Do you remember following Charlie through the chocolate factory? Or how about getting whisked away by Tolkien’s tale of adventure with Bilbo? Some early copies of the world’s most beloved children’s stories are now worth a small fortune. Are these valuable books collecting dust in your boxes? Check out our list of collectible children’s books to find out if your story has a happy ending.
Top 10 List of Collectible Children’s Books
1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling
This recent classic follows Harry Potter, a young wizard who discovers his magical abilities on his birthday after he receives a letter to attend the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
How to tell if it’s a first edition: Only 500 copies of the first pressing exist. These were printed in June 1997 by Bloomsbury Publishing.
What’s it worth? Up to $55,000.
2. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
This beloved tale follows a young girl named Alice through her bizarre adventures with odd creatures in an underground world called Wonderland.
How to tell if it’s a first edition: If it was printed by Macmillan Publishers, chances are you have a first edition in your hands. Published in November 1865, only 23 first editions currently exist.
What’s it worth? These have been known to sell anywhere from $2m – $3m.
3. The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
This fantasy follows a hobbit named Bilbo. When he’s approached by the wizard Gandalf, he’s asked to accompany a group of dwarves to take back their kingdom from a dragon.
How to tell if it’s a first edition: The best way to identify an original copy of The Hobbit is to check the publication information. The original publication was in 1937 by George Allen & Unwin Ltd.
What’s it worth? One copy sold for nearly $210,000 at an auction in London in 2015.
4. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
After a young boy named Max is sent to bed without supper for misbehaving, his bedroom magically transforms into a jungle. He winds up sailing to an island inhabited by malicious beasts known as the “Wild Things.”
How to tell if it’s a first edition: Early copies were first published by Harper & Row in 1963.
What’s it worth? In 2012, a signed first edition sold for $25,000.
5. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
This 1960’s classic features the adventures of Charlie Bucket, a young boy who stumbles upon a golden ticket to tour Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.
How to tell if it’s a first edition: Ensure the publication date is from November 1963 and that the publisher is Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.
What’s it worth? A first edition is currently selling for $10,000 on Abebooks.com
6. Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne
This vintage children’s story focuses on the adventures of Pooh and his friends Piglet and Eeyore—to name a few.
How to tell if it’s a first edition: The first edition was published by Methuen & Co in 1926.
What’s it worth? Copies with the original dust jacket begin at $3,000.
7. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
A Wrinkle in Time follows 3 friends as they embark on a journey to save their father through space and time.
How to tell if it’s a first edition: It was first published in 1962 by Ariel Books.
What’s it worth? An original pressing is currently on sale for $16,000.
8. Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens by JM Barrie
This story chronicles Peter Pan before he meets Wendy. As an infant, Peter leaves his family, befriends fairies, and learns to fly.
How to tell if it’s a first edition: This beloved tale was first published in 1906 by Hodder & Stoughton.
What’s it worth? Up to $10,000.
9. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L Frank Baum
In this story, we follow Dorothy through a magical land called Oz, after a tornado sweeps away her—and her dog, Toto—from their Kansas farm.
How to tell if it’s a first edition: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was originally released in May 1900 by Geo M. Hill.
What’s it worth? Up to $50,000.
10. The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
This story chronicles a stuffed rabbit and his desire to become real through the love of his owner.
How to tell if it’s a first edition: in 1922, the original publisher was George H. Doran Company. These copies are hard to identify due to the artwork, so it must also include a first-edition dust jacket to be certified.
What’s it worth? Up to $8,000
Regardless of their monetary value, the above children’s books are priceless to the young and young-at-heart. Learn more about the value of antiques and collectibles: