Series book values collapsed in late 2008 and have never recovered. The best way to see if a Nancy Drew book might have value is to run a search on eBay, select "sold," then view the results. It is that simple.
A second method is to find the online listings of actual Nancy Drew collectors. These sellers will sometimes identify themselves as Nancy Drew collectors. Other times, they can be located by finding the sellers who use certain specialized terms known only to Nancy Drew and series book collectors. The following terms and phrases are some examples.
orange silhouette endpapers
blue silhouette endpapers
blue multi endpapers
original text (often seen as OT)
revised text (often seen as RT)
solid blue book
twin thriller edition
wartime conditions notice
wraparound (or wrap) dust jacket
These sellers usually state the last title listed on the dust jacket or back cover of the books, since that is how to determine the age of the book. Any seller that knows to list the last title in the series list is knowledgeable about Nancy Drew books.
Once a Nancy Drew collector has been found who has books for sale, take a look at their prices. They know what the books are worth and price them accordingly. Their listings are a wealth of information that will help you know what to pay for books and will help you know which books are more desirable.
For some reason, many Nancy Drew enthusiasts are reluctant to purchase books online and instead rely on books found via local stores. These people frequently comment how they cannot find certain books, when those books are freely available online. Purchasing online can be intimidating, but the process is very easy and can save a lot of time and money.
First, buyers need to figure out which sellers to trust. A number of very knowledgeable collectors sell on sites like eBay and Etsy. Read the above section on "Values" for information about how to find the collectors who sell books. Buyers can mostly likely trust those sellers to deliver what is advertised. To make sure, view the seller's feedback. If past buyers are happy, then the seller is likely very trustworthy.
Sellers on eBay must accept returns. Even if your prospective seller states that no returns are accepted, eBay will force them to do so if you are dissatisfied. For that reason, buyers have nothing to lose by purchasing from a seller on eBay. Buyers cannot be defrauded, because they are protected by eBay's buyer protection policy.
Do watch out for sellers that give vague information or make general statements about the book, such as stating that it is the first edition, without giving the reason why. In fact, many shady sellers use the term "first edition" to trick buyers, since the term actually refers to the first edition of the text before any changes were made. The first edition of the text can consist of many printings. Buyers actually want the "first printing," which means exactly that.
If a person has just decided to collect Nancy Drew books and is confused about what to purchase, then that person needs to spend at least a couple of weeks viewing online listings and reading all available information on different websites.
Nancy Drew Collecting, Buying, and Selling Information
The above page contains a list of the most useful links for learning about collecting Nancy Drew books.
Remember to use eBay's search to find sold items to see the prices that have been paid for the collectible books. This will give the buyer an idea of how much to pay.
During early 2008, eBay changed the default search option on the site to Best Match. Best Match sorts the auctions by keywords that it considers to have a higher value. Best Match is not the best match for Nancy Drew collectors! The human brain is the best discriminator of collectible books.
I recommend that buyers change their default search to items ending soonest so that they get to see all of the Nancy Drew books up for sale presented in a nondiscriminatory fashion.
The original version of this page can be found here. Some collectors may still find some of the information useful.