Most Valuable First Edition Picturebooks
This list is dominated by the Caldecott Medal award books, headed by David Wiesner’s Tuesday. Tuesday is becoming moderately difficult to find, and Wiesner’s regard within the market place has been enhanced by winning a third Caldecott Medal with Flotsam. Wiesner has also won two Caldecott Honor awards. In our opinion, David Wiesner’s wordless books are the best that have been crafted. As an aside, Wiesner also illustrated E.T., The Storybook, published in 1982, which is 97th on the Publisher’s Weekly list of bestselling children’s books.
The collectibility of William Steig’s Shrek! has obviously been enhanced by the enormous popularity of the three animated feature films (it should be noted that the book was issued without a dust jacket), and is the second most valuable picturebook published in the 1990’s.
Snowflake Bentley, Seven Blind Mice, and Rainbow Fish are probably the three most difficult books on the list to find in a first edition state, so should have some potential future appreciation. Smoky Night, and Officer Buckle and Glory are becoming less common.
From Chapter 8 of the Children’s Picturebook Price Guide:
Note the key factors that impact the collectibility of the books. Each is a high quality story with imaginative or inventive illustrations, therefore the reading public has recurrently purchased the books for decades. Because of this, the books have stayed in print since their original publication and gone into many, many printings. Many of the books have earned a children’s picturebook award, while many of the illustrators have won numerous awards. All of the illustrators have high esteem within the book publishing market place. Many of the book’s characters became franchise characters, where one or more sequels were published, and line extensions have been made into other consumer product areas (i.e. toys, games, dolls, costumes, decorations, etc…). Lastly, many of the books or characters have crossed over into pop culture, either via a TV or feature film adaptation.
The estimated values in the table are for first edition books with dust jackets.