The Value of Book$ by L.M. Montgomery
(c) L.M. Montgomery Literary Society
Many visitors to this web site arrive here looking for information about a Montgomery book
they wish to sell or buy. Here is some information from our own (extensive) experience buying L.M. Montgomery first, rare, and
We are always in touch with our great friends at the Montgomery archives and collections at
the University of Guelph and University of Prince Edward Island, as well as super collectors and benefactors like Donna Campbell
and Frank and Juanita Lechowick! If we can't answer your question, we can usually find someone who can!
First of all a Note For eBay sellers/buyers - it is illegal to interfere with an auction:
for example, if you are selling a book and you are contacted by a buyer outside an active auction who asks you to end
the auction and sell to them, or tell your buyer that the book they just bought is missing (even if they have not yet
paid), then you have breached a contract. Buyers, if a sellers cancels an auction, be assertive.
It is illegal -- our advice to is go after dishonest buyers and sellers in every way possible! First,
report the seller to the Better Business Bureau of their state. Then, contact a lawyer. Complain to eBay immediately,
although that won't help you get your book.
There are very few dishonest buyers/sellers of Montgomery books, but beware. Contact us, if you have
No matter how early an edition it is, the most important element in value is
what condition the book is in. Worn or scuffed covers, damaged or missing frontispiece/illustrations, loose bindings,
missing pages, etc. do not necessarily equal a valuable book, even a true first edition, for the experienced buyer.
The value of any book is what the buyer is willing to pay.
Please understand that some bidders on auction sites are collectors of Montgomery while
others are buying in order to sell at a profit. Our valuation of books is based on our position as collectors. Others will
buy at the prices that we will be quoting and then turn around and attempt to sell at twice to ten times (sometimes
100x!) what they paid. We recommend sellers who belong to accredited bookseller organizations.
Here is an example of how fast a book can travel from seller to seller and grow in price: In
December 2011, a 1908 (April) impression of Anne of Green Gables with a brown cover was offered at an auction in
New Hampshire. In January 2012, it was put on eBay for $10,000 by a seller from NH and then withdrawn from auction. A few
days later, it was listed by a different seller in the $20,000 range.
A brown cover April 1908 Anne was listed at auction with Sotheby's in December 2011
for $25,000 and at Bonham's in 2012 for $10,000-$15,000, but it failed to get bids. It had been listed
online by the seller for $27,500. The same seller failed to sell an Anne of Avonlea for $10,000 in December (later
listed at $13,000). Other titles that did not sell at Sotheby's or Bonham's auctions and were later listed online and on eBay
were priced at:
Chronicles of Avonlea, $6000 at Sotheby's and Bonham's, $3600 online ; Anne of the Island $10,000 at Sotheby's, $5000-7000 with Bonham's, then $7500 (the seller originally
listed this book for several thousands less on eBay).
This same seller had an autographed photo of Montgomery (a familiar photo from the 1930s),
which he bought from a dealer in New London, Prince Edward Island for $800 and listed for $1550-$2500
at Bonhams. A green board The Watchman and Other Poems failed to sell at a Dec. 2012 Bonham's
auction for $1200-$1800 and was listed online for $975. An Anne of Ingleside, with black titles and dustjacket failed
to sell at a Dec 2012 Bonham's auction, listed at $2000-$3000, then listed online for $2750.
[All of these items have since been sold to a Canadian book dealer and will be in
a private auction in 2013]
Note: First Edition Anne of Green Gables means April 1908.
That is the date of the first impression.
A 1944 edition might be listed as a first edition
but it is a 760,000th impression.
Every edition of Anne of Green Gables published
by L.C. Page is a (c) 1908 ["first"] edition. What collectors look for is the impression and the year of
A beautiful green cover true first edition of Anne of Green Gables (April 1908) sold
for $8600 in July 2012. A worn brown cover first edition was priced at auction for about $3700 in the winter of 2013.
Dustjackets made by L.C. Page are rare, if you find one before 1915.
We have many dustjackets on Anne of Green Gables books from the 1930s and 1940s. We often see these editions
on eBay. If a book seller wins an auction for a 1944 AGG dustjacket, they usually pay $20 to $200. We have seen
1940s books, 1943, 1944,etc. with dustjackets with a price of $750-$1000! The publisher printed many of these books after
Montgomery died in 1942. We have paid $20 to $100 for them. Other near fine editions from the 1940s in dustjackets
have been recently sold for $20-$30.
Our Anne of Green Gables from the early 1930s in a dust
jacket is in near fine condition and cost $42. However, one of the rarer Anne
books from the 1940s is the beautiful 1944 De Luxe edition in a dust jacket which does not have the Gibbs or Claus
We have at least six Anne of Avonlea (LC Page) in dustjackets from the 1930s
and 1940s; prices for these ranged from $40 to $80. Our Anne of Avonlea in a dustjacket from the early 1920s
is in near fine condition and cost $40.
Avonlea and Anne of the Island were reprinted in the 1940s with several different
color boards (beige, green, blue, and red). The border lines on the dustjacket covers of these editons may be brown or blue
or "gold," but not on 1st edition dustjackets (bright gold). Text on the jacket flaps will help date books. For example,
the brown or rust color on the cover boards of Anne of the Island is a 1949+ edition and can be dated
by the Pollyanna titles in the back of the dj.
The Watchman and Other Poems is somewhat rare, although we are seeing
more of them for sale. A Stokes edition (red or burgundy cover) of The Watchman was sold on eBay in 2012 for
$880. One of our members acquired (in 2012) an identical edition in excellent condition for $800, a fair price in
The Blue Castle, true first edition, does not have a castle
on the front boards. The Blue Castle (1926) is hard to date, because the publishers rarely
printed the impression, but the boards (grey), and title (blue) are considered the true first printing.
A first editon sold in late 2012 for $100.
Printer information also indicates when the book was published:
after 1926 to about 1930 - "Printed and Bound in Canada the Hunter-Rose Co. Limited Toronto;"
about 1935 and earlier - "The Hunter-Rose Co. Limited Toronto;" after 1939, 1940-42
(also has "A Love Story of the Northwoods" on the spine) - "The Hunter-Rose Co Limited Printers and Bookbinders Toronto,
The Blue Castle dustjackets: a first jacket had a blue mottled pattern and had very fragile
paper; an early one is the 1928 A.L. Burt white dj with a castle; next is a mottled gray jacket from about 1929 by McClelland
and Stewart, identical to the dj on the first edition; then the yellow dj which appears in the 1930s and 1940s.
McClelland and Stewart is not the name of the publisher of the true first Canadian
edition of Anne's House of Dreams -- look for those names and Goodchild.
Anne's House of Dreams was Montgomery's first book with a new publisher so they printed
a lot of them! You can find this title almost everywhere, by the original publishers and by the reprint publishers. Prices
for these are often less than $100 because of availability. A couple of our members have a beautiful, and uncommon, edition
of this title by the UK publisher, Constable.
True firsts of L.M. Montgomery book do not have black lettering on
the cover titles or spine. If a seller is offering a dustjacket edition, ask what color the spine title is
-- if it is black, it is not a first edition. Almost all Montgomery's books have gold or silver gilt titles, exceptions
are The Blue Castle (except for AL Burt edition which is gold), McClelland edition of A Tangled Web, and
Anne of Windy Poplars.
The first edition of Anne of Green Gables published in England by Sir Isaac
Pitman has all of the Claus illustrations in it.
Montgomery was trying to sell as many of her books as she could in the late 1930s. She gave
many speeches and book signings. You will be able to find signed copies of her novels from that time, especially
Jane of Lantern Hill and Anne of Ingleside. Our signed editions from the 1930s with dustjackets were purchased
in the $800-$900 range. A signed book without a dustjacket was purchased for $650 in the fall of 2012.
Books signed by Montgomery for her friends are truly rare. These books have
been acquired for under $2400. They are often signed "Faithfully," "Lovingly," or "Sincerely" Yours (plus "With Author's
Any book with her signature in it (but not written by her) came from her home
library. Several books were missing during her lifetime (loaned and not returned, stolen) and some were sold
or missing after her death. However, some books were given to her friends. These books are being sought
by our Society to return to the Montgomery museums. Please contact us if you find one!
L.M. Montgomery wrote thousands of letters. She answered all her fan mail,
as far as we know! Our friend, Joanne Wood, commented (in the Toronto Star) on the author's letter writing when
one of LMM's letters, from late in her life, to an Australian fan appeared at the Sotheby's auction in December
2011 (it failed to sell -- This same letter was listed with Boneham's in Dec. 2012 for $6000-$8000 and did not sell.)
Joanne has written about the Montgomery Australian editions in
The Shining Scroll.
All of Montgomery's letters to her fans follow the same template, that is, she thanks the writer
and lists all of her books, and encourages the writer to share the list with others. In some cases, she asks the fan
to write to a movie company and request Anne movies.
Her personal letters are more scarce, although a few have been preserved by
her friends on Prince Edward Island. Many of these have been donated to Montgomery archives on the Island.
In the Green Gables L.C. Page editions,
Elizabeth Withington replaced Claus as the illustrator after the mid 1920s. It is difficult to date some Montgomery books because the copyright page sometimes lacks impression dates. Later
editions and reprints may have the original copyright date alone (no impression listed), but are not first editions. All true
early editions have the impression (month, for example) listed. The exact printer information and lists of book prices
in the fore pages also helps to date editions.
In later editions of AGG, there is a book list on one of the first pages. That will
tell you how much later the book was printed. See our Montgomery Books page for dates of publication.
After the title page in the LC Page editions is a list of books with prices. If your copy is missing the copyright page,
use this guide to estimate publishing dates based on the AGG price listed (from a few of our Anne of Green Gables
editions): 1909-1911 = $1.50, 1920 (49th imp) = $1.65, 1920 (50th imp) = $1.75, 1923 = $1.90, 1924-1940 = $2.00, 1944 = $2.25,
1947 = $2.50.
If a Montgomery book with a dustjacket has Anne of Ingleside (1939) listed on
the back, it was printed after 1939. When Montgomery died in 1942, LC Page printed many more editions of her books to cash
The McClelland and Stewart Cavendish edition series with
the letter C on the boards and photo of Green Gables on the back of the dustjacket are from the 1940s. The Thrushwood
series from Grosset and Dunlap was printed in the 1940s-50s (covers are grey tweed-like).
Not all early Montgomery books are "rare". There are many Anne
of Avonlea editions out there, for example. We see a great number of Chronicles of Avonlea, Magic for Marigold, and
Anne's House of Dreams for sale. There are many editions of Anne of Green Gables from 1914
and 1915, especially from the reprint publisher, Grosset and Dunlap. Most of our books from these
publishers were acquired for under $20.
A first edition of Anne of Avonlea in beige boards sold on eBay in spring 2012 for
$125, the piano music for the 1919 Anne movie (with Mary Miles Minter) sold for $10.
While the first edition AGG from April 1908 is considered rare, we know of at
least 6 copies among our friends and fellow collectors. It is rare, but read our Shining Scroll from Dec. 2010 (3rd
part) to find out about the most rare.
Of the LC Page Montgomery editions of Anne of Green Gables, the 2nd impression
(July 1908) is considered the MOST rare, or scarce, because not many were printed. The
first impression of Anne is April 1908, the second is July 1908. There were no impressions in June
1908, although later editions omit the April impression on the copyright page and list June instead. There were not many printed
in the first two impressions because LC Page did not yet know how popular the book would be.
April and July impressions can be priced quite high depending on their quality. We have
bought high quality later impressions, 3rd for $700-$800, and 4th for $170 (August
and September 1908). The later impressions in 1908, November and December have recently sold for $180.
We consider most quality (in excellent
+ condition) Montgomery first edition titles true values to be around $100 - $250 at this time. Other titles with dust jackets vary with the quality of the dustjacket and tend to run less than the Anne
titles. Our first editions of Emily Climbs and Emily Quest (publisher Stokes) with dustjackets cost
For a different interpretation of the "value" of L.M. Montgomery
books, read this issue of The Shining Scroll.
We have short articles about collectible Montgomery books in most of our periodials -- The Shining Scroll. Please look through the ones online. Scroll down this page for an image of early editions
of Montgomery books.
Read about all the Australian editions of
Montgomery books here:
Learn more about Montgomery's Books on our Books page.
~~ See images of early editions at the end of this page ~~
Read about Montgomery's Good Fairy Statue
dear friend, Frede Campbell here.
Note: eBay sellers, please credit this article when you
quote it in your Good Fairy auction.