How Much Are Your Vintage Cookbooks Worth? - Cookbook Village (2024)

We get many requests at Cookbook Village from collectors asking about the value of one of their cookbooks or entire collection. There is no fast or simple way to derive the values of collectible cookbooks, but we are happy to share the methods we use to help you evaluate your own collection.

Does Age Really Matter?

Many people have sent us messages requesting the value of a found or inherited vintage cookbook. Some of our audience has assumed that if a book is old, it's valuable. This is not always the case. We have had books in stock that copyrighted in the late 1800's that we can't even sell for the price of a contemporary mass market cookbook. The true finds are generally the unassuming, Plain Jane formatted cookbooks that get thrown out in a garage sale. Take two of our top sales -- LeRuth's Restaurant Front Door Back Door Cookbook and Johnny Mathis Cooking for Your Alone. These are both simple community style spiral bound books ... no fancy artwork, no big name publishing house … yet each sold in the $100-$300 range, and were printed in the 70's and 80's. So you may wonder, why did these two books fetch such high prices? The answer takes into account several factors, none of which are their age. Size of the print run, notoriety of the author, condition, online buzz and reviews, and past sale prices all account for the value of these books.

Don't Be Fooled by Inflation

Let us explain. You have an antique book that appears very rare. You look it up on Amazon, eBay or Abebooks. You see just one or two copies available. Wow, the prices are noted as $250. Great … you think to yourself you must have a winner. Wrong. You need to do your homework. Some book dealers list a book at an incredibly high price and others follow. A book's value is the market value -- not the listing price, but the sales price. You need to ensure you understand what your book has sold for in the past. Do eBay searches for Completed Listings. If you can't find past sales, check for the average listing prices on a book comparison site (discussed in the next section).

Find Out Your Book's Average Selling Price

BookFinder.com is a great resource and not as well known as it's parent company AbeBooks. This website includes cookbook listings from a variety of online resources. You may be overwhelmed by the number of results returned from a search, but can generally view books in similar condition to your own and take notice of the average pricing. Some dealers (both brick-and-mortar and online) will "park" their books online in the off chance of a sale. Be sure to look at the average listing prices and value your own book in the same price range, factoring in condition. Look for books in a similar state as your own. Also, research your cookbook's copyright information, noting edition and printing. Make sure you match your own book's copyright to the same edition and printing. For many rare and collectible cookbooks, a first edition, first printing makes the difference. Betty Crocker vintage cookbooks are a good example of this. Early printings are far more valuable than later printings of the same edition.

What If Your Book Isn't Listed Online?

If you are lucky enough to have a truly rare cookbook, you may not find it on any of the book sites noted above. We have been fortunate to carry several such cookbooks in our store over the years and believe us, these don't come along often. Many sellers list their items as rare when indeed with some searching, you'll see that the book is more readily available then what's been indicated. A scarce or rare cookbook is generally in the antique category and even then, you may run into it elsewhere. If you see nothing like your own book, you may wish to take it to a professional book appraiser. Many antiquarian booksellers offer appraisal services. We should add that Cookbook Village does not offer an appraisal service.

Though we specialize in vintage and collectible cookbooks, we are not appraisers and don't have the operational capacity to appraise books that come our way. We instead offer information on specific collectible cookbooks through our blog articles. Check the Cookbook Collectibility Reviews section of our Cookbook Collecting blog to see if we have information on your book listed.

Effective April, 2015, we areno longer able to answer questions below on the value of a cookbook or collection.

Tags: Cookbook Collecting

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How Much Are Your Vintage Cookbooks Worth? - Cookbook Village (2024)

FAQs

How to find the value of old cookbooks? ›

The answer takes into account several factors, none of which are their age. Size of the print run, notoriety of the author, condition, online buzz and reviews, and past sale prices all account for the value of these books.

Are old cookery books worth anything? ›

"Cookbooks can have auction potential, especially if they are rare, valuable, or have historical significance," said Sawyer, who's based in New York City. "Some vintage cookbooks can fetch high prices at auction, particularly those that are in excellent condition and have a strong provenance."

Where is the best place to sell old cookbooks? ›

Sell Individual Cookbooks on eBay or Amazon

this route will get you the most money for your collection. We recommend eBay vs Amazon if you don't want to be selling for over a month. If you have a lot of time, Amazon works well for books and draws the largest audience.

What cookbooks are worth the most money? ›

Cookbooks that Fetch the Highest Prices at Auction
  • Betty Crocker's Cookbook (red pie cover) $40-$50.
  • Betty Crocker's Picture Cook Book - $35 - $50.
  • Betty Crocker's New Picture Cookbook 1961 - $50 - $70 (can fetch up to $100 like new condition, 1st)
  • Come Into the Kitchen Cookbook - Mary & Vincent Price - $20 - $35.

How do I know if my vintage book is worth money? ›

Assessing book values at a glance:
  1. Look for other copies of the book for sale online.
  2. Take a close look at the condition of the book.
  3. Remember that old does not necessarily mean valuable.
  4. Determine if the book is signed or a notable edition.
  5. Check out this blog post on book pricing for resale.
Jan 19, 2024

How can I find the value of my old books? ›

Specialized businesses such as auction houses and antiquarian booksellers can help you appraise individual books and larger collections. Contact information for specialists to authenticate or appraise your item can be found through professional organizations such as the American Society of Appraisers.

How much should I sell my cookbook for? ›

The list price for print cookbooks typically runs anywhere from $15 to $30 for popular cookbooks and $25 to $50 for gourmet or restaurant cookbooks. Amazon usually discounts these by 30% to 50%. It is usually ideal for most Monetizing or Marketing books to fall somewhere in this range.

Where can I sell old cookery books? ›

Exchange your unwanted cookery books for cash

At WeBuyBooks, we provide you with a simple and quick way to earn cash in exchange for your unwanted books, so that you can make room on your shelves for books on the next big thing.

Should I get rid of old cookbooks? ›

That's fine, but if it's been years since you cracked an actual cookbook, you don't really need them anymore. Keep them if you like the way they look and have the storage space, but if you don't, embrace the way you cook now and let them go.

Is there still a market for cookbooks? ›

But do cookbooks still sell? Yes, they do. In fact, it's a burgeoning and competitive market. But that's just another reason to make sure that you do everything possible to make your cookbook the best it can be.

Who is buying cookbooks? ›

Most people buy two or three cookbooks each year, and 12% of buyers buy four or more. 70% of cookbook buyers buy for themselves, and the remaining 30% buy cookbooks as gifts. Half of all cookbook buyers say they cook at home at least once a week.

What is the number one selling cookbook of all time? ›

Betty Crocker's Cookbook (originally called Betty Crocker's Picture Cook Book) by Betty Crocker (1950) – approx. 65 million copies.

How do I sell my cookbook? ›

The Best Way to Sell Cookbooks Online

Run an Ecwid store on your own website, on popular social media platforms, or through marketplaces like Amazon or eBay. Open your very own Instant Site in just a few minutes or simply add a “Buy Now” button to your blog.

What was the most popular cookbook in 1950? ›

1950s: Betty Crocker's Picture Cook Book by Agnes White Tizard (1950)

Is there a market for cookbooks? ›

Cookbooks sell extraordinarily well. According to Kristen Mclean of the NPD market research group, close to 20 million cookbooks fly off the shelves every year in the US alone. Not only that, but it's one of the most stable book markets with only tiny annual fluctuations.

How to sell old cookery books? ›

The Best Way to Sell Cookbooks Online

Run an Ecwid store on your own website, on popular social media platforms, or through marketplaces like Amazon or eBay. Open your very own Instant Site in just a few minutes or simply add a “Buy Now” button to your blog.

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