Abe Books lists books for sale by many dealers, so they are a good source when it comes to determining who the most collectible authors are. There is a list of the top 25 most collectible authors since 2003 on the Abe Books website, but it doesn’t give any details. It is just a list of authors. Here are the top authors on the list, along with some details about which books may actually be worth something.
#1) Stephen King – The first edition of Salem’s Lot, published in 1975, is listed on Abe Books for a whopping $90,005. Whether they will get it or not remains to be seen. It’s important to remember when dealing with collectible items that the true value is the amount a willing buyer and a willing seller agree to. Signed first editions of The Plant and the Dark Tower series appear to be the most valuable Stephen King books besides Salem’s Lot, followed by signed first editions of other King books.
#2) J.K. Rowling – Given the popularity of her Harry Potter books, perhaps it is no big surprise that J.K. Rowling has risen to become the second most collectible author on Abe Books. The most expensive Harry Potter book is the 1997 hardback Bloomsbury UK edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. This is the true first edition and there were only 200 copies printed so it is very desirable. This book is listed for $29,958.97. Signed and unsigned first editions of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series all appear to have value as collectible books.
#3) JRR Tolkien – A copy of The Hobbit, or There and Back Again is currently listed for $175,000. This is a very special copy that is dedicated to Elaine Griffiths. Elaine played a part in getting The Hobbit published by recommending to a publisher friend of hers that she go talk to Tolkien and see if he wouldn’t let her read it. The early editions of both The Hobbit and any of The Lord of the Rings books seem to be highly valued regardless of whether they are signed or not. They do not necessarily need to be true firsts in order to have value. First printings of other editions and second printings of the first edition of The Hobbit are all listed at prices in the thousands.
These are the top three of the most collectible authors on Abe Books. Obviously, there are many other authors whose books are highly collectible. This article merely scratches the surface. If you are beginning a collection, you should remember that as a rule, signed true first editions by collectible authors are the most valuable. However, other editions may be extremely valuable as well, especially if many years have passed since the original publication.