Vintage Books

Book collecting is a popular pastime in the UK with collectors seeking first edition books, antique books and other antiquarian print books. Recognising this, we always have vintage books for sale and are particularly fond of children’s vintage books. We collect Ladybird and Observer’s books which remind us of our childhood, but which also are informative and fun. Recently a young teacher specifically sought us out to buy a selection of older Ladybird books which were published many years before she was born, to use in her classes of younger children. The content detail of the books, both information and illustrations were still highly relevant. We also keep a stock of vintage Penguin books and those of high quality (particularly box sets) appear in this collection. Please come back regularly to see the new stock. 

Vintage Books FAQs How to care for an antiquarian book
Vintage Books FAQs

Q: How to tell the value of an older book? 

For the antique book collector and other dedicated book lovers, value in the rare book world (as with many vintage and retro items) is usually determined by condition and scarcity. If an item has a good age to it and is in undamaged condition, with an undamaged dust cover it will be worth more than a well-used item. If a work is a first or early edition it will have a higher value than a more recent reprint. If a published piece in a series was relatively short-lived it will have an increased value (i.e. if there is a set but one of them was only in print for a few years).

Q: What is book grading? 

If you are buying vintage and retro books for a collection there is a formal (albeit slightly subjective) grading structure of seven steps that antique booksellers use ranging from Poor to Very Fine. Here at Moody Mabel, we tend to not use this methodology as we do not claim to be antique book experts.

Q: What is hot in collectable vintage books? 

There has been a resurgence in Children’s books since the COVID-19 pandemic, driven by lockdown and homeschooling. It has been estimated that in 2020 non-fiction children’s vintage book sales increased by 23% over 2019, and young fiction by 14%. Families just love reading the classics at bedtime!


How to care for an antiquarian book

Here are some tips that you might use to take care of the old books you buy

  • Keep them dry! Attempting to clean books with soapy water is not a good idea. If the hardcover is shiny, a wipe-down with a damp cloth may prove useful.

  • Store upright on a shelf or in a box.

  • Dust them regularly - a quick flick with a clean paintbrush will ensure that they remain dust free.

  • Please do not cover your printed works in plastic - they need to breathe. Plastic can encourage mould growth.

  • If you need to store your books then cotton bags, or wrapping them in paper is better for their health.

  • Paper soaks up smells so try to keep your books away from cooking or tobacco smoke.

  • To avoid cover fading do not display your vintage or retro books in direct sunlight.

  • High temperatures can cause the spines to crack.

We have vintage books for sale as part of our wider collection of vintage toys and games, come and have a look around this section of our store.