Nancy Drew EndpaperCollecting Nancy Drew

Once scorned literature rejected by many, the classic Nancy Drew books have now become prized collector’s items. This case exemplifies the many physical differences in covers, endpapers, spines, dust jackets, and other characteristics between the various editions and printings.

In most cases, the Nancy Drew dust jackets are worth far more than the actual book. The dust jacket on a first edition of the first Nancy Drew book is now worth approximately seven times that of the book.

View a photo of this exhibition case

Farah’s Guide

David Farah’s Farah’s Guide is the “Nancy Drew Bible” to determine the printing and value of Nancy Drew books. Farah has created a classification system to determine the print run and printing of each of the original 56 volumes.

Farah's Guide
Farah's Guide Sample

Pictured is Farah’s classification for the 1933C print run designation of The Secret at Shadow Ranch. The many different abbreviations and numbers, and the order in which they are in, are what classify each book. For example, the Farah number 1933C-10 indicates this was the third print run in 1933 and the tenth printing the book has been through.  ND#1-10 indicates that the first ten Nancy Drew titles are listed on the front flap of the dust jacket.

Cover Stock
Today, many readers still associate Nancy Drew with the color blue, and this may be in part because many of her earlier editions were printed on blue cover stock. The varying degrees of color, as well as the different patterns that construct the cover stock, help define the edition. Interesting to note here is the change in Nancy Drew from the “30’s figure” silhouette to the “40’s figure”.

Nancy Drew Covers
Nancy Drew Lists

Series Lists
Anyone who has read a Nancy Drew book probably remembers the many book lists printed on the dust jacket. This advertising tactic used by the publishers has become one of the most important ways a collector can identify a book’s publication. The number of books on each list, and which girl series were included on the dust jacket all aid in the identification process.

Endpapers
The endpapers for each book are another important way to determine the printing of a Nancy Drew mystery. Here, you can see the great variety of endpapers developed by different artists through the years.

Nancy Drew Endpapers
Nancy Drew Spines

Spines
Organized on bookshelves by girls all around the world, the spines of the books may be the most recognizable feature for each book. The spines of these mystery books have transformed greatly throughout the years and the later Nancy Drew editions are known especially for their “yellow spines”.