RARE BOOK GUIDE - THE RUNNERS, THE RIDERS & THE ODDS
09 March 2007
Dragonflies. Collins New Naturalist Series, 1960.
Philip S Corbet., Cynthia Longfield and N.W. Moore. DRAGONFLIES. Collins (New Naturalist Series No 41) London 1960.
Current Selling Prices
$450-$800 / £220-£420 Want level 25-50 Highish
One of the more desirable books in Collins's New Naturalists series, but not the most valuable. These attractive books are collected like Modern First Editions and collectors want them to be firsts and fine in the jacket. It now costs over 10 grand sterling, (possibly 20 if all are going to be fine/fine ) to acquire the 117 titles. Some of the early ones like London Natural History are so common you cannot spit without hitting one, some so rare that you need a bank loan to pay for them IF you can find them.
The dificult ones are, as often happens with collecting series, the later ones -- numbers 70 and 71 British Warblers and Natural History of Orkney. An article in the Guardian in 2005 by a New Nats collector priced them at £ 1200 and £1750 respectively, only 725 of each were published. They all went to subscribers. There are said to be 2000 collectors of Collins New Naturalist Series in the UK and a few dealers who do little else.
VALUE? 'Dragonflies' is probably the most wanted because it is a lovely book and unlike New Nats such as Warblers, Ferns and Freshwater Fish there is a chance of finding and even affording one. A British Warblers is currently online at £2600 and the seller isn't one of the usual squadron of crazed overchargers, so the price is probably not totally barmy.
Before the net took hold you could occasionally find these in the Natural History section of US shops for $10 or less. 'Dragonflies' goes for about 300 quid for a smart one wearing it's green jacket , more some days. The series is avidly traded on ebay, at terrestrial auctions and at bookfairs. Long may they reign.