"I found that paper books and leaflets with attractive covers were a very big part of the market. St. Nicholas Flour leaflets with Santa on the cover were in demand by antiquers who decorate at the holidays with old ornaments and such," Dickinson wrote.
Those interested in "celebrity memorabilia snatched up Kate Smith and Yul Brynner," Dickinson added. Autographed cookbooks also appeal to autograph collectors as well as cookbook collectors. Folks looking for soft drink advertising seek 7-Up recipe flyers and the like. Those who favor Art Deco themes will also be interested in books or leaflets that have this type of distinctive design. In other words, crossover collecting is big in this area of collecting.
Condition and Value
By and large, to be considered top-notch, cookbooks and recipe leaflets need to be in nice condition. This means no loose or soiled pages and clean covers. Unfortunately, favorites that received a lot of use in the kitchen didn’t hold up so well and they may have less than stellar pages in addition to worn covers and broken binding. For average, every day books and leaflets, it’s wise not to pay top prices unless the condition is excellent. There are, however, exceptions to the condition rule in this area of collecting.
Some titles that have historical significance or those that are extremely old and rare will be valuable regardless of the condition. Take hand written recipe books, or “receipts” as they were referred to long ago, from the Civil War era, as an example. These can be quite valuable even if they are soiled or discolored as long as the pages are still legible and not torn. A copy of The Federation Cook Book: A Collection of Tested Recipes Contributed by the Colored Women of the State of California, an example of Black Americana, is another example. These can be in marginally good condition but due to their rarity and subject matter, worth a good sum.
Cookbook and Recipe Leaflet Values
What are people paying for these vintage books that resided in most every kitchen of yesteryear? Here are some sample values:
- The Federation Cook Book: A Collection of Tested Recipes Contributed by the Colored Women of the State of California - ca. 1910 - $510 (eBay.com - 10/12)
- Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, Volume 1, First Edition – ca. 1961 - $465 (eBay.com - 10/12)
- Mrs. Beeton’s Every-Day Cookery and Housekeeping Book – ca. 1895 - $356.51 (eBay.com – 10/12)
- Les Diners de Gala by Salvador Dali, First Edition – ca. 1973 - $349 (eBay.com – 10/12)
- Bush Family Cookbook, Signed by George and Barbara Bush – ca. 2005 - $180 (eBay.com – 10/12)
- The Frito Kid’s Party Ideas for Kiddies - ca. 1954 - $110 (eBay.com – 10/12)
- Pillsbury’s Best Flour for Cakes and Pies as Well as Bread - ca. 1910 - $12.99 (eBay.com – 10/12)
- Yeast Foam Its Many Uses - ca. 1920 - $2.31 (eBay.com – 10/12)