Nancy Drew - Scarce Books & Collectibles
Is it RARE? Or maybe it's just scarce. I don't want to define any of these items as rare - a term that is often overused by sellers and often what's called rare is just common. By scarce, I mean they seldom come up for sale but have come up enough to not be rare to just less than a handful of times to my knowledge. I have a section on my website - not updated in years, and it needs an update thanks to this posting. My tune has changed a bit about what is scarce or at least appears to be scarce.
Over the 80+ decades of Nancy Drew publishing history, there have been a few books that are fairly scarce--or hard to find. As far as collectibles go, some are considerably scarce - meaning I've only seen 1 or just a few sell in the last 20 years. There could be a warehouse somewhere full of them, but, in our collecting circles and the usual spots in the wild, you just don't find these often and they are:
1st printings of books 1-7 - Old Clock, Staircase, Bungalow, Lilac Inn, Shadow Ranch, Red Gate Farm and Diary - with dust jackets, complete. The blank endpaper books are fairly common, though not always first printings, often early printings listed, but the dust jackets are what is more scarce due to the nature of dust jackets. Of these 7, Lilac Inn and Diary to me are much harder to come by complete. But then again, they are not all as common as later printings, so there are not always firsts of these in dust jacket for sale all the time, so I consider these scarce when firsts and complete with DJs come up for sale.
The Password to Larkspur Lane printing with the Nancy Drew Detective movie wrapper - it's the wrapper that is scarce. I imagine many printings with this wrapper exist as to the book, but the wrapper surviving is another story.
1st printing of The Clue in the Crumbling Wall with Judy Bolton titles listed on the back of the dust jacket.
Books 2, 5, 8, and 11 in wrap spine dust jackets from 1950 listing to The Secret of the Wooden Lady. The ones that are misnumbered on the spine of the DJ - those are much harder to find than the hole-punched printings that followed them where they punched out the wrong volume number. For example The Hidden Staircase was numbered "8" on the spine instead of 2 and so forth.
Wanderer hardcovers in dust jacket for books 76-78 - these have been the hardest for me to find. I am still missing #76.
Library editions from the 40s - mostly featuring line drawings of the orignal Tandy art on the covers. Also the Grosset & Dunlap yellow spine/back cover with library symbol library binding of The Thirteenth Pearl.
Cameo editions with dust jackets of Old Clock and Hidden Staircase seem harder to find than the other Cameos even some of the harder to find Cameos, but I'm not sure I'd completely call these scarce as they do appear from time to time. But, if you wanted either of these in DJ, you may or not find them listed and it may take awhile for them to be at sites like eBay.
I'm not going to include 1 of a kind things like cover art/etc. - obviously those are rare to scarce items as there's only 1 of them. I'm going to include things that seldom have come up for sale to my knowledge in the last 20 years I've been collecting at eBay/etc.
TV Show - The Nancy Drew watch and the puzzle in the canister.
Movie - Lantern slides and press kits - these do not surface as often as posters and lobby cards/etc.
Book Collectibles - Madame Alexander doll complete with all accessories/tag/box is not that common to see - and some would include this. But, more than that are these items which are more scarce - Printer blocks, Cereal boxes (not repros), the Datebook/Homework Planner, Old Lace book audio tape. Original vintage book displays like the Haunted House display. The rest of the collectibles come up for sale often enough I wouldn't include them in a list of most scarce. Some of them are not easy to find, but they don't make my top list. I've seen enough white diaries for instance over the years at eBay to not consider that item truly scarce. To compare, I've never seen a haunted house display, only one Nancy Drew TV show watch, etc. Like I said above, there may be a warehouse of these things somewhere, but I'm not aware of it.
So your philosophy to collecting should be BOLO - Be On The Lookout - you never know when something might turn up or where. The hunt is fun, so branch out and make it fun. eBay is still a good site to find things--it's not like it was in its heyday, but I still find things from time to time. Happy Sleuthing!