Dear Helaine and Joe:
I am sending you photographs of my grandmother’s Bible that is dated Nov. 12, 1913. Is there a market for this?
J. LaF., Vero Beach, Fla.
Dear J. LaF.:
This is a charming Bible with embossed covers that may or may not be leather. It has what appears to be a nice brass strap closing, and even though it is just a few months short of 100 years old, it looks to be in relatively good condition.
There are literally billions of copies of Bibles out there, and the rule of thumb for collectors is that in order to be valuable, a Bible has to have been printed in the United States before the year 1800 and in Europe before the year 1700.
Special circumstances, however, may make a younger Bible valuable. If, for instance, the Bible in question was printed in a rare language (such as a Native American language), it might be valuable. If the Bible were the possession of a famous person such as an American president, say, or had been taken into space by an astronaut or if it were a family Bible in which the names of slaves, and their dates of birth and death, were carefully noted, then the Bible might have monetary and historic value.
There are a number of possibilities that might make a Bible printed in the 19th or 20th century valuable, but none of these seem to be present in this particular instance. The Bible in today’s question is valuable to the family that owns it because it is a memento from their grandmother. But other than that, its monetary worth is less than $20 and would be a hard sale to make.
Helaine Fendelman and Joe Rosson are the authors of “Price It Yourself” (HarperResource, $19.95). Contact them at Treasures in Your Attic, P.O. Box 18350, Knoxville, TN 37928. Email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.