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How do I Choose a Reputable Antique Book Dealer?

By Christina Edwards
Updated May 16, 2024
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Buying or selling antique books can be an enjoyable hobby, as well as a lucrative way to make some extra spending cash. Finding a reputable antique book dealer can be a bit difficult. Many good antique book dealers have a vast knowledge of antique books in general, and some may specialize in a certain type of antique books. A reputable dealer will also not pressure you to buy or sell a certain item of interest.

An antique book dealer will usually be able to give you a general estimate of a particular book over the phone. Almost all book dealers, however, will require you to bring them the book so they can inspect it in person. During this inspection, he will authenticate and inspect the book.

If you are looking for a particular antique book, a reputable antique book dealer can help you as well. Reputable book dealers will usually take the time to answer all of your questions. Most of them will also allow you to think over your purchase, and never rush you or pressure you into purchasing a certain item. Unless the dealer is a friend, however, if another buyer makes a decision before you, he may sell the item to the other buyer while you are pondering your decision.

A reputable book dealer will usually have a list of equally reputable contacts or business associates. He will usually ask their opinions, if there is something he is not sure of. Other times he may even refer you to them. This will usually happen when he either specializes in a certain type of valuable books, or you have or are looking for a particularly rare book.

When it comes to price, a reputable antique book dealer will usually be relatively clear about prices. When buying valuable books, though, you will usually find that these dealers will sell them for slightly more than they are appraised for. On the other hand, if you are looking to sell a book, you will not usually get the exact amount that it is appraised for. Most antique and rare book dealers are business people, and like any other business, they need to make a profit. Prices will often be close to the appraisal value, however, a reputable dealer will not sell a very valuable book for dirt cheap.

Many bookstores, especially smaller intimate shops, often know of at least one reputable antique book dealer in their area. Some of these stores may even have a book dealer that actually works at the store. These dealers can also be found by searching in a phone book, or on online rare book selling sites. Extra caution should be taken with online dealers though, to minimize the possibility of getting scammed.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By Spotiche5 — On Oct 31, 2014

If you collect antique books, it is a good idea to shop around to find the best deals and the most interesting old books. In larger cities, there may be several antique dealers that specialize in books. If you are shopping for antique books in an area like this, visit as many of these dealers as possible to find some truly special old books to add to your collection. It will be worth the time it takes to find what you are looking for.

By Heavanet — On Oct 30, 2014

I had to get an antique book appraised several years ago, so I was searching for an antique book dealer who could give me information about my book. After visiting several dealers, I found that those who had been in the business the longest seemed to be more knowledgeable about the value of antique books. Since this is a business that takes time and experience to understand the value of antique books, it only makes sense that dealers with years in the trade are the best to work with.

I think that the bottom line is that experience definitely counts when looking for a reputable antique book dealer.

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