Most Valuable First Edition Picturebooks
The following table lists fifty illustrators in the Children’s Picturebook Price Guide with the highest average book value. The value would be for first edition books, with dust jackets. The table also includes the number of books listed in the price guide for each illustrator.
Not surprisingly, Dr. Seuss heads the list, with an average value of $1183 for the 53 books listed in the price guide. We did not include the books he authored under the pseudonym Theo LeSieg, which were all illustrated by others. If you should stumble upon a first edition Green Eggs And Ham at your local Friends of the Library sale, then consider adding it to your purchase stack.
The top seven illustrators in the list are pretty much as expected, however Thomas Handforth at number eight is a bit surprising. Handforth only has five books listed, and one of them, Mei Li, the 1939 Caldecott Medal book, is valued at $1600, thereby increasing the average of the small lot of books. A similar aberration is for Nancy Elkholm Burkett, who did the illustrations for Raold Dahl’s James And The Giant Peach, a book which sells for over $3000 in today’s market.
We will leave the remainder of the analysis and commentary to the reader. Children’s picturebook collectors should be familiar with most illustrators on the list; if not, then a bit of homework via Google or Wikipedia will provide some base level information.