Value of an 1805 Philadelphia School Dictionary

I have a copy of the Philadelphia School dictionary by Benjamin Johnson 1805. Any help and pricing this would be a great help. Of everyone I've talked to nobody can find any records, auction, or book sales about this particular dictionary. I am aware that only 3 libraries are known to have a copy.

Any information about this 1805 dictionary would be helpful as I am at a standstill.

Thank you.

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May 20, 20190 found this helpful

I would contact Antiques Roadshow at Another route would be to find an antique book dealer.

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May 20, 20190 found this helpful

it's possible this may be the same book

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May 20, 20190 found this helpful

Thank you for your response but I have come across that one and many more of Samuel Johnson's dictionaries. It's Benjamin Johnson's dictionary that is being very elusive. Thank you again.

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May 20, 20191 found this helpful

My suggestion is because of the rarity of the book to contact a reputable auction house in your area--preferably one with excellent yelp and better business bureau (BBB) (that is if you are in the US--if you are outside the US--a high rating in your country's consumer rating venue). Look for real auction houses that specialize in old and rare books, paintings, and paper to find the best fit for the appraisal and sale.


Be sure to read the contact thorough if you do decide to use the company so you understand everything about the sale and your percentage of the profits. Be sure to look for things like if they place a reserve on the piece (which means if you want to get X amount for it, they will not sell it for a lower amount). Usually this costs more, but if it is a high appraisal piece, it may be worth it to have the auction set that way.

I do not recommend selling a rate item on eBay. Too much hassle, too much risk for potential fraud, and if you are not an established seller who specializes in rare books, little to know chance of getting a true value from a buyer if it is appraised at a high dollar amount and that is what you want to fetch for the item.

Sadly the days of eBay being the go-to for rare things is lost for new sellers (and quite frankly risky for ALL buyers as there are so many con artists out there is disgusting.


It is so much different than when I started selling back in the early 2000s and a newbie could safely sell or buy something rare and have a successful auction for both buyer and seller.

Post back what you learn!! I am hoping that in your case rare = a nice tidy profit!!

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May 20, 20190 found this helpful

Thank you very much for the feed back every bit helps.

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