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11 October, 2011

When Is An Old Book Vintage?

Does it have to be 100 years old to be vintage? These delightful books belonged to my mother-in-law, she had them since her baby days, so they're not quite 100 yet.  They have only just worn the test of time.  Most of the binding is brittle and breaking away.

 The pages are old and yellow and have that stale smell that comes with age.  'Our Kiddies' Yarns' was given to me not so long ago and it has 1936 written on it.  The publishers back then didn't seem to want to give much away, although each story has an author.  Some of the stories are delightful and funny, some would no longer be acceptable today regarding political correctness.

'Let's Go Shopping' has no dates, only the name of the publisher, authors don't get a mention.

This is a lovely picture book (quite faded) and the only way I can identify it's origin is by a stamp on the back cover.  'Printed in the Netherlands No 1480 A'.  This book belonged to my husband and I would read it to my boys when they were very young.

'Weekday Story Book' is another new acquisition, which my mother-in-law gave me just recently.   The binding has completely crumbled.  It was given to my mother-in-law in 1934 for second prize in a kindergarten class.  No idea what she had to do to get second.  At the end of this book is an advertisement.

Isn't that just the cutest thing you've seen in awhile?  It think it means 'Chill Proof for Children'.

This is 'Walt Disney presents Pluto's Play-Time.  There's nt dates, no clues as to how old except it has brown and brittle pages.  I can't imagine my kids being too taken with the text in this book I think the unknown author wasn't much into relating to children.  Not sure if you can see the text in the photo above but this is a line from another page.

"The end of the game comes when the cat flies up the fence again and vanishes from sight although, of course, I do a spot of cheering for a few minutes afterwards - winners always cheer their defeated opponents, don't they?" 

Super serious, the only way to save this story is with a funny voice. 

If these are to make it to 100 I had better do something to save them.  So does anyone know how to preserve these treasures?  


  1. What a beautiful selection! Definitely vintage, antique is 100 and over, I think.

  2. these books are AWESOME! I agree with Deb. The rule of thumb I believe is 100 years is Antique, 50 years is Vintage and 25 years is Retro!

    How nice that your MIL kept those books, what a treasure!

  3. Thanks ladies Vintage they are, soon to be antique.

  4. Huh, well, I guess that makes me vintage too then. I think I do remember books like those though when I was a little girl. Thanks for the trip down memory lane . . . I think! (at least I'm not antique.)

  5. They are gorgeous books, aren't they? I love the pictures. My only advice would be that anything you want to preserve well, especially books, probably need to be kept in a cool, dry place where no humidity can create problems. I have a few old books, and they have become so fragile when opened, pages can fall away from the spine. So the less they are handled, the better. It's really nice that you value and cherish them.

  6. What lovely little books! I have all of my childhood books and the memories of each one and of being read to are precious. I'm now reading them very carefully to my little boy since some are much older than I am and are getting delicate. I've thought of putting the Golden books and Junior Elf books in those plastic page covers for protection.

  7. Such a fun,nostalgic post. I love the cover art!

  8. Oh Wow! I adore books anyway but these are fantastic. I love the Pluto pictures.
    What a fabulous collection and I think I may have book envy now :)


  9. Darling books! You are so lucky to have those in your posession. It would be fun to display such a lovely collection. :)
    -Robyn from

  10. One place to check on the dates of books that are undated is WorldCat .org - - which is a listing of books at libraries around the world. Often times I've found it to come in handy for just such a thing as these books you have. You most likely will not be able to find if you have a first edition or if it is a reprint but it might give you an idea of how old it is.For example I found Pluto's Play Time dated 1938. - Only one copy listed. - Also is a good resource for what booksellers are asking for their copies. - Be aware that the prices on Bookfinder are those of UNSOLD books so it may very well be that the real selling prices (books that HAVE been sold) are a lot less than the asking prices of these sellers. Also there are the reprints and print on demands to watch for. I've seen POD's asking prices at literally $100+ over a first edition.

    Ebay is also a good source for prices using their 'completed sales' in the advanced search.

    The thing with kids books is that often times the covers go missing or there is crayon scribble scrabble in them. Quite a few that were printed don't survive through a child's upbringing and 'supply and demand' kicks in.

    Looks like some good copies you have. It would be fun to sit down and read them.


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