Value of American Cyclopaedia

Any ideas on the value of a 16 volume, 2nd edition 1875, of the American Cyclopaedia?


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March 23, 20180 found this helpful
Best Answer

The value of any book lies in the publication date and overall condition as well as how many publications are available and most importantly "does anybody want it?".

  • A short history of this set of books:
  • The cyclopaedia was revived under the title American Cyclopaedia in 1873-6. A final edition was issued in 1883-4, which added supplements to each volume of the 1873 edition. Two analytical indexes were published separately in 1878 and 1884.
  • It just happens that your set of cyclopaedias is on the rare side and still in demand but you do not state the overall condition or the area where books are located.
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  • The condition is very important and can mean the difference in value of several hundred dollars (maybe thousand) but most important it might make the difference in whether the set ever sells.
  • After all, value means nothing if an item never sells.
  • You have 16 volumes so you must be missing the index as most sets have 17 volumes.
  • You are saying "2nd edition" but I found several 1979 sets and they all state "2nd Edition" so maybe there were several years of the 2nd edition?.
  • The prices on the sets currently listed run from $400 to several thousand. From what I have read the contents of the different years remains about the same but the bindings changed.
  • I am going to list several sets presently up for sale (3/2018) so you can review the descriptions/prices and compare them to the set you have.

    This may give you an idea as to what a ballpark figure for your set might be. These may not be your year but they are close enough to review as I cannot find very much difference in the 1873-1879 sets but the bindings may make a difference.
  • You may want to have your set appraised so you will know for sure what they may be worth.
  • You can Google antique book appraisals with your zip code and maybe find some shops/auctions in your area. You should take several books with you and they should be the best and the worst (more of the worst).
  • You can also ask for an appraisal from places on the Internet. Here are a couple of links for you to check - they may say "free" but check it out to be sure.
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  • Your local librarian may have a list of sites that offer appraisals also.
  • You will probably need photos of your set (some up close photos also) if you ask for an appraisal.
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March 23, 20180 found this helpful

If it is complete and over 100 years old,it has some value. Take it to 3 book dealers to get free estimates.

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March 23, 20180 found this helpful

I'm not seeing your set of books online or anyone selling them not. But I did find out some interesting information on how they determine the value of your books.

I had no idea that they actually look for errors in the books. It is said that the early printing of books the printer wouldn't throw away a complete batch of printed pages because of one error.


Back then they would correct these errors and move on. The errors they find in books helps collectors determine how early your book was printed. I thought this was interesting and decided to mention it to you here.

Anyhow, an antique auction house is one of the best places to go to ask about the value of your books. They have people on hand that appraise these types of books if you're wanting to sell them or not.

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