Most Valuable Books – 1970s

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Most Valuable First Edition Picturebooks

Chris Van Allsburg’s first book, The Garden Of Abdul Gasazi, won a Caldecott Honor award, and leads the list of most valuable picturebooks published in the 1970s. It is difficult to find in first edition, collectible condition, as is Gerald McDermott’s Caldecott Medal winning book, Arrow To The Sun.

All ten Caldecott Medal winning books made the list of most valuable picturebooks from the decade! Leo and Diane Dillon won back-to-back Caldecott Medals with Why Mosquitoes Buzz In People’s Ears and Ashanti to Zulu. Both of these books should have some market place upside. The Dillons’ work is highly appreciated within the children’s book industry, however is underappreciated by the general population (i.e. limited pop culture exposure and appeal).

Most Valuable Books

Tomie DePaola’s franchise book, Strega Nona, a Caldecott Honor winner, makes the list of most valuable books from the 1970’s, as does Mercer Mayer’s Just For You, important for introducing us to the Little Critters. Raymond Briggs’ Father Christmas, a Greenaway Medal winner, also makes the list. The Greenaway Medal is the UK equivalent to the Caldecott, which on a whole, seem undervalued in the collectible book market place.

Dr. Seuss illustrated two books on the list, Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? and The Shape Of Me And Other Stuff. Dr. Seuss also authored four books on the list as Theo LeSieg (Geisel spelled backwards), which were illustrated by others (In A People House, The Many Mice Of Mr. Brice, Would You Rather Be A Bullfrog?, Please Try To Remember The First Of Octember!).

As of yet, there are no books from the 1970s list which have crossed over into national public sentiment, as have Where The Wild Things Are, Polar Express, or Cat In The Hat. Don’t misunderstand me, there are some wonderful children’s books on the list, however none that the majority of the general population would spontaneously recognize. Odd in that. I am not a social scientist, however wonder if this is in relation to those times, when the public’s social awareness seemed to evolve – environmentalism, Vietnam, the breakdown of the Presidential office, oil cartels, integration of public schools – perhaps a nation too distracted to engage whole heartedly in a children’s book?

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.

The estimated values in the table are for first edition books with dust jackets.

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