Books as investments – The Property Chronicle
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Books as investments Buying books you admire is a form of investing in your own enjoyment

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This article was first published in May 2018.

Investing is usually a matter of judgment as well as calculation. What will do well, and what will do best over the period you envisage?  Investing in books — or art of any kind — includes this element, but it also includes intrinsic interest, pleasure, taste.

A good book dealer at the top of the trade will offer advice about choices and help you to find rare volumes, but unless you have a passion for a particular field and a willingness to learn more about it, the exercise will feel rather barren. You can take a punt on anything from archaeology to adverting, Dr Jekyll to Dr Seuss. There are classic works in every field. Recently I met a farmer who collects books about pigs, right back to the 17th century.

If you enjoy a modern writer and can afford to be patient, find the finest copies you can of his or her earliest books, in dust-jackets.  With the smallest print-runs, these books will be the hardest to find. A full set of Ian McEwans would be £2000-£3000 now, though the later ones are common (and he signs them on an industrial scale).

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About Jim McCue

Jim McCue was joint editor with Christopher Ricks of the annotated edition of The Poems of T. S. Eliot (which was Book of the Year in the Times Literary Supplement). He works as a freelance editor and gives writing seminars for sixth formers.

Articles by Jim McCue

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