I don’t know about you, but I recently realized that I have quite the cookbook collection going on here. Unlike stamps or trading cards, people rarely start out to build a cookbook collection. Instead, they grow over time as you add a book here and there, take up a new type of cooking or baking, or browse through used bookstores until you find an old, forgotten gem. Like stamps and trading cards, however, everything that you can collect has some value attached to it. I flipped through a copy of the Antique Trader Collectible Cookbooks Price Guide to see if my out of control collection of cookbooks had any value besides their wealth of recipes.
It turns out that some of my oldest cookbooks, while they’ve risen from their sticker price or $2 of $4, aren’t worth all that much. Many of my newest cookbooks have sticker prices (and current values) much higher! My theory is that cookbooks are things that are kept for years, and passed along to friends and relatives. They’re not often sold, lost or destroyed (although spills in the kitchen will damage more than a few). So while my 1960 copy of Peg Bracken’s The I Hate To Cook Book is worth a lot to me, it’s not worth a whole lot on the market because there are plenty of other copies out there.
Most of the cookbooks listed in the Price Guide topped out at $20-$40, even for the very old cookbooks or small-run promotional books. Needless to say, I’m keeping my books for their content and for inspiration even when I don’t use their recipes. Does anyone else have older cookbooks that might be worth more than their recipes? Anyone else have older cookbooks, like me, that you couldn’t put a price tag on easily because the recipes are worth even more?