easier to work in the big blocks of unclaimed numbers at the end.

Edit: As to the requested numbers. Those are marked on the orders as they are requested. We pull those out and highlight the numbers on the list so as not to use them. Sometimes we will ship the requested numbers first as well. It all just depends on how things fall in the shipping process.

Brian James Freeman
05-16-2013, 08:22 PM
so are they written in sequence or maybe in the order that they are requested by collectors and shipped as such?

Dan can answer more in depth about how he handles them these days, but we have numbering/lettering charts -- literally, a sheet or two or three with boxes labeled 1, 2, 3, etc, through 500 or 750 or 1000 or whatever and we cross off each number as it is numbered to prevent double-numbering.

Edited: Dan beat me to it!

Tommy
05-16-2013, 08:23 PM
Cool stuff, thanks guys!

Tommy
05-16-2013, 08:31 PM
so are the books numbered/lettered or the pages numbered/lettered and then put into the books? Sorry for so many questions, just curious about how it all works

Dan Hocker
05-16-2013, 08:33 PM
so are the books numbered/lettered or the pages numbered/lettered and then put into the books? Sorry for so many questions, just curious about how it all works

The books. If the pages where numbered / lettered we'd run into the same problem as if the author numbered / lettered them.

srboone
05-16-2013, 08:36 PM
We still don't feel sorry for you guys...:p

Tommy
05-16-2013, 08:39 PM
The books. If the pages where numbered / lettered we'd run into the same problem as if the author numbered / lettered them.

I see, thanks for the info :cool:

Brian James Freeman
05-16-2013, 08:55 PM
Yep, here's the process in a nutshell:

1) We print up the signature sheets, including extras for PCs to account for damage, the author's copies, the publisher's copies, etc
2) We send these sheets to the author (and anyone else such as the artist) to sign
3) Once the sheets are back to us and the printer is ready to roll, we send them all kinds of stuff like "spec sheets" (which tells them what materials to use, etc), along with the big boxes of signed signature sheets
4) The signature sheets are "tipped" into the book during the printing and binding process
4A) They can be "machine tipped" -- meaning the sheets are fed into the front of the book during the printing/binding process automatically
4B) They can also be done by hand, meaning someone is standing there and the whole printing/binding process comes to a complete stop for EVERY book so the person can put one sheet in place -- this is VERY SLOW and EXPENSIVE, so you don't do it this way unless you have to. LEGACIES was done this way due to the number of sheets.
5) The books are finished and shipped back to us
6) The warehouse numbers/letters the books accordingly

Brian

Tommy
05-16-2013, 09:03 PM
Yep, here's the process in a nutshell:

1) We print up the signature sheets, including extras for PCs to account for damage, the author's copies, the publisher's copies, etc
2) We send these sheets to the author (and anyone else such as the artist) to sign
3) Once the sheets are back to us and the printer is ready to roll, we send them all kinds of stuff like "spec sheets" (which tells them what materials to use, etc), along with the big boxes of signed signature sheets
4) The signature sheets are "tipped" into the book during the printing and binding process
4A) They can be "machine tipped" -- meaning the sheets are fed into the front of the book during the printing/binding process automatically
4B) They can also be done by hand, meaning someone is standing there and the whole printing/binding process comes to a complete stop for EVERY book so the person can put one sheet in place -- this is VERY SLOW and EXPENSIVE, so you don't do it this way unless you have to. LEGACIES was done this way due to the number of sheets.
5) The books are finished and shipped back to us
6) The warehouse numbers/letters the books accordingly

Brian

Sweet, thanks for that breakdown, :cool:

Theli
05-16-2013, 09:10 PM
Very interesting, thanks for filling us in. I was wondering about the numbering and signing process myself.

Brian James Freeman
05-16-2013, 10:21 PM
I'll go into a little more detail (with photos!) on my blog next week if I ever get a few minutes of free time. :)

Brian

Dan Hocker
05-17-2013, 02:30 AM
I was actually thinking of posting a picture of a number sheet, but when I took the picture it looked like crap so I said maybe later.

Ben Staad
05-17-2013, 04:59 PM
I'll go into a little more detail (with photos!) on my blog next week if I ever get a few minutes of free time. :)

Brian


I was actually thinking of posting a picture of a number sheet, but when I took the picture it looked like crap so I said maybe later.

Very interesting info. If there is anymore to the process I would love to hear it. Thanks.

Brian James Freeman
05-17-2013, 05:18 PM
Very interesting info. If there is anymore to the process I would love to hear it. Thanks.

We'll get some photos and I will post in detail next week!

Ben Staad
05-24-2013, 02:30 PM
We'll get some photos and I will post in detail next week!

Somehow I missed this. Looking forward to hearing more about the process. Thanks.

FrankP
05-24-2013, 04:40 PM
There's lots of great info here for those of us "not in the know". Thanks Brian and Dan!

T-Dogz_AK47
09-08-2013, 09:45 AM
I was actually thinking of posting a picture of a number sheet, but when I took the picture it looked like crap so I said maybe later.

Can you take another picture and post it? I would really like to see a number sheet. :D

Reading the posts on this thread has given me a lot of information about the processes that take place in book production. It is very interesting to read about. Thanks Brian and Dan for taking the time to explain things. :) :cool: